About the Course
In this multi-disciplinary course, we will discuss major challenges facing environmental protection efforts. In doing so, we’ll bring together various aspects from three themes: Biological, Physical, and Human.
The Biological theme focuses on the importance of biodiversity and the actions we can take to conserve basic ecosystem functions. For example: reintroducing locally extinct key species and protecting agroecosystems.
Clean air and water resources, as elements of the Physical theme, are crucial to maintaining biodiversity and our basic life-support systems. We will explore methods for minimizing air and water pollution and their negative impacts.
The Human theme investigates how human development can be sustainable under the current pressures at local, regional, and global scales. Examples include water reuse, green building, and environmentally friendly technologies.
The course is designed and presented by six scientists, each of whom specializes in a different environmental aspect. The course uses video presentations, movies, exercises, assignments, and many additional sources to provide information and enrichment.
What you’ll learn?
- Basic principles of environmental protection
- Biodiversity conservation practices
- Solutions for water and air pollution challenges
- Major opportunities for sustainability
- How human development can be sustainable
Week 1: General Introduction and Biodiversity: Biodiversity and ecosystem functionality, biodiversity and ecosystem stability, species richness and its determinants, ecosystem services
Week 2: Conservation Biology and Reintroduction: Threats to biodiversity, extinctions, conservation strategies, conservation genetics, animal reintroduction.
Week 3: Open Spaces and Agroecology: Contribution of open spaces to biodiversity, wildlife friendly farming and land sharing, scale-oriented processes, movement and survival
Week 4: Air Quality and Pollution: Dynamics of particles, air pollution and health-related problems, coagulation and filtration systems, atmospheric aerosols
Week 5: Water Quality and Reuse: Physical properties and hydrologic cycle, water quality and its major components, water use, and grey water
Week 6: Green Building: Relevance for environmental protection, building materials and their environmental impact, green building and energy saving, buildings as part of the city
Week 7: Urban Sustainability: Environmental problems at the city level, the city as an ecosystem, sustainability potential, urban metabolism, urban footprint
Week 8: Global Sustainability: From empty to full world, human well-being, socio-environmental interactions, behavior of individuals and societies, policy and planning.
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