Dr. Darren Ficklin’s GEOG-G 185 – Environmental Change: The End of the World as We Know It? is intended to equip students with a foundational understanding of environmental change. It addresses the complexity of social-environmental systems, sensitivity of ecosystems and the inherent challenges in understanding and planning for modern environmental change. Each week the course focuses on one or two major environmental change processes. The course will explore topics such as climate change, tropical deforestation, desertification, coastal issues, and natural hazards.
An interview with Dr. Ficklin, a professor in the Department of Geography, is below.
Why does this course fit the theme of this year’s Themester?
Dr. Ficklin: “Resilience” comes up throughout the course. Every week we discuss different topics of environmental change, from urbanization to climate change. When discussing these topics, I make sure that when we discuss environmental change, we also discuss ways to limit this environmental change.
What type of students do you encourage to take this course? Where do you suggest people can educate themselves about this topic if they are unable to take the class?
Dr. Ficklin: I encourage anyone that is interested in learning more about environmental change (either by humans or natural) to take this course. There is a large amount of information on these topics, but since the course goes over so many topics there is not one single place to find this information. I suggest looking at resources produced by the United States Geological Survey, NASA, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
If this class was condensed into a single guest lecture, what parts of the course would you highlight upon?
Dr. Ficklin: I would discuss climate change since it touches on many other themes of the course.
What do you hope people learn from your class and more importantly, what do you hope they teach others after being in this class?
Dr. Ficklin: I hope people learn that humans can have a significant impact on the environment, but also that humans also have the capacity to reverse these environmental changes.
How do you feel that this year’s theme fits into what is going on in the world right now?
Dr. Ficklin: With a wide array of environmental issues going on such as climate change, wildfires, droughts, flooding, etc., this course is a perfect fit for environmental “resilience.”
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