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180.653.81 Climate Change: Avoiding Conflict and Improving Public Health

Environmental Health and Engineering
4th term
3 credits
Academic Year:
2019 - 2020
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Cindy Parker
Course Instructor :

Introduction to Online Learning is required prior to participating in any of the School's Internet-based courses. One of the following: 180.611.01 The Global Environment, Climate Change and Public Health, 180.607.81 Climate Change and Public Health, or consent of instructor


This course explores the potential for a changing climate to cause food and water shortages, forced migration, and conflict. Through a series of case studies of climate change-relevant crisis events around the world, we will examine the factors that led to the communities in question mustering resilience to survive and recover from the crisis vs. the factors that led to conflict. Through this analysis, we will identify a suite of resilience factors and strategies, such as community cohesion, ecosystem restoration, agricultural and water capture and storage, that could be built into policies to assist high risk areas in avoiding conflict.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify the most important risk factors for forced migration and conflict
  2. Explain the role of climate change in the most important risk factors for conflict
  3. Analyze case studies to determine common factors that increased or decreased the risk of conflict
  4. Characterize the role of science and technology in adaptation to climate change
  5. Develop a suite of strategies that could help at-risk communities avoid conflict
Methods of Assessment:

20% participation (5% for listening to all lectures and LiveTalks, 4% for each of 3 original weekly discussion forum posts [12%], 3% for responses to classmates' postings)
30% homework assignments
25% annotated bibliography
25% final group project

Instructor Consent:

Consent required for some students

Consent Note:

Consent is required for those who have not taken one of the prerequisites

For consent, contact: