UNIV 1200*16: Cool Heads for a Hot Planet: Canada and Climate Change (W12)

As one of the inaugural Teaching and Career Development Fellowship recipients, I have the great honour of designing and teaching a First Year Seminar course at the University of Guelph for the Winter 2012 semester. These First Year Seminar Courses  “are designed to be interactive, small group sessions (enrolments is limited to 18 students) led by some of the University’s most dynamic professors.”

My course centred around the impacts of climate change on all facets of life within Canada, with a particular focus on the impacts experienced by Canadian Inuit and the subsequent social, health, and biophysical effects in Canada’s Northern regions. Emphasis was placed on the politics, social justice, and human rights and responsibilities of global climate change. This course was also designed to be very hands-on and interactive, and students simulated a climate change negotiations process, as well as interacted with guest speakers and Inuit representatives. Students were challenged to integrate the curriculum into their daily lives to engage with climate change action and mitigation.

Throughout the course, students also posted regularly on a blog, Cool Heads for a Hot Planet. Since the inception of this blog, there has been over 4,600 views, and the students have shared a vast array of information on climate change issues in Canada.

Course Description

Have you ever wondered how climate change is impacting Canadians and people around the world? Are you interested in learning more about climate change beyond media representation? Do you wonder what you can do to keep a ‘cool head’ on a ‘hot planet?’ This course will introduce students to the complexities of anthropogenic climate change by examining the biophysical, geographical, social, cultural, local, health, and political impacts from climate change, as well as emergent ethical and social justice issues. Particular focus will be given to examining the impacts and effects of climate change in Canada through case studies from Northern Canada, and by hearing and learning from the voices of Canadian Inuit. Students will also have the opportunity to simulate the United Nations Conference of the Parties climate change negotiations, as well as to create a class blog dedicated to sharing climate-change-related information and writings with the public. This course is an excellent introduction for students interested in learning more about climate change and to discovering Canada’s roles and responsibilities in an era of a rapidly changing climate.

Please access the course outline for more details:Cool Heads for a Hot Planet Course Outline W12

In addition, the students in this course were inspired to take their academic learning beyond the course walls and created the Robocall Steve for Climate Action Event. This one-day event brought over 300 people to Branion plaza to call the Prime Minister’s Office and leave the same message about climate change. For more information, check out our website or view our videos: