About This Course Pack
This environmental geology course is about how geological processes affect the environment as well as humans and their infrastructure, and also about how humans affect geological processes. The course covers the typical environmental geology topics (earthquakes, volcanoes, slope failures, etc.) but has a strong emphasis on Earth systems and especially on climate change. The motivation behind making this course open and widely available is the urgency of environmental issues like climate change, which is more important at this time than ever before.
Climate change, which is a human-rights issue, is discussed at length in the course, both in terms of the rights of Canadians to a viable future and the rights of hundreds of millions others around the world to sufficient water, appropriate conditions in which to grow and gather food, and — in some cases — to the very existence of the land they live on. Every effort has been made to create a course that embraces the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
The course is designed to be completed by independent study, but could also be offered in a classroom setting. Students working on their own should expect to spend at least 60 hours reading and doing exercises and another 15 hours completing assignments. The course could be completed in about 36 hours of classroom time.
The course is divided into 5 units, and the outline for the units is included in the course syllabus template. That document includes an overview of the course content, links to extra resources, and assigned readings from the open textbook.
The length of this course will vary depending on the delivery method. It could be completed in a 12- to 13-week semester or in a 6-week condensed semester. Students doing the course by independent study may need longer, depending on their circumstances. It is recommended that they be allowed at least 20 weeks, with the potential for an extension if there are extenuating circumstances.
Other features of this course include an instructor guide and a student guide, as well as assignments, marking rubrics for each assignment, and visual aids for most units.
- Describe and evaluate various types of sustainable energy systems
- Describe water supplies in general and trace the origins of our own the water supply
- Describe aspects and interrelationships of the Earth system
- Explain why there are problems with water supplies in many Indigenous communities
- Explain the mechanisms for the natural controls over the Earth’s climate
- Describe how Indigenous communities have been impacted by geological events such as slides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes
- Discuss glacial processes in general
- Discuss the principles and environmental implications of the disposal of solid wastes
- Describe the erosional effects of alpine glaciation and the deposits of glaciation
- Describe the causes and implications of anthropogenic climate change
- Describe the important aspects of soil formation and soil preservation
- Identify lifestyle changes that we can make to reduce our climate-change impacts
- Explain why clay minerals are important to many environmental geology processes
- Describe the different types of slope failures and their causes and impacts
- Explain how we can predict the potential for slope failures, reduce the likelihood that they will happen, and minimize the risks associated with failures that we cannot control
- Discuss the origins of earthquakes and how they relate to plate tectonics
- Estimate the earthquake risk in a specific region
- Describe what individuals and communities can do to limit earthquake impacts
- Discuss the origins of volcanic eruptions and the factors that control eruptive events
- Explain how to use monitoring data to determine volcanic eruption
- Potential and discuss how we can use that type of information to protect the public
- Explain the origins of some metal resources and the implications of their use