The earth’s climate affects practically every physical, ecological, and biological system on the planet. The increasing occurrence of irregular climate patterns as a result of greenhouse gas emissions coming from human-generated activity means uncertain changes in precipitation amounts, storm frequency and intensity, and temperature ranges. These changes in turn affect local weather patterns, seasonal shifts, growing seasons and conditions, ice melt rates and amounts, sea and air temperatures, incubation and gestation rates, migration patterns, disease patterns, and any other number of variables we as a global society have come to anticipate and have built into our planning calculus.
Mitigation of further climate changing activity is possible and necessary with strong leadership and decisive action, but adaptation to changing conditions is critical, as the time to avoid change has passed. Building resilience into cities, systems, and institutions has become the call for action and demands an incredible amount of collaboration across organizational and functional boundaries. CLiGS is exploring and advancing innovative strategies being implemented to build climate resilience domestically and around the world.
- Work with Arlington County, Virginia on evaluating its Community Energy Plan
NR 5884 Landscape Systems and Strategies (3 credits)
The cumulative effects of global trends such as increasing population, expanding cities, improving living standards, accelerating climate change, shifting agriculture, and moving coastlines combine with local pressures on individual landscapes. Over the next century, these keystone processes will fundamentally alter landscapes across the globe creating new challenges for productivity, sustainability, resilience, and adaptability. Landscapes are definable frames of human activities and natural systems, ranging from highly altered, such as urban or agricultural lands, to predominately natural, such as wild or resource lands. We rely on landscape organization for essential social and ecosystem services. The imperative for sustainability requires that we develop conservation, development, and governance processes that treat landscapes with a long view. This course looks at the big picture, by examining the challenge of planning large landscapes for both the intermediate and long term. The objective is to construct a vision for unseen, yet sustainable, landscapes.
*Available in Summer I during odd number years
NR 5884 Climate Change Science (3 credits)
As average global temperatures continue to rise, it is imperative to not only understand the science behind climate change, but also its potential ramifications and impacts. Using scientific research, this course begins by exploring the why, how, and when behind climate change. Contemporary readings will be used to spark discussion and debate surrounding the potential implications of climate change, with topics ranging from natural disasters to human health. The course will culminate in a “Congressional Briefing” students will prepare synthesizing their knowledge of the subject, as well as proposing a political solution.
NR 5884 Climate Change Policy (3 credits)
*NEW* This course focuses on institutional responses to climate change at the international, national and sub-national levels, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and U.S. climate policymaking under the Clean Air Act and state and regional initiatives. Both mitigation and adaptation approaches will be addressed, as well as climate geoengineering.
NR 5884 Coastal & Marine Systems (3 credits)
*NEW* Approximately 3 billion people, or half of the world’s population, live within 200 kilometers of a coastline. That figure is projected to increase dramatically by 2025. Coastal areas represent complex socio-ecological systems that provide valuable ecosystem services to people and the planet, but these ecosystems are under increasing stress with growing coastal urbanization and other anthropocentric impacts and demands. Coastal management is concerned with protecting, conserving, and managing coasts and coastal resources and requires an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and negotiating often-competing interests. In this course, we will be exploring the socio-ecological systems that comprise coastal areas or zones, as well as the pressures affecting their health and resilience. We will then examine some strategies being developed around the world to manage coastal areas for social, economic, and environmental sustainability.