Earth and Ocean Sciences

EOS 280 Sustainable Agriculture and Gardening (3 units)

Although humans can obtain the air and (and to a lesser extent) the water they need freely, we must work to provide our bodies with food. Before the industrial era, hunting, gathering, and farming were the primary human activities. Technology and industrialization have greatly reduced the human labor required to produce food, and farming has become the specialized occupation of the few. However, in the process, modern industrialized agriculture has developed into a system with many negative externalities (costs not accounted for in the price of food), such as water pollution, greenhouse gas production, and the health consequences of highly processed diets. These high costs of industrialized agriculture make it unsuitable to meet global human needs as population increases, water resources become scarce, and global warming makes the intensive use of fossil fuels undesirable. In this course, we will examine what a more sustainable mode of food production might look like through class work as well as hands-on work in the Soka Instructional Garden.

EOS 302  Introduction to Climate Change (3 units)

The earth’s climate is changing because human activity is increasing the levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere. You will learn what causes climate change, as well as its present and future effects on both the earth and society. You will also learn about the responses society and individuals can make to prevent and adapt to climate change. In the laboratory portion of this class, you will learn how to plan and perform a scientific experiment measuring greenhouse gases.

EOS 322 Water Resources (4 units)

The struggle to manage water resources has shaped societies in the past and continues to do so today.  Human use of water for drinking, sanitation, and agriculture is controlled by natural processes, by engineering, and by the institutions that manage water for the benefit of societies.  In this course students will study how these processes control the availability and quality of water. Students will explore water resources in the local area through field visits to both natural and engineered sites and will learn to apply some of the techniques of water resource managers.

EOS 446 Biogeochemistry (3 units)

Biogeochemistry is the study of the flows of the basic elements required for life through the earth’s environmental systems. Biogeochemistry ties together processes occurring in the water, atmosphere, soils and in living organisms, tracing the transformation of essential elements from one form to another in their cyclic journeys on the earth’s surface.  Students will use advanced laboratory and field techniques to study biogeochemical transformations in the environment, learn to read and interpret scientific literature, and write a scientific paper.