Painting the college green: An environmental education framework for college: Part 2: Two courses for First Year College

In this part of the essay, we start writing about a framework of six courses for college students.


These courses are suggested to be
required courses for all college students, regardless of their discipline or stream.

In this part we focus on two required courses suggested for First Year college students.

 

Semester I

EcoUniv i-1301: Geology, Climate, and Oceans

The existence of all life on planet Earth is, after all, dependent on the environmental conditions on this planet. What are the abiotic conditions on this planet and what is their history? This is the subject of EcoUniv 1301. A brief syllabus template is given below.

Theories about the origin of Earth. Human understanding of geology, climate, and oceans in history and today.

Geology: Earth Structure and Processes, Earth Surface today and through history, Land forms – formation and erosion, Relationship between life and geological processes: past and present, Modes of living and their relationship with Geology, Soil and Soil-Agriculture relationship. Groundwater. Geology and human economic activity. Geological forms and processes as a precious heritage.

Climate: History and in modern times (Pre-Climate Change and Post-Climate Change), Physical and chemical composition of climate, Relationship between life and climatic processes: past and present, Modes of living and their relationship with climate, Climate and migration (humans and other species, historically and today), Climate and agriculture, Climate and economic activity. Climate and it’s balance as a precious heritage.

Oceans: History and current processes e.g. major ocean currents, waves, tidal cycles. Chemical composition of water. Coastal processes and erosion. Brief history of life in oceans. Life in oceans at various depths. Oceans and human economic activity (e.g. fishing, shipping, drilling for natural resources). Oceans as a precious heritage.

Relationships (in depth): Geology ↔ Climate, Geology ↔ Oceans, Oceans ↔ Climate.

 

Semester II

EcoUniv i-1302: Evolution, Biodiversity, Ecology, and Ecosystems

Evolution: Theories for origin of life, Darwin’s theory, Modern theory of evolution, evidence for evolution, Genetics, tree of life through the course of time, past extinctions and their effects (excludes Human evolution, which is part of the next course).

Biodiversity: Tree of life today, Key plant and animal classes, Definitions and methods to measure biodiversity, Examples of orders and families of plants and animals around us. Biodiversity as a precious heritage.

Ecology: Purpose of ecology, The concept of an ecosystem and it’s key characteristics like food chains, energy and material flows, populations of species, succession, diversity of species, seasonal changes. Healthy, stressed, and collapsing ecosystems. Concept of native and exotic species. Intro – Modification of an ecosystem due to natural and human causes.

Ecosystems: Major ecosystems in the country and their associated biodiversity.  Landscapes and Biomes.  Major ecosystems and biomes around the world.