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Climate Change, Policy, and Action (SSHS)

Website: School of Social Science and Human Services



Current as of June 2021


About the Minor

The Climate Crisis has emerged as perhaps the major global crisis affecting current and future life on earth. Every institution of higher education should be addressing this crisis, but an interdisciplinary institution such as Ramapo should be taking the lead in doing so.   Toward this end, a five-course minor in Climate Change, Policy and Action is proposed. Climate Change has emerged as an existential threat to the health and habitability of the earth, affecting humans and all life on our planet. The resulting Climate Crises can no longer be classified as a future threat—it is very much upon us. With only a decade to address the crisis, we must try to mitigate it to slow it down by reducing the release of greenhouse gasses, but adaptation and resilience are also demanded. There is a fast-emerging interdisciplinary field addressing these challenges that unites the sciences, social sciences and human services with business and diplomacy. Ramapo College has engaged with this issue for decades, running major conferences and offering courses in multiple programs. It is well positioned to offer a minor program in Climate Change open to students in all majors that will rest on existing courses and primarily on existing sections and faculty.

Outcomes of the Minor

Outcome 1:  Students will understand the basic science of global warming/climate change including the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and all key climate documents.

Outcome 2:  Students will understand the issues of climate policy and regulation, including climate advocacy, climate politics and climate communication, as well as the UN Climate Process and the Paris Agreement, and other global, national, state, local and civil society climate initiatives.

Outcome 3: Students will understand the history of climate science and its acceptance or denial in the policy and public spheres, including the role of systematic distortion by fossil fuel companies and others of climate issues.

Outcome 4:  Students will understand the core ethical issues surrounding the climate crisis, including environmental injustice, intergenerational equity and the rights of non-human life.

Outcome 5:  Students will understand the human and non-human impacts of climate change.

Outcome 6:  Students will understand the issues of climate mitigation, including the transformation from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Outcome 7:  Students will understand the issues of climate adaptation.

Outcome 8:  Students will understand the systemic, cumulative and secondary impacts of the climate crisis, including climate refugeeism and climate-induced war.

Outcome 9:  Students will understand the concept of resilience, its role in sustainability, and how to enact it.

Requirements of the Minor
  • Students are required to take 5 courses (20 credits) to complete this minor.
  • At least half of the courses fulfilling a minor must be distinct from the student’s major. That is, three of the five courses required for a minor cannot be used towards fulfillment of major requirements. A School Core does not need to be completed for a minor. Minors are open to students regardless of school affiliation.

* Because of the limit on double counting between a major and minor, Environmental Studies students will take a second field experience and two other courses not counted for the major itself.

**Upon request to the instructor, prerequisites will be waived for minors in this program.