Our basic life-support system is maintained by all the species that make up the biosphere – from the smallest to the largest. These species are interconnected, and so depend on each other for their survival. The actual processes that take place between species and the environment are extremely complex and fragile. If humanity causes the extinction of one species – it inevitably means the extinction of numerous species and the decline of our life-support system for future generations and us.
Unfortunately, our current economic models have neglected to factor into the equation the tremendous benefits nature provides. However, when economists and environmental scientists have tried to estimate in dollars what it would cost us to accomplish the services nature provides the results are staggering. Using multiple databases, they estimate that nature provides $33 trillion dollars worth of services every year – that’s nearly twice the annual Gross National Product or GNP of all the countries of the world combined!
For example, forests prevent soil erosion, landslides, and flooding; maintain the purity of the air and water; affect local and global rainfall; temper climatic fluctuations; and promote watersheds and biodiversity. Other ecosystems like bogs, wetlands, grasslands, deserts, oceans, coral reefs, tundra-arctic regions, similarly provide unique benefits.
Are you interested in the environment?
The Environmental Studies Certificate is for students in all programs.
Is Environmental Studies a program?
No. It’s for students in all programs who want to take environmentally-oriented courses.
What’s the aim of Environmental Studies?
We hope to have as many students as possible learn more about the fascinating range of environmental viewpoints and topics.
What’s your interest?
Endangered species? Wilderness conservation? How ecosystems work? How human behaviour is affecting the planet? Or what you could do to make a difference? You could learn all that – and much more!
What subjects are available as Environmental Studies courses?
You can choose from a great variety of courses in many different areas – anthropology, biology, chemistry, earth and ocean science, economics, geography, mathematics, media, nutrition, philosophy, psychology, religion and sociology.
Are there any required courses for Environmental Studies?
No. You are free to select any of the choices on our list.
How many courses do I need to receive an Environmental Studies certificate?
You need to pass 6 Environmental Studies courses.
What are some of the most urgent environmental issues?
Global warming, species extinctions, serious effects on the world’s ecosystems, habitat loss and accelerated climate change in the arctic are major concerns that are interrelated. We need to understand the effect that human behaviour has on the world that supports us.
Everyone can help!
What is the importance of our environment?
Over the last fifty years the environment has increasingly become important to all sectors of society. Pollution, species extinctions, climate change, resource depletion, and a host of other environmental problems touch everyone now more than ever.
What are the requirements of the certificate?
- Complete six courses from your certificate course list (these are courses you have to take anyway) – there are courses in most programs and general education.
- Complete a written project worth at least 25% of your mark in one of your courses on a subject of your choosing related to environmental issues. You can combine more than one project.
- We ask that you do 10 hours of volunteering, in order to build community and enable you to feel the satisfaction and cameraderie of taking action.
When can I apply?
You can apply any time. You do not need to complete any of the requirements before applying. Once you are registered, you will be notified of events and other information.