ENVIRON 144 - Climate Change in the Age of Humans
Section: 001
Term: FA 2017
Subject: Program in the Environment (ENVIRON)
Department: LSA Environment
Requirements & Distribution:
Credit Exclusions:
Those with credit for GEOSCI 111 or 331 or EARTH 111 or 331 may elect EARTH 144 for only 2 credits.
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
Advisory Prerequisites:
High school science and math recommended. Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
This course counts toward the 60 credits of math/science required for a Bachelor of Science degree.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This first year seminar explores how climate change and humans have influenced each other through time. Focus is placed on understanding the fundamentals of Earth’s climate system and the role of humans in it. The course explores examples of human-climate interactions through a series of case studies, with a focus on the primary data.

The case studies include examples of influence of climate on the course of human history, starting in the early Pliocene with early human evolution and marching through time, covering themes such as the influence of the intervals like Younger Dryas, the Medieval Climate Anomaly, and the Little Ice Age on human populations, including the influence of recurring phenomena like ENSO. The course will also explore the influence of humans on climate and the concept of the Anthropocene, including a critical look at its origins.

The course format includes lectures to provide students with background information on topics and student-directed classes where students present on topics based on readings, guided by study questions. Focus is placed on how the science is done; the class explores case-studies that highlight active field and laboratory work. Students receive coaching in presentation skills and are equipped with tools for accessing the primary literature and handling data. Grades will be based on written responses to the reading study guides, presentations through the class, and a final project that requires work with primary data.

Course Requirements:

Grading will be based on active participation in class discussions (15%), written responses to study questions (25%), class presentations (30%) and a final project (30%). Class attendance is required. Students will be required to read primary literature, respond to written questions on the reading assignments, give presentations on assigned topics, handle data and develop a final project. Active participation in class is a critical part of the course.

Intended Audience:

This course is intended for first year students interested in the back-story on human-climate interactions. The course will appeal to students with broad interests as it integrates climate science, history, archaeology, ecology, geology, paleontology and physics.

Class Format:

Three hours per week seminar and lecture

ENVIRON 144 - Climate Change in the Age of Humans
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
Note: First Year Seminar. Seats in First Year Seminars are opened gradually during Summer Orientation. Only first-year students, including those with sophomore standing, may register.
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 9780691146348
Plows, plagues, and petroleum : how humans took control of climate, Author: Willam F. Ruddiman ; with a new afterword by the author., Publisher: Princeton University Press 1st Prince 2010
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 1250062187
Sixth extinction : an unnatural history., Publisher: Picador Usa 2015
Other Textbook Editions OK.
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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