Environment and Society in a Changing World

Welcome to GEOG 30N!


New to GEOG 30N?

Registered students should begin with the Course Orientation.

Not registered? Students who register for this Penn State course gain access to assignments and instructor feedback, and earn academic credit.

Quick Facts about GEOG 30N (GS or GN)


Petra Tschakert, Assistant Professor of Geography; Karl Zimmerer, Professor of Geography; Brian King, Associate Professor of Geography; Dr. Jennifer Baka, Assistant Professor of Geography; Seth Baum, Graduate Assistant and Ph.D. student in Geography and Chongming Wang, Teaching Assistant, Geography; Yooinn Hong, Graduate Instructor and Ph.D. student in Geography; Russell Hedberg, Graduate Instructor and Ph.D. student in Geography; Kelsey Brain, Graduate Instructor and Ph.D. Candidate in Geography.


Ruchi Patel, Department of Geography


GEOG 30N introduces the theory, methods, history, and contemporary issues in global and regional relationships between human activities and the physical environment. It is a required course in Penn State's online Bachelor of Arts in Energy and Sustainability Policy. GEOG 30N is an integrative study, inter-domain general education course. Students who started at Penn State prior to summer 2018 can apply these credits to either GS or GN requirements. The course also covers U.S. or international cultures requirements.

Learning Environment

This website provides the primary instructional materials for the course. Canvas, Penn State's course management system, is used to support the delivery of this course as well, as it provides the primary communications, calendaring, and submission tools for the course.

Topics of Study in this Course

Unit 1 - Key Concepts

  • Module 1 - Geographic Perspectives
  • Module 2 - Coupled Human-Environment Systems
  • Module 3 - Environmental Ethics
  • Module 4 - Individual and Collective Action

Unit 2 - Sustainable Development

  • Module 5 - Development
  • Module 6 - Food and Agriculture
  • Module 7 - Cities and Transportation

Unit 3 - Global Environmental Change

  • Module 8 - Natural Hazards
  • Module 9 - Climate Change
  • Module 10 - Biodiversity

Overarching Key Concepts

  • Globalization
  • Scale
  • Governance
  • Sustainability
  • Coupledness
  • Vulnerability
  • Ethics
  • Justice

As the course proceeds and issues are presented you will find that it will be difficult to talk about one concept without mentioning another. While the course modules present contexts or themes for investigating human-environment interactions, the overarching key concepts are the means by which we will analyze and connect concepts across the different themes.

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This course is offered as part of the Open Educational Resources initiative of Penn State's John A. Dutton e-Education Institute. Students who register for this Penn State course gain access to assignments and instructor feedback and earn academic credit. Information about Penn State's Energy and Sustainability Policy Bachelor's program is available on the ESP Overview Page.