The Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the many ways that diseases can be transmitted in the environment. As a society we are becoming aware of the many ways that geological processes and materials and influence human health, in ways both beneficial and dangerous. This course unites geoscience, biomedicine and public health approaches to address a wide range of environmental health problems. These include water-related illnesses (e.g. diarrhea, malaria); minerals and metals, both toxic (e.g. asbestos, arsenic) and essential (e.g. iodine); radioactive poisoning (e.g. radon gas); and the transport of pathogens by water and wind. In many cases, the environmental health problems disproportionately affect marginalised populations, contributing to greater disease and death among poor communities and populations of colour. We will examine the broad array of dynamic connections between human health and the natural world. We will discuss the social justice implications of a range of environmental health problems. And we will examine current research into how coronaviruses, such as the one causing COVID-19, are transported in the environment.
This course is in the Sediments and Life group for the Geosciences Major.
Format: lecture/conference; Hybrid format. Specific organisational details will depend on the number of students enrolled, but will include both synchronous and asynchronous components, with both in-person and remote teaching. Particular care will be taken to make sure that fully remote students can participate fully and experience the same content and discussion richness. To make sure that remote students receive equal attention, some sections will be designated as fully remote and others as in -person.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
Evaluation will be based on short weekly writing assignments as well as an individual project and poster presentation.
Preference to first-years, sophomores, and prospective Geosciences majors
Difference, Power, and Equity
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
Through a series of case studies, we will examine ways in which marginalised groups (whether due to poverty, race, or ethnicity) are disproportionately affected by environmental health issues. Themes of power and equity in terms of decision making, access to knowledge, and funding availability, will be woven into all aspects of the class and will underpin our analysis of the science.
ENVI Natural World Electives
GEOS Group B Electives - Sediments + Life
PHLH Nutrition,Food Security+Environmental Health