Climate Solutions

Winter 2015 quarter

Taught by


We will explore the causes of global climate change and study the many actions and social behaviors that we can take to minimize human contributions to it. We will examine the scientific evidence for global warming and the efforts to discredit that evidence. We will study the role of multinational corporations in global climate change and how they influence governmental policies and public opinion. We will focus on how to respond to global warming in a fashion that works toward sustainability and equity in the ecosystems that support life on the planet. We will pay particular attention to issues of justice between humans and how humans interact with other species.

In order to understand actions we can take, this program will explore sustainable lifestyle strategies as well as how to resist corporate influence on consumer consumption. We will study the approaches of biomimicry, sustainable architecture, equitable distribution of food and shelter, minimal-impact industrial processes, local food production, less toxic methods of producing and a variety of low-impact lifestyles. We will examine the methods advocated by visionary groups like Second Nature, Climate Solutions and Cradle-to-Cradle. We will study current federal energy policy and its connection to climate change, as well as the more proactive policies adopted by hundreds of cities. Students will complete a series of audits of their personal consumption and carbon-generation patterns. We will study methods of computing carbon dioxide budgets including carbon sequestration methods, the intricacies of carbon capping and offsetting strategies and opportunities to reduce net carbon dioxide production. Students can expect to do research on emerging technologies and strategies that move us to carbon neutrality while fostering sustainability and justice.

In addition to exploring how we can all lessen our impact on global climate change and move toward equity, students can expect to sharpen their critical reasoning, writing and speaking skills, as well as their ability to work with quantitative methods and to interpret quantitative data from a variety of sources.

Students will be expected to make at least two small-group presentations on a climate solution of their own choosing and complete a term research paper on a topic of their choice.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

sustainability and justice, environmental science and policy, climate science, or carbon and energy markets.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Upper Division Science Credit

Upper division credit may be awarded for upper division work in climate change science and in a research project (maximum of 10 credits).

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Winter)

Class standing: Junior–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 25


Course Reference Number

Jr - Sr (16 credits): 20117

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