PLHRT 3600 - Climate Change and the Future of Food
Fall. 3 credits. Student option grading.
Prerequisite: at least 3 credits in plant, agricultural, or environmental sciences, or similar relevant field of study.
The pace of climate change projected for this century is likely to have significant impacts on agriculture and food security that will not be equitable across regions or socio-economic groups. We will briefly review the history of how climate influenced early crop domestication, and put the "little ice age" and other climate anomalies into context with what has happened more recently and is projected for the future. Most of the course will focus on solutions. What management approaches, technologies, and decision tools are needed to take advantage of opportunities and minimize risks and inequalities of climate change impacts? What incentives and information will be necessary for farmers to contribute to greenhouse gas mitigation? What can consumers do? These and other questions will be addressed.
Outcome 1: Students will be better able to discern between primary and secondary sources of information about climate change, and become familiar with the basics of climate change science and uncertainties in climate model projections relevant to impacts on managed and natural ecosystems.
Outcome 2: Students will become familiar with the biology and ecology of how weather and climate affect crops, livestock, and agroecosystems, and how projected climate change could potentially affect future food security across regions and socio-economic groups.
Outcome 3: Students will become more competent at entering the public dialogue regarding climate change and defending their positions on controversial issues by essay assignments and classroom debates that emphasize a clearly defined thesis, strong evidence based on careful research to defend the thesis and address opposing views, and effective organization in written and oral communication.
Outcome 4: Through individual essay assignments, classroom discussions, and team projects the students will gain a broad working knowledge of adaptation and mitigation strategies for coping with climate change in different contexts, and for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon in crops and soils for various agroecosystems, food systems, and regions.
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