Humans' Evolving Relationship with the Earth (History/Social Science OR Literature Elective; US)

Grades 11–12
May be taken as a history and social science elective or as a literature elective

Humanity has crossed a critical threshold in the past 70 years whereby the demands we place on the Earth have exceeded the biosphere’s carrying capacity. With increasing awareness of this problem, many people and institutions have begun to wrestle with (and argue over) the question: How shall we live within the limits that the Earth’s systems impose? Closely tied to this question are deep concerns about how the progress that has been made toward more equitable access to human rights and opportunities can be advanced or even maintained.

This course applies geographic, scientific, literary, and artistic perspectives to examine critically how humanity’s answers to the question, How shall we live?, affect our lives now and into the future. Global regions of focus include North America, China, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia. Topics include agriculture and food systems, cities, climate, development, industry, health, migration, music, popular culture, technology, trade, and transportation. This course embraces, as much as possible, an emergent curriculum, where students’ interests and concerns inform our individual and collective inquiry.

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