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    Vassar College
  Dec 15, 2017
Catalogue 2017-2018
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ENST 187 - A Prehistoric Perspective on Climate Change

Semester Offered: Fall
1 unit(s)
This course situates current climate change in the context of that which shaped the human species, from evolutionary and social perspectives. The course opens by reviewing how the Earth’s climate has changed over the past century, and the ecological consequences of this. We then review the history of climate change since our species’ origin, and how such instances have impacted the environments in which we evolved. We transition from this evolutionary perspective to a social one, asking, ‘at what point did human intelligence and technology mitigate the evolutionary consequences of climate change? At what points was climate change more than civilizations could handle?’ The latter half of the class examines archaeological and historical evidence of how human societies have handled environmental hardships resulting from climate change. We end by examining the parallels between past and present and asking what environmental, ecological and biological consequences might await our still short-lived species in the present climatic conundrum. Zachary Cofran.

Two 75-minute periods.

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