Energy and the Environment (ENV2207.01)

Chelsea Corr

Access to cheap fossil fuels has fueled advancements that have improved reliable access to food, medicine, and shelter, drastically improving the quality of life for humankind over the past century. Our fossil-fueled society, however, not come without repercussions. The extraction, processing, and burning of fossil fuels has degraded water and air quality, reduced biodiversity through habitat loss, and is changing the climate in a potentially catastrophic manner. While the more recent development of non-carbon-based energy sources (e.g., nuclear, wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower) has offered a chance to address climate change, these energy alternatives come with their own environmental impacts. This course explores our energy use, including: what energy is, why we need it, how we obtain it, and the resulting environmental impacts. Class discussions and assignments will primarily involve readings/reflections of relevant articles and books from the environmental science literature. Students will also work with relevant environmental data; some level of comfort with quantitative thinking is expected.  Each student will also conduct a final project consisting of a proposal for a realistic, low-carbon energy project.

Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 4
M 4:10pm - 6:00pm; Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency:
This course is categorized as All courses, Environment, Four Credit, 2000, Earth Science, Monday and/or Thursday Afternoons, Chelsea Corr.