• Length:
    7 Weeks
  • Effort:
    3–5 hours per week
  • Price:

    FREE
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  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
    Introductory
  • Language:
    English
  • Video Transcript:
    English

Prerequisites

None

About this course

Skip About this course

Our world's climate is changing. Of the top twenty hottest years ever recorded, sixteen have occurred in the last two decades. This warming has already had a profound effect. Many feel powerless in the face of this challenge, but you can make a difference.

By looking at air quality, nutrition, infectious diseases, and human migration, this course will show you how increases in greenhouse gases impact public health. Experts working in a variety of settings will present their recommendations for responding to these challenges, and interested students will have the opportunity to learn about the research methods that measure the health effects of climate change.

Created with support from the Harvard Global Health Institute, this course will explain how climate change impacts people around the globe, but also how it directly affects you and your life. Though your riskrises with the rising global temperatures, climate change is a solvable problem, and there are things you can do to mitigate that risk.

This course is not an elegy for the planet, but a call to action. Enroll now to learn what you can do to reduce the harm caused by global warming.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Climate change's impacts on nutrition, migration, and infectious diseases
  • The research methods used in this field
  • Strategies to mitigate and adapt to the health impacts of climate change
  • How changes in Earth's atmosphere affect health outcomes
  • How to assess the various ways of addressing the health effects of global warming

Health -- The Human Face of Climate Change
In this week you'll meet the professors, get used to the edX environment, andreceive an overview of the pathways from climate change to human health outcomes. This week also includes a Climate Science Mini-Course for those who haven't studied the greenhouse effect or the effects of carbon dioxide before.

Heat & Air Quality
From here on, our coursewill be focused on answering a set of questions each week. This week: How does climate change affect heat-related illness? What does climate change have to do with air quality? What can be done to prevent heat exposure?

Infections
How does climate change impact water-borne diseases (like cholera and dysentery) and vector-borne diseases (such as malaria and dengue)? Will there be more outbreaks of water-borne diseases in a warming world? How will the range of disease vectors such as mosquitos and ticks shift with changes in temperature and rainfall?

Nutrition
Will we grow more crops or fewer in a hotter world? Will those crops be more nutritious, or less? What about the pests that feed on those crops? How will marine fisheries adapt to a warmer and more acidic ocean?

Migration
What happens when ambient temperatures exceed human tolerances? When storms, droughts and, extreme weather displace people - where do they go and what are the health consequences? What will happen to the inhabitants of small island states that will be wiped off the map by sea level rise?? What is it like to live as a climate refugee, both mentally and physically?

Research Methods
Climate change's impact on health can be gradual and progressive, emerging over years or even decades. How can one identify the relevant datasets to understand these emerging health impacts of climate change time series analysis? How can we address challenges of physical and temporal scale?

Responding to Climate Change
In our final week, we ask: What can nations, cities, and individuals do to respond to climate change? What are our options in terms of migration, adaptation, or even intervention? And given what we can do, what should we do?

Meet your instructors

Aaron Bernstein
Co-Director, Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment
Harvard University
Ashish Jha
Director, Harvard Global Health Institute
Harvard University

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HarvardX Honor Code

HarvardX requires individuals who enroll in its courses on edX to abide by the terms of the edX honor code. HarvardX will take appropriate corrective action in response to violations of the edX honor code, which may include dismissal from the HarvardX course; revocation of any certificates received for the HarvardX course; or other remedies as circumstances warrant. No refunds will be issued in the case of corrective action for such violations. Enrollees who are taking HarvardX courses as part of another program will also be governed by the academic policies of those programs.

 

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Harvard University and HarvardX are committed to maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of the community is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination or harassment in our program. All members of the HarvardX community are expected to abide by Harvard policies on nondiscrimination, including sexual harassment, and the edX Terms of Service. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact harvardx@harvard.edu and/or report your experience through the edX contact form.

 

HarvardX Research Statement

HarvardX pursues the science of learning. By registering as an online learner in an HX course, you will also participate in research about learning. Read our research statement to learn more.