Fall 2021

Climate Change: Science and Rhetoric

Listed in: Geology, as GEOL-109

Formerly listed as: GEOL-09


Nicholas D. Holschuh (Section 01)


Humankind is a major agent of environmental change. With each new hurricane, wildfire, and heat wave, public conversations turn to the topic of anthropogenic climate change. But it can be difficult to separate what we know with confidence from what we think we know, and what we are unsure of, given the complex information landscape that defines our moment in time. This leaves many people asking "Is climate change happening? Is it us? Where are we headed? How fast? How do we know?" In this class, we will address these questions directly with a focus on building an interdisciplinary understanding of Earth's climate system. In addition, we will discuss the disparate impacts of climate change on communities around the world, how climate information gets shared between scientists and citizens, and the challenges of building consensus on climate issues.

The internet presents a double-edged sword for climate communication - it is our primary tool for sharing the data and models used to understand Earth's climate, but can be a platform for misinformation and mischaracterization of science for political ends. We will explore this dichotomy in detail, through both the direct download and interpretation of climate data and an evaluation of the way climate change is discussed in the public forum. We will meet three times a week with lecture, small group discussion, and an end goal of producing digital media to share our collective understanding of climate with a broader audience.

Three class meetings per week. This course is open to all students of the College. Limited to 48 students. Fall Semester. Assistant Professor Holschuh. 

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Emphasis on written work, readings, oral presentations, and engagement with popular media. Students with documented disabilities who will require accommodations in this course should be in consultation with Accessibility Services and reach out to the faculty member as soon as possible to ensure that accommodations can be made in a timely manner.
GEOL 109 - L/D

Section 01
M 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM CONV 108
W 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM CONV 108
F 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM CONV 108


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2020, Fall 2021