How to Build a Habitable Planet
Name: How to Build a Habitable Planet
Date: September 16, 2019 - November 11, 2019
In this course we will trace the evolution of Earth from the Big Bang to the present. Our guide in this journey will be the remarkable How to Build a Habitable Planet, written by Charles Langmuir at Harvard and the late Wally Broecker at Columbia. We will focus on the key events that have shaped our planet and given rise to the life that seems to make Earth unique. Part of the story we will follow is the physical evolution of the universe that made Earth’s formation possible. Part of the story is the planetary development of the Earth and how that led to primeval life. Another part of the story is the evolution of life on Earth and how life has survived our planet’s changes. The final part of the story is the ongoing tragedy of humanity’s forcing major degradation of the Earth’s ecosystems. We seek to provide a supportive atmosphere for discussion. We will provide suggested readings from the required text for each class. Participants who find the required text challenging may want to also get the optional text; it is lighter reading and makes a helpful companion.