School of Social Sciences
ANTH 202 Anthropology and the Environment
The study of the interaction of people, culture and environments, emphasizing human adaptive strategies. Focus of the course will vary each semester, exploring such topics as subsistence patterns, systems of knowledge in traditional cultures, modernization and globalization, and current issues.
GEOG 101 Environmental Geography: Understanding the Issues
Geographers have traditionally been concerned with interactions between people and their environments. This course examines how our immense human population, our technologies, and our political, social, and economic systems have together profoundly altered the workings of Earth's natural systems. As we study current environmental issues from a geographical perspective we will also consider their solutions.
GEOG 222 Environmental Geography: Global to Local
Climate change, the depletion of the world's resources, and the collapse of fisheries are but a few of the examples illustrating the global scale of our environmental problems. These global issues, however, have local causes and consequences. This course reviews the issues and identifies possible solutions, and involves field work research that engages the student in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. The course will provide students with clear and concise explanations of writing and researching in the field of environmental geography.
GEOG 316 Climate Change: From Science to Sustainability
Climate change has emerged as one of the most important issues of the 21st century. Its rapid escalation from a theory among some climatologists and environmentalists to both a common household term and an international priority highlight the importance of understanding this process, its myriad implications on society and the environment and the urgency in working towards solutions. This course will cover topics such as: the causes of current and historical climate change; the human and environmental implications ranging from changing weather patterns to environmental refugees; climate change policy and greenhouse gas reduction strategies; and the diverse array of solutions to building more sustainable communities.
GEOG 330 Water Changes Everything
This course seeks to appreciate the tremendous power of water, and the diversity of its roles in our lives. We will consider water as a significant force in the natural world - water produces our weather, and sculpts the landscape. On the other hand, we will study water as an essential resource. In this role, water has profoundly impacted the human landscape. Students will also learn how water extraction, water privatization, land conversion, climate change, and pollution all threaten Earth’s water supply.
GEOG 360 The Geography of a Sustainable World
The transition to a sustainable operating system for humankind is not only possible, but currently underway. This course assess the environmental challenges that our world faces and sets out possible courses for action, based on ideas, technology, and systems that are already being put in place around the globe.
POL 320 Global Ecopolitics
This course provides students with the opportunity to engage in an in-depth study of how environmental issues are dealt with across national boundaries. Theoretical approaches are critically evaluated in order to organize a systematic study of relevant actors, institutions and agreements in the field of global ecopolitics. Key concepts associated with environmental issues such as sustainability, ecological footprint, and the precautionary principle are also critically evaluated.
PSYC 340 Conservation Psychology
This course surveys the new field of conservation psychology, the scientific study of the relationship between humans and the rest of nature. It will focus on the application of theories and research in psychology to the issues of conservation in the face of climate crises and the urgent need to develop environmental sustainability, to decrease the negative impact of humans and to encourage environmentally-friendly behaviour.
SOC 302 Sociology of Climate Change
Scientists agree that human activity is creating a climate crisis. The social effects of this crisis will be experienced depending on whether you are rich or poor, or live in the global South or North. Students will look at the role of human society in climate change, in particular at consumerism, the fossil fuel industry, and the role of the media, as well as at possible solutions to the crisis.
School of Humanities
AHIS 250 Art and Nature Now: Environmental Crisis
This course takes an in-depth look at art and the environment, in particular the changing perceptions of nature in art through time and, more currently, art activism and art collaboration in relation to climate change, ecological crisis, and the anthropocene. This course looks at how artists have examined the human relationship to the landscape and the planet, from earth art, to repurposing trash, to developing visual strategies to accompany protests and enhance advocacy. The course includes examples of contemporary First Nations art and local Vancouver artists.
AHIS 320 Art, Activism, and Citizenship
This course examines major examples of art activism from the mid-twentieth century to the present and uses a variety of readings to shape understandings of both historical and contemporary issues in relation to art production: war and conflict, poverty and homelessness, the environment and climate change, technological change, and corporate capitalism and globalization.
ENGL 344 Literature and the Environment
This course explores literature in the context of recent environmental and ecological thought.
PHIL 208 Environmental Ethics
This course deals with ethical and political issues arising from the relationship between humans and their natural surroundings. Typical questions that will be addressed are: Do animals have rights? Is using animals for food and clothing morally wrong? Do we have an obligation to the natural environment such as an obligation to preserve species? What are our obligations to future generations? What is sustainable development? Are environmental problems fundamentally personal or are they fundamentally political and social? Open to anyone in first or second year.
School of STEM
BIOL 105 Environmental Biology
This course, designed primarily as a laboratory science elective for non-science students, examines a wide range of environmental issues from a biological perspective. Basic principles of ecology are developed and the impact of modern society on the environment is assessed. The overall focus is global, however, basic ecological principles are developed using British Columbian and other Canadian examples. Major environmental issues relevant to Canada are also stressed. Major topics include ecological concepts, conservation and endangered species, air pollution and global warming, water resources, and water pollution.
BIOL 208 Ecology
This course is a comprehensive introduction to modern ecology. Interactions between organisms and the environment will be studied at the individual, population, community, ecosystem, and global levels. Laboratory exercises will introduce students to aspects of experimental design and data analysis, and will include several field trips to explore a variety of local ecosystems.
BIOL 305 Ecological Principles for Sustainability
This course will focus on the ecological principles that are needed to support critical thinking about sustainability. Students will learn about the dynamics of ecological systems and how they respond to natural and human disturbance. This knowledge will be applied to understand how ecological systems may be managed in ways that enhance rather than compromise their natural resilience.
BIOL 350 Natural History of BC
Students will be introduced to the natural history of BC's animal and plant species as well as the link between geological and biological history which is responsible for the geographic distribution of living things. BC's fascinating geological and climatic history has played an important role in determining the province's present assemblage of flora and fauna and its high level of biodiversity compared to the rest of Canada.