The goal of this course is to provide a solid introduction to the concept of sustainable growth and development. Sustainability is a broad and somehow necessarily vague concept that can be interpreted in many different ways. Unfortunately, sustainability risks to become one of the many buzzwords. The goal of this class is to provide tools to professionally navigate the current debate on sustainability.
Geochemical processes are central to a variety of environmental issues, including the distribution of CO2 on Earth, water quality and the transformation and storage of inorganic and organic contaminants from human activity.
Understanding the weather – day to day forecasting, seasonal changes, the power of storms, the future of our climate. This course looks at basic physical laws that define weather phenomena and understanding its impact on us.
The search for life beyond the Earth is reaching new heights. So what are we looking for, and how will we know when we find it? This course will explore the history of the solar system and the Earth as the one example of a habitable planet—one that can support living organisms—that we know now. We will consider how the planets formed, the important planetary processes that brought about the Earth as it was when life arose and the planet we live on today.
Understanding our planet’s environment requires understanding how the whole Earth functions as an interconnected system. This course investigates the four components of the Earth system in detail: the atmosphere, the oceans, the solid Earth, and the biosphere to understand how these processes interact, and then how we, as humans, impact our planet.
Most people think of microorganisms or microbes as harmful, causing disease or just stinking up the refrigerator. However, the reality is that the vast majority of microbes keep humans alive and healthy on Earth. Microbes are responsible directly or indirectly for producing the air we breathe, the food we eat, clean water that we drink, and diseases that make us sick. In other words, microbes provide many services to humans in Earth’s ecosystems and enable the sustainable production of food and energy as well as the recycling of wastes.
This course focuses on a single environmental project in the local area. In particular, students will implement chemical and physical measurement techniques for assessing environmental problems of their choice, and they will also learn to interpret results in a societal context.
Students work with the non-profit organization, Trees Atlanta, as well as multiple neighborhoods in Atlanta to investigate the various effects of tree canopy on the well-being of residents. (There are two sections to this course, HP for Honors Program students only, and SLS, which is open to all non-Honors Program students)
Honors ecology is a team based, problem based course in general ecology. There are no lectures: students are expected to identify the relevant knowledge, learn and apply it to the given problem and are mentored by faculty through this process. Student teams examine five ecological problems ranging from single species conservation/management to watershed health assessment. Several of these projects (changes in biological communities through time, watershed health) are focused on local communities.
The laboratory portions of these courses are designed as research service-learning labs that integrate relevant community service with academic coursework to enhance learning, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. In partnership with the Piedmont Park Conservancy, students conduct research that benefits learning in biology and the greater Atlanta community.