The course is designed for graduate students from disparate disciplines to gain an overview of environmental principals and current environmental issues. The course will cover four broad areas. First it will discuss what ecosystems are, how they function, and the main processes keeping them stable. Second, it will review key environmental issues including climate change, loss of biodiversity, nitrogen and phosphorous cycle disruptions, eutrophication, chemical pollution (including persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals, particulate, etc.), degradation of natural habitats (deforestation, grasslands change and wetlands drainage), and so on. Third, basic environmental concepts, frameworks, and tools will be presented including sustainability, planetary boundary, ecological footprint, carbon footprint, and TRACI. Finally, the course will present broad review of regulatory and market-based policy directions employed to address environmental change. Topics will be supplemented by Armenia and Caucasus-specific cases.
The course aims to introduce and develop introductory and intermediate skills in application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to visualize, analyse, and interpret relationships, patterns, and trends in the fields of environmental and public health as well as sustainable agriculture and transportation. GIS as a tool, however, is applicable to a wide variety of fields and industries, including marketing, logistics, urban development, and so on.