Spring 2022 - GEOG 104 OL01

Climate Change, Water, and Society (3)

Class Number: 4739

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 14, 2022
    8:30 AM – 11:30 AM

  • Instructor:

    Leanne Roderick
    Office: RCB7138
    Office Hours: Office hours will be conducted online through Zoom. Book via www.calendly.com/leanne_roderick



An examination of climate change, its interaction with water availability, and how humans cope with these altered circumstances. Students who have completed GEOG 102 prior to the fall 2011 term may not complete this course for further credit. Breadth-Social Sci/Science.


Format: Remote Learning, Asynchronous.

Optional, synchronous, bi-weekly drop-in Q&A sessions will be held on Wednesdays at 4:30pm via Zoom.


This course begins by introducing students to the climate system and controls on Earth’s climate. We then examine the causes of climate change and how future climate pathways are modelled before considering the impacts on natural and human systems and exploring options to mitigate and/or adapt to changing climatic conditions. We also discuss the governance of climate change, and investigate why this issue is still a controversial topic in politics and the media, despite overwhelming scientific consensus that Earth’s climate system is warming. The Spring 2022 iteration of the course will also focus on the topics of climate justice and ecological debt.  We will work towards understanding who benefits and who pays the cost of burning fossil fuels, and analyze these impacts in a way that is intersectional and multi-scalar. 

Climate change can be a heavy topic.  Students will be encouraged throughout the course to reflect on their learning, but also their feelings, emotional responses, and pathways forward.


By the end of this course students should be able to:

  • Explain the complexity of the climate system and identify linkages between its components, including stocks, flows, and feedback processes;
  • Think critically about the science behind natural and human disruptions to the climate system;
  • Explore the impacts of climate change on natural and human systems;
  • Examine human responses to climate change, including adaptation,
    mitigation, and governance;
  • Differentiate between evidence-based claims and pseudo-science, and
    debunk common misconceptions about climate change;
  • Practice diverse modes of communication of climate change causes,
    impacts, and solutions, demonstrating awareness of audience;
  • Demonstrate improved climate literacy;
  • Critically reflect on climate cultures, environmental subjectivities, and politico-ethical responses to climate change in society.


  • Graph interpretation assignment 5%
  • Class engagement activities 10%
  • Climate change communication project (2 assignments) 24%
  • Module Quizzes (x 4) 24%
  • Final exam 25%
  • Module reflection journal (x4) 12%



  • Access to a computer with reliable internet connection and working microphone
  • Microsoft Office software (can be downloaded for free from SFU)



Burch, Sarah L., and Sara E. Harris. Understanding climate change: Science, policy, and practice. University of Toronto Press, 2021.  Digital Version available via VitalSource.

All other readings and materials are available via SFU Library.

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 spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this 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 spring 2022 term.