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Published: 2024-03-12

New course on humanity's impact on the planet

NEWS Do you want to learn more about how human activity has changed the Earth and what it means for the future? Then Global Change Science, a new Master's level course at Umeå University, is for you. The course, which starts in autumn 2024, is led by David Wardle, one of the world's leading researchers in plant ecology and ecosystem processes.

Every day, up to 96 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere, 24 square kilometres of Amazon rainforest are cut down, and at least seven species become extinct - all due to human impact. In recent decades, human activity has transformed our planet and many scientists believe that the Earth has entered a new era called the Anthropocene, the age of h[DW1] uman impact on the globe.

The Global Change Science course is completely new and gives you a broad and deep knowledge of the various ways in which humans are affecting the Earth. The course covers key concepts and theories that underpin the science of global change in the Earth system.

"Of all the human causes of global change, climate change has received the most attention so far, but there are other major causes as well, such as intensification of land use, the spread of invasive species and the loss of species that maintain ecosystem function" says Professor David Wardle, lead instructor of the course.

Meet David Wardle

The course Global Change Science is led by professor David Wardle. In the film he describes his research.

During the course you will learn how human emissions of greenhouse gases, deforestation of rainforests, the spread of invasive species and loss of biodiversity have changed the climate, atmosphere, land and water. You will also discuss what these changes mean for human well-being.

The course consists of lectures and discussions. It also includes a project work where you will write a literature review and make an oral presentation on a current fast-moving topic in the field of global change.

The course coordinator is Professor David Wardle, rated as one of the world's most successful ecologists with expertise in plant ecology and ecosystem processes. Other lecturers on the course are Ylva Sjöberg, who researches hydrology in cold regions, and Heidi Burdett, whose research focuses on coastal marine ecosystems.

The course is open to all students with a Bachelor's degree in biology, earth sciences, environmental sciences or equivalent. The course is 15 credits and is taught in English. Registration for the course is open until 15 April 2024.

Read more about the course in the course syllabus


For more information, please contact:

Caroline Blomquist
Associate professor
Sandra Straumdal
Study counsellor