Undergraduate Bulletin

Fall 2023

CDS: Cross Disciplinary Studies

CDS 101: Energy, Climate, and Society

The energy consumption of 21st century societies is causing the Earth's climate to warm at an alarming rate, threatening terrestrial life as we know it; this impasse scientists sometimes call a "wicked problem." What is the history of energy consumption that has brought us to this point? How did we become aware - culturally and scientifically - of the crisis? What are the cascading impacts of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystem services? How can we imagine moving through the impasse and emerging on the other side? What are the political opportunities and blockages? How can we change our societies to be less energy intensive and more adaptable to the warming already baked into the climate system? What kinds of engineered solutions - carbon sequestering and clean energy, for example - are here or on the horizon? This class will explore these issues from several transdisciplinary perspectives, from climate science to chemistry to urban planning to literature and film.


3 credits