Linked Course: Greening Urban Climates

Larry McKenna, the Department’s resident geologist, has teamed up with Dr. Judith Otto in the Geography Department for a linked class investigating urban environmental sustainability. This linked learning community gives students the tools to understand and address the challenges and opportunities of increasing urbanization in the world through the study of population growth, energy flows, and resource management. Greening Urban Climates integrates Earth systems science (understanding, measuring, and anticipating anthropogenic changes within Earth systems) with urban geography, organized around the central concept of sustainability.

In Dr. McKenna's EASC 131 Conversations with the Earth, students learn how humans influence Earth's climate through subtle changes to the "levers" that control climate. Students see that sustainability involves not only consuming materials more slowly than they can be replaced, but also consuming them in a way that minimizes humans' effect on climatic control levers. In Dr. Otto's GEOG 165 Global Cities, students learn general principles that can be used to solve urban problems, as well as where solutions unique to a particular place might be appropriate. Students discover how societies can, if they wish, either adapt to or mitigate the effects of societal and environmental changes.

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