This course explores the interaction between humans and our dynamic planet, both the ways in which geological processes affect us and the ways in which our actions affect the physical environment. Much of the world’s population lives in areas that are subject to natural hazards including floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, and volcanic eruptions. We will examine the nature of these hazards, and how constantly increasing population makes successful mitigation increasingly difficult as more people are put at risk. We will also study how human activity, from farms and cities to dams and wells, changes the environment and the natural processes that shape the landscape. Increasing pressure is put on important renewable resources such as water and soil due to population demands, pollution, over use, and erosion. Spiraling consumption of nonrenewable mineral and energy resources affects future supplies, waste disposal, and water and air pollution. Lastly, the course addresses the reasons for and role of past climate fluctuations and potential causes and effects of global warming on the current environment. Natural hazards and environmental issues from countries visited during the voyage will be highlighted.
Field WorkCountry: Trinidad and Tobago
Day: 1 - Thursday, 26 November
We leave the confines of our ship and step ashore into a tropical rainforest. As we explore the pathways through the jungle we appreciate the tremendous biological productivity surrounding us. Our guide explains how a tropical rainforest differs from other biomes we are more familiar with. At the end of the hike we cool off with a swim in the Marianne River. Academic objectives: 1. To get first-hand experience in and understanding of a tropical rainforest 2. To understand how tropical rainforests differ from temperate forests and rainforests 3. To see the diversity of wildlife and plant life