Courses focused on the Environment and Landscapes

See the list below for courses that focus on the environment and landscapes in Canada…

(F= Fall-term 2021; S=Winter-term 2022)

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JEG100H1-S – Introduction to Physical Geography and Earth Science (TBD)

This introduction to Physical Geography and Earth Sciences examines the atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and biosphere, emphasizing processes, flows of energy and materials, and the interconnectedness of these Earth systems. Specific topics include weather and climate, earth materials, geological and geomorphic processes involved in the genesis of landforms, river systems, glaciers, soils, and biomes.


ENV100H1-F – Introduction to Environmental Studies (TBD)

An investigation of the relationship between human beings and their natural and built environments. This interdisciplinary course will draw from the sciences, social sciences and the humanities to explore major social, cultural, economic, regulatory, ethical, ecological and technological aspects of environmental issues.


ESS103H1-F – Geology in Public Issues (C. Bank)

Geologic hazards: earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, tsunamis. The distribution and politics of natural resources, including petroleum and ore deposits. Nuclear power and nuclear waste disposal. Global change: the geologic record of hot and cold climates, and how the earth survives.  ESS103H1 is primarily intended as a science Distribution Requirement course for Humanities and Social Science, it will be taught in odd years.


ESS105H1-S – Our home planet (T. Santimano)

The nature and evolution of the Earth; plate tectonics; rocks and minerals; volcanism; geological time; fossils; geology of Ontario; environmental issues; and human interactions with the planet.  ESS105H1 is primarily intended as a science Distribution Requirement course for Humanities and Social Science students.


GGR196H1-F – The Yard: Micro-Geographies of Household Outdoor Spaces (S. Wakefield)

By examining micro-geographies (that is, detailed empirical studies of a small, specific locale) of these ubiquitous, everyday spaces, the course explores how yards are intimately connected with broader ecologies, cultures, and social relations, all of which can be explored using geographic theories and techniques. 


CHM197H1-F – Environmental Chemistry in a Sustainable World (J. Abbatt)

Rapid and widespread industrialization is changing the chemical nature of the planet. In order to have a sustainable future, we need to manage chemicals released by humankind, and to understand their effects on the environment and on us. Each year, this seminar course will address the fundamental science behind a specific topic in this field, such as the interactions of our energy choices and the environment, changes in water and air quality, or exposure to biologically-active synthetic chemicals such as pharmaceuticals or personal care products.


ENG199H1-F – Tree Stories (A. Ackerman)

Trees are all around us. We climb them, tell stories about them, write on paper, at desks, in homes made from them. But most people tend to take them for granted. This course considers how we imagine trees in works of art and legend and what trees can teach us about our own place in the world. We will read stories and poems as well as exploring the trees around campus and the environment we share. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.


ENV199H1-S1 – Debating & Understanding Current Environmental Issues (TBD)

The course examines current environmental issues for which there is no easy answer or consensus position. For instance, to help solve climate change should we generate more electricity from nuclear power-plants, which have no greenhouse gas emissions? Or instead, should we phase out nuclear plants because of possible accidents, costs and radioactive wastes? The seminar examines the scientific and political aspects of such issues and debates the pros and cons of each. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.


FOR200H1-F – Conservation of Canada’s Forests (P. James)

Forest conservation issues in Canada; development of forest management philosophy in Canadian and temperate forest regions; and concepts of sustainability. Techniques for more sustainable forest management: structural retention; forest certification; old growth; value-added and non-traditional forest products.


CHM210H1-F – Chemistry of Environmental Change (J. Murphy)

Examines the fundamental chemical processes of the Earth’s natural environment, and changes induced by human activity. Topics related to the atmosphere: urban air pollution, stratospheric ozone depletion, acid rain, climate change; the hydrosphere: water resources and pollution, wastewater analysis; biogeochemistry and inorganic metals in the environment.


GGR240H1-F – Geographies of Colonialism in North America (M. Farish)

This course considers the creation and consolidation of settler colonies in the region known to many as North America. With an eye to the colonial present, the course focuses on the period from the 15th century to the early 20th century. Cultural texts and place-specific cases are used to ground themes and processes that also bear on the wider field of historical geography, including narratives of discovery and possession; ecological imperialism and environmental transformation; the (re)settlement of land and colonial government; enslavement and industrialization; frontiers, borders, and resource extraction; and some of the Indigenous geographies that preceded, were transformed by and transformed, and exceeded the reach of colonial power.


INS240Y1 – Ecological Interactions: Intro to Indigenous and Western Sciences

Introduction to methodologies and applications of Indigenous and Western sciences, with an emphasis on environmental change, animal behaviour, evolution, sustainable practices, and implications of intrinsic ecological connections. Exploratory labs, often outdoors, develop literacy and skills in each paradigm as well as critical thought, creative reflection, and synthesis of knowledge.


GGR246H1-S – Geography of Canada (M. Siemiatycki)

Social and economic differences have been, and continue to be, a prominent feature of Canada’s geography. In this course these differences are examined at a regional and local scale. The course adopts a thematic approach and considers issues such as historical development, urbanization, industrialization, immigration and population change, Canada’s cultural mosaic and native issues. Emphasis will be placed on the evolution of social and economic policies and Canada’s incorporation into a global economy.


INS250H1-F – Indigenous Environmental Science and Practice (TBD)

This course is a study of the ecological and scientific teachings of Indigenous peoples. The course provides an overview of Indigenous peoples’ relationships with the natural world in historical and contemporary environmental issues and their implications for Indigenous Peoples and others.


HIS300H1-F – Energy and Environment in North American History (S. Penfold)

This course examines the history of energy in North America from the perspective of political economy, environment and social-cultural history. Particular attention is paid to twentieth-century developments and to the relationship between energy and social power. Examples are drawn from both Canada and the United States.


GGR308H1-F – Canadian Arctic and Subarctic Environments (S. Peirce)

We will explore the climate geomorphology, soils, hydrology, biogeochemical cycling, limnology and food web structures of the Arctic and Subarctic. Current stresses of climate change and pollution are discussed along with scientific and political solutions.


ENV320H1-S – National Environmental Policy (TBD)

Examines ways in which governments develop and implement policy to protect the environment within their borders. Primarily Canada, plus comparisons with other countries. The focus is upon the politics of environmental policy making, which is understood by examining the interests and powers of the relevant state and non-state actors.


JIG322H1-S – Indigenous Worlds, Worldviews and the Environment (H. Dorries)

Explores the diverse ways of understanding and responding to the world that emerge from indigenous cultures around the world. Examines how indigenous ways of being and relating to their natural environment can help us understand and address the current environmental crisis. Using examples of indigenous activism from Canada and around the world, examines how colonial histories shape dispossession and marginalization and inform visions for the future. Topics include traditional ecological knowledge, place-based social movements, environmental concerns of indigenous peoples, bio-cultural restoration and decolonization of nature-human relations.


ENV323H1-S – Ontario Environmental Policy (TBD)

Introduces students to public policy and institutional foundations of public policy in Canada, with an emphasis on environmental policy in Ontario. Provides an insiders perspective on how environmental policy has been developed in Ontario.


GGR339H1-S – Urban Geography, Planning and Political Processes (J. Spicer)

Investigates North American urban political geography, exploring conflicts over immigration, environment, gentrification, homelessness, labour market restructuring, ‘race’ and racism, urban sprawl, nature and environment, gender, sexuality, security, and segregation. Explores competing visions of city life and claims on urban space. The course investigates how these struggles connect to economic, social and environmental politics at larger spatial scales, and considers different theoretical frameworks that geographers have developed to make sense of both the persistence of old problems and the emergence of new ones. Potential field trip, cost: $20.


FAH355H1-S – Landscape to EcoArt (M. Cheetham)

Ecological art is a focus in contemporary global art. We examine ecoart’s antecedents in the landscape genre and Earth Art and the diverse theoretical and disciplinary perspectives that inform our understanding of these movements. Artists include Burtynsky, Eliasson, Long, Mendieta, Netco, Smithson, Turrell. Readings include Deleuze, Heidegger, Latour.


FAH499H1-S -Contemporary Art Movements: Art, Nature, and the Logic of the Aesthetic (D. Dunlop)

Selected aspects of the complex array of international contemporary art movements, their artists, objects, and critical discourses. Potential issues include the theoretical, philosophical, and political concerns addressed by given artworks and artists; the role of art journals, the private patron, and museum display.


ARC451H1-F – Advanced Topics in History and Theory of Architecture: Architecture and Extractive Landscapes: Ecologies and Empires (J. Nguyen)

This seminar looks at the buildings, infrastructure, and planned landscapes that facilitated the extraction of resources from the earth for imperial purposes. The aim is to consider how architectural forms and technologies brought theories of the natural world into dialogue with the politics and practices of empire (among other things, these included settler colonialism, which involved the forced removal and genocide of Indigenous people and the importation and subjugation of enslaved labourers). 


This project is supported by the Learning & Education Advancement Fund at the University of Toronto

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