ERS 425 - How to Build a Habitable Planet
This course will take a journey through the remarkable geologic and climatic events that led to the emergence of life, an oxygen-rich atmosphere, explosions and collapses of biodiversity, waxing and waning of continental ice sheets, and ultimately a planet on which Homo Sapiens could thrive and develop civilizations unlike anything Earth has ever witnessed. We will explore the great and as-yet unsolved mysteries of Earth’s evolution with an eye toward placing our existence into the context of what it takes to build, and sustain, a habitable world. We will consider internal and external forces that have shaped environmental evolution over the planet’s history, including the role of humans in geochemical and climatic change. We will consider the geochemical proxies and isotopic geochronometers that have improved our understanding of past environments and climates. Our goals are to develop critical thinking and writing skills and a scientific approach to the complex array of feedbacks that govern the evolution of Earth’s surface and climate, as well as an appreciation for how past Earth System change can inform current human and societal issues.
ERS 425 and ERS 525 cannot both be taken for credit.
Prerequisites: ERS 200 and ERS 201, or instructor permission
Course Typically Offered: Fall