Environment and Society in a Changing World



About Module 9

Climate refers to long-lived, broad-scale trends in meteorological phenomena such as temperature, precipitation, and wind. Natural and human systems are heavily influenced by climatic conditions. However, mainly since the Industrial Revolution two or three hundred years ago, human activity has been changing the global climate. This climate change is causing major disruptions to natural and human systems alike. The large scale of the disruptions and the large scale of the effort required to do something about it make climate change among the most important environmental issues that humanity faces today.

In this module, we are going to learn some key fundamentals of climate change, in particular on the human side. The module opens with some context for why climate change is important and some basics of our understanding about climate change. It then covers how climate change will impact human systems and what we can do about it.

What will we learn in Module 9?

By the end of Module 9, you should be able to:

  • explain what a planetary boundary is in terms of scale and resilience;
  • explain some fundamentals of the physical basis of climate change;
  • describe some major impacts of climate change;
  • discuss individual and collective actions that are being and could be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

What is due for Module 9?

The chart below provides an overview of the required activities for Module 9. For assignment details, refer to the location noted. Due dates are noted in Canvas. 

Module 9: Lesson Assignments
Requirement Location Submitting Your Work
Video Assignment: Planetary Boundaries Planetary Boundaries No submission
Written Assignment 5: Vulnerability Reduction Written Assignments Submit in Canvas


If you have any questions, please post them to our Course Q & A discussion forum in Canvas. I will check that discussion forum often to respond. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses if you, too, are able to help out a classmate. If you have a more specific concern, please send me a message through Inbox in Canvas.