New Course: Climate Change and Societal Impacts

Climate Change and Societal Impacts is a new course that will be offered by Dr. Anamaria Bukvic (GEOG) in Fall 2017.

Department of Geography
Course Number: 4984
Course Title: Climate change and societal impacts
Semester:
Fall 2017
Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10-11:15am
Anticipated Student Enrollment: 40

Instructor: Dr. Anamaria Bukvic, Research Assistant Professor, Geography, ana.bukvic@vt.edu

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Course Description: Accelerated climate change has been permanently changing the natural, built, and social systems around the globe over the last few decades. Many of these impacts are gradual but permanent and tend to exacerbate many preexisting issues in populated communities – shifting from sporadic to frequent occurrence, from minor to major event, from slight societal disruption to a radical one. With sea level rise, more frequent and intense storms, increased precipitation, prolonged and persistent droughts, and many other more subtle environmental changes, societies are facing major challenges in how to respond to these issues given a number of other challenges they are facing, such as political instability, failed economies, environmental degradation, mass migrations, and resource stress.

Therefore, this class will focus on the multidimensional aspects of climate change and adaptation, as well as on the interactions, complexity, uncertainty, and possible outcomes for different societies. It will explore dynamic trends of climate change-induced population movement, conflicts, socioeconomic shifts, geopolitics, and equity issues, as well as their impact on vulnerability, resilience, and adaptive capacity of different societies. The course will utilize contemporary digital tools to facilitate students’ comprehension and engagement with this issue and explore connections across spatiotemporal scales and different systems. In addition, it will apply innovative approaches to understand uncertainty and explore alternative futures via scenarios and foresight analysis. This strategy will empower students to actively participate in discussion, analysis, and interpretation of emerging changes on different social systems, as well as in proposing contextual, robust, and realistic adaptation strategies.

Course Objectives: Upon the successful completion of this course, students will achieve the following objectives/be able to:

  1. Advance knowledge of global climate change issues, complexities and uncertainty (e.g., science, terminology, direct and indirect impacts, adaptation options, and main societal stakeholders).
  2. Define contemporary societal challenges associated with climate change and methodically discuss individual aspects of this problem and their interactions (e.g., feedback loops, ripple effects, thresholds, carrying capacities, system collapse)
  3. Develop skills to identify the problem and its root cause, possible short-term and long-term solutions, implementation barriers and opportunities, as well socioeconomic costs of action vs. inaction.
  4. Demonstrate ability to utilize contemporary methodological approaches and tools to understand, critically analyze, and resolve different societal issues related to climate change.
 
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