ENVIRON 321 - Climate Change and Adaptation
Fall 2023, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Program in the Environment (ENVIRON)
Department: SNE Program in the Environment
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/28/23 - 12/6/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


Climate change is no longer a distant and abstract threat but a present and lived reality. Unaddressed, it will continue to wreak havoc on the systems necessary for human survival, with the greatest burdens most often falling on already vulnerable populations. While there is reason to hope that the worst possible impacts of climate change can still be avoided by transforming our global energy system, societies must also begin to prepare for changes that are already underway. Preparing for climate change requires understanding the complexities of an increasingly volatile planet, implementing steps that can reduce harm or increase benefits, and learning from those efforts to continuously improve. All this must be done in the context of political and economic systems that are ill-equipped to facilitate the kind of equitable, swift, long-term efforts that an effective response to climate change demands.

This course will apply the lens of social science to provide students a thorough grounding in the field of climate change adaptation. In examining the social dimensions of climate change, the course will introduce students to the key concepts and areas of knowledge related to climate impacts, vulnerability and resilience, historical human adaptations to climate variability, changes, and impacts, and future adaptation needs. In particular, the course will identify the major areas in which coordinated efforts by governments, civil society organizations, researchers, and market actors can successfully prepare for different scenarios of climate change impacts. In addition to providing a strong knowledge base on climate change adaptation, the course will include a series of guest speakers and practice-relevant assignments aimed at helping students prepare to be adaptive and effective leaders wherever their future career paths may take them.

After an introductory week of class, instruction in the course will focus on five major questions:

1. What is climate change?

2. How will climate change affect life as we know it on Earth?

3. How have societies adapted to change in the past; and what will adaptation look like moving into the future?

4. What are the policy and governance options available to undertake adaptation?

5. What can be done as individuals to help the communities and organizations we operate in to become more adaptive?

Intended Audience:

This course can be taken by any undergraduate student interested in the effects of and responses to climate change.

Class Format:

3 hr/week lecture format. The final three weeks of classes will entail short group presentations based on student research on pre-assigned topics.



ENVIRON 321 - Climate Change and Adaptation
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23

Textbooks/Other Materials

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