Fall 2021 - REM 100 OL01

Global Change (3)

Class Number: 5472

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Location: TBA

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Oct 13, 2021
    6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

    Dec 15, 2021
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM



This course provides students with an overview of global environmental change and its causes from a social science perspective, historically and at the present time. Population growth, an increasing ecological footprint and changes in ideology, social organization, economy and technology will be critically reviewed. New ways of thinking in natural and social science will be considered in relation to specific issues such as land, soil and food; energy, raw materials and solid waste; air pollution and transportation; water, oceans and fisheries; climate change; forestry and biodiversity; urbanization, and alternative futures. Breadth-Social Sciences.


This course provides students with an overview of global environmental change and its causes, from a social scienceperspective, historically and throughout the contemporary era. The course is organized into four sections:

  • The first section introduces the basics of ecological systems, environmental history and thinking, including the area ofenvironmental ethics and philosophy, and environmental economics.
  • The second section explores the notion of environmental change, including a review of several models of environmental change and conflicting positions on where we are headed.
  • The third section addresses the emerging concept of Sustainable Development and looks at strategies to get us there.
  • The fourth section of the course includes a selection of case studies and applications that are presented, drawing on videos, slides and, perhaps, guest speakers to make things more interesting.


Once you complete this course you should be able to:

  1. Define and explain some major global environmental issues, their causes, and consequences.
  2. Critically evaluate the strengths and drawbacks of ways for dealing with these issues.
  3. Apply course concepts to real-world environmental problems (for example, in the media).
  4. Challenge your own assumptions regarding environmental issues, and understand/develop your personal values.
  5. Feel empowered with knowledge and ways to act to address global change issues.


  • Discussion Participation 15%
  • Group Presentation 8%
  • Participation in climate conference simulation 7%
  • Assignment 20%
  • Midterm Exam 20%
  • Final Exam 30%



Required and optional readings on individual topics are provided in Canvas.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.