10 courses you can take to understand and help our planet

Posted on Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Bill Nye on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver via YouTube.

This article has been updated since its original publication on May 17, 2019.

According to a 2019 UN report, 1 million animal and plant species are at risk of extinction due to climate change, pollution and invasive species. In the words of Bill Nye the Science Guy: "The planet is on #$@&%* fire!”.

As climate change worsens, misinformation spreads. The following courses will arm you with the knowledge you need to drive important conversations and make an impact on our collective future.

Une montagne couverte de verdure entourée de nuages
  1. GEO 1301 – The Earth and How It Works

Learn about a number of geological processes that started 4.6 billion years ago and continue to mould our Earth today, including earthquakes, volcanoes, and mountain building. The evolution of life and the scientific and environmental issues related to natural resource exploitation (water, oil, gas, coal, metals) will also be discussed.

This course cannot count as a Science optional course, but may be used as an elective.

Des dizaines de bouteilles d'eau en plastique
  1. ENV 1101 – Global Environmental Challenges

The threat of human induced environmental degradation and the societal responses to these environmental challenges. Case studies from contemporary examples such as climate change, air and water pollution and its impact on human health, from a social science perspective.

Une affiche en carton sur laquelle est écrit «Sauver la planète»
  1. POL 3175 – Ecopolitics

Analysis of major debates about the politics of the environment. Focus on environmental political theory, environmental movements, green political parties and environmental public policies in various countries, including Canada, as well as at the international level.

Prerequisite: POL 2101 or POL 2103 or POL 2104.

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  1. GEG 2110 – Sustainable Cities

Examination of the interface between built and social environments with an emphasis on environmental sustainability and social equity.

Trois vaches dans un champ
  1. BIO 2129 – Ecology

Introduction to the study of ecological systems: the nature of ecological experiments; population dynamics; population harvesting; ecological processes structuring biological communities in space and time; energy and nutrient flows in ecosystems; the relationship between ecological goods and services. Field and lab exercises expose students to basic principles in ecological study design, experimentation and sampling, data analysis, and illustrate important ecological processes.

Prerequisite: BIO 1130.

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  1. EVS 1101 – Introduction to Environmental Science

Introduction to the various environmental sciences including biodiversity, ecotoxicology, contaminant transport and fate in soils and the hydrosphere, climatology and global warming, atmospheric chemistry, and waste management.

Prerequisites: Advanced Functions and Introductory Calculus 4U or Calculus and Vectors 4U or MAT 1319 or MAT 1339 and two of the 4U Science or Mathematics courses.

Bird's eye view of green and yellow trees
  1. GEG3302 – Natural Resource and Environmental Management

Management of natural resources and the environment. Focus on sustainability in governance, planning, decision-making and practice. Environmental Management Systems and other interdisciplinary techniques. Also offered as ENV 3302.

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  1. GEG 2304 – Climatology

The climate system. Energy balance, atmosphere dynamics and resulting weather conditions. The general circulation, mid latitude and tropical climates.

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  1. GEG 3107 – Geography of Polar Regions

Regional geography of the Arctic and the Antarctic. Physical environment, ecosystems, environmental change, natural resources and development, governance, social issues. Contrasts between the two ends of the earth. Course with laboratory or field excursions.

La planète Terre vue de l'espace
  1. GEG 1301 – The Physical Environment

Interactions of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere. Selected themes discussed in relation to global change. Course with laboratory or field work.

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