Jun 23, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

US 219 The Politics of Climate Change

Why does California experience so many wildfires? How might we learn to see and read climate history, infographics, and photography? What do Bob the Flamingo, the Bramble Cay melomys, and Coleoptera the dung beetle have in common? Why is contact with humans so catastrophic for other life forms? How does climate change affect humans disproportionately, across geographic and socioeconomic dimensions, and gender, sex, ethnic, and racial identities? What are some of the local and regional responses to climate change? Finally, how might we use photography to communicate about climate change with the general public? Through experiential learning, visualization of climate science, readings, and photoethnography, this course introduces students to the challenges of environmental stewardship in the current geological age known as the Anthropocene. Weekly course materials include readings and visualizing climate change. The visualization of climate change is a central component of the course; visuals help us to better comprehend the politics inherent in climate change debates. The course materials further guide us in exploring critical insights from multidisciplinary research in global climate change and the environmental social sciences. In particular, we focus on the political and practical issues in climate change, including the ways that people are disproportionately impacted across geographic and socioeconomic dimensions. We pay special attention to how competing conceptualizations of self, culture, and society mediate the ways that humans experience climate change. Our initial focus is on the scientific observation of climate variables and the impact of sea-level rise due to climate change. By identifying various evidence used in climate modeling and data visualization, students determine the anthropogenic and natural causes of climate change and the impact of climate change on environmental and sociopolitical systems. Next, students examine the consequences of species extinction, natural disasters and conflict, and environmental racism in terms of the possibilities for a climate justice movement. Course assignments engage students in visual literacy, citizen science, public advocacy, and photoethnography to be agents in making sense of life with climate change.