New Climate Change Certificate

Starting fall semester 2022 Introduces students to causes, effects, challenges, and solutions

Inver Hills Community College is offering a new Climate Change certificate starting fall semester 2022. The 16-credit certificate provides a broad introduction to the scientific mechanisms and social drivers of climate change. Coursework also explores the social, political, and moral challenges of climate change as well as potential solutions.

Starting this fall, Erica Wood, geology faculty at Inver Hills, will be teaching a new course in the certificate curriculum called NSCI 1110: Introduction to Climate Change Studies.

“I’m proud to be a part of the wonderful group of Inver Hills faculty who helped develop the Climate Change certificate,” Erica said. “It’s imperative for people to understand the interactions between humans, the geosphere, cryosphere, and atmosphere to make a positive change in the current climate crisis. Climate affects everyone on Earth—especially marginalized people.”

Erica reported that the new Introduction to Climate Change Studies course will explore a number of crucial topics, including:

  • Past climate change, or paleoclimate
  • How we know about climate changes over the course of the planet’s history
  • Climate myths
  • Current climate change causes
  • Climate effects on natural disasters
  • How climate has affected global populations

Faculty perspectives: Climate change fast facts

Many high schools are no longer requiring Earth Science or other sciences relevant to climate, which means student exposure to climate science could be minimal.

Humans make positive changes when they understand the problem. We can’t change what we don’t acknowledge. My hope is students come away with a better understanding of the natural and human causes of climate change and how to improve the lives of all humans.

Major change happens at the policy level. Good policy involves good scientists and a trust of climate science.

Oceans don’t care about people’s political persuasions. All they know how to do is rise. Warmer oceans do not absorb carbon from the atmosphere, unlike cold oceans and the result is more greenhouse gases. Warmer oceans increase in volume and the result is sea-level rise.

The climate changes we’re seeing in Minnesota are the tip of the iceberg. In the new course (Introduction to Climate Change Studies), we’ll explore what is happening globally. Who is seeing the most changes and why? How are these changes affecting people’s everyday lives? What changes are people having to make to survive?

Cold (polar) regions are seeing far greater warming than warmer (equatorial) regions. We’ll explore Indigenous observations of the Arctic and the vast amount of changes they have seen including thinning sea ice, changes in ice and snow characteristics, poor body condition of many animals, permafrost melt, greater frequency of extreme weather events, and others.

If climate change is the shark, the hydrologic cycle is the teeth. Changes in the hydrologic cycle are what is going to bite people in the end. Climate refugees are fleeing to other countries or even within the United States. Minnesota is one of the locations to which climate refugees are coming and we’ll explore the reasons why.

Climate Change certificate


Climate Change curriculum: 3 credits

  • NSCI 1110: Introduction to Climate Change Studies

Climate Science curriculum: 4–8 credits

  • BIOL 1117 (with lab): Environmental Science: 4 credits
  • BIOL 2306: General Ecology: 4 credits
  • GEOG 1140: Weather and Climate: 4 credits
  • GEOG 1400: Energy, Environment and Climate: 4 credits

Climate and Society curriculum: Social Concerns: 3–6 credits

  • ANTH 2140: Humans and the Environment: 3 credits
  • GWS 1200: Women and Global Issues: 3 credits
  • PHIL 2130: Environmental Philosophy: 3 credits
  • SOC 2030: Environmental Sociology: 3 credits

Climate and Society curriculum: Solutions: 3–6 credits

  • POLS 1141: Intro Environmental Politics: 3 credits
  • ENGR 1701: Climate Crisis: Implementing Solutions: 3 credits
  • ECON 1106: Principles of Microeconomics: 3 credits
  • GEOG 1150: Renewable and Non-Renewable Natural Resources: 3 credits
Learn more about the new Climate Change certificate at Inver Hills by contacting:

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