As a dynamic system with many changing components, Earth’s climate has been changing over the four billion years that life has existed on the planet. In recent centuries, however, the pace and severity of change have become unsettling, because the relative stability that had characterized roughly the last ten thousand years now appears to be changing in patterned and potentially catastrophic directions.
This course will review the major scientific understanding of the dynamics of climate change and then examine the implications of these changes for the future of communities, nation-states and the global human community. Particular attention will be given to droughts, floods, and the impact of climate change on agriculture. The course will then touch on how climate changes are likely to affect public health both locally and globally. Further attention will be given to the collapse of polar and glacial ice systems and the rise of sea levels around the world.
Strategies for adapting to climate change will be examined, with particular attention given to understanding which strategies are being proposed by which human communities and how likely they are to succeed in the foreseeable future.
Through assigned readings, video, documentaries, and films, students will be encouraged to reflect on what the changing climate will mean for them and to explore possible transitions to a sustainable future on this planet. Participants will be given access to readings, news clips and further online resources to pursue any particular aspects of this problem which interest them. Those who have questions may contact the instructor, Tim Weiskel at <email@example.com> or keep current with the succession of Seminar meetings through this online course at: http://wp.me/p2iDSG-iSH
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have been suggested as necessary technology for the human community to adopt to meet the expected food scarcity emanating from climate change in the coming years and decades.
Nevertheless, there are many problems with the GMO strategy for global food production, particularly since it requires ever more consumption of fossil fuels and fresh water, and it does not seem to produce the increase in food supplies that its advocates claim. See, for example:
Further supplementary material:
Consider the following reference material on agriculture and climate issues including the publication in the last week by the UN Food a and Agricultural Organization of:
The State of Food and Agriculture 2016 (SOFA) This important and timely publication — entitled, “Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security” is specifically devoted to climate change and agriculture. [No doubt in Rome at the FAO headquarters they heard that we would be discussing this issue in the Beacon Hill Seminars, and they very graciously decided to devote their annual report to this topic just for us — and the rest of the world at the same time.]
For reports that document the full breath of the post-War agricultural moment and the evolution of the “Green Revolution” as it unfolded see:
The G20 Summit in Hangzhou has brought together leaders of the world’s major economies, tasked with finding ways to boost global economic growth. On the discussion table is a recommendation from the business community… for policymakers to remove barriers to free trade. Han Peng reports
3 separate wildfires have been raging along Spain’s Costa Blanca since Sunday.
The fires, which authorities say were started deliberately, have been aggravated by soaring forty-two-degree temperatures and strong winds. Buildings in the town of Javea and large areas of vegetation near the holiday destination of Benidorm were destroyed.
Authorities almost had the first fire under control when the others began.
Welcome to Transition Studies. To prosper for very much longer on the changing Earth humankind will need to move beyond its current fossil-fueled civilization toward one that is sustained on recycled materials and renewable energy. This is not a trivial shift. It will require a major transition in all aspects of our lives.
This weblog explores the transition to a sustainable future on our finite planet. It provides links to current news, key documents from government sources and non-governmental organizations, as well as video documentaries about climate change, environmental ethics and environmental justice concerns.
The links are listed here to be used in whatever manner they may be helpful in public information campaigns, course preparation, teaching, letter-writing, lectures, class presentations, policy discussions, article writing, civic or Congressional hearings and citizen action campaigns, etc. For further information on this blog see: About this weblog. and How to use this weblog.
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