Earth, Environment and Humanity

Summary:
This course will examine the Earth's systems from a geological and an environmental perspective. Special emphasis will be placed on spatial and temporal changes within and between these systems. Major topics include internal geologic processes (plate tectonics), external geologic processes (biogeochemical cycles, hydrologic cycle, weathering and erosion), climate change, resources (air, water, soil, energy and land) and pollution (local and global). A clear understanding of these issues and how they are related is crucial in understanding the environmental challenges that we face as a global society. We will also examine how other areas of expertise such as economics, chemistry and biology are linked to the geosciences and are involved in solving environmental problems.
The course will integrate lectures, problem solving, discussions, oral and written presentations, and laboratories. Approximately half the laboratories involve field trips to various sites of environmental interest. In addition, there will be two weekend fieldtrips (Valley and Ridge, PA; and the Delaware Shore).
This course satisfies the College laboratory natural science requirement, the writing requirement (FYS), and serves as an excellent introduction to the fields of Geoscience, Environmental Studies and Environmental Science.