FYE | It is Getting Hot in Here: The Politics and Science of Climate Change

This First Year Experience (FYE) course approaches the problem of climate change using both social and natural science perspectives. By the end of the two blocks the students will have a solid understanding of the climate system, how climate changes over both short and long time scales, and the impacts that a changing climate has on society. In addition, you will also understand the public policymaking process, how and why policies evolve over time, and the relationship between society and the policy process. This will allow us to discuss the current state of climate policy, specifically the disconnect between scientists, the public, and lawmakers.


Baca Campus is powered by this solar array. Students talk about the role of individual & institutional action and sustainability

We expect students to leave this class better prepared to make day-to-day decisions based on sound understanding, accurate information, and reasonable conjectures, regardless of the exact career path that you take. Students can expect to learn the following things:

    • What the term ‘climate’ refers to and how it varies spatially
    • What factors influence climate at any one place
    • What the possible causes of climate change are over time
    • How current and historical events shape/d public policy
    • The importance of storytelling & knowing your audience
    • How climate impacts other aspects of the surface environment & the ability of humans to utilize this environment (e.g. live, farm, or otherwise occupy it)
    • The role of ideology in the current climate debate
    • How humans have responded to climate change in the past
    • Climate change and associated impacts in the immediate future and possible human responses

Block 1 Fall 2016

Block 1: Student installing commemorative plaque at Baca

Block 1: Student installing commemorative plaque at Baca


Block 2: Florissant Fossil Beds Nat’l Monument Field Trip

Week 1: The Climate Engine | Week 2: The Public Policy Making Process,  Guest Lecturer: Susan Hassol, Climate Communicator | Week 3: Carbon and Sustainability,  3 day field trip to Baca Campus, Crestone, CO | Week 4: Wrap up and Commercial Presentations


Block 2 Fall 2016

Week 1: Paleoclimate, Field trip: Florissant Fossil Beds | Week 2: Politics & Ideology | Week 3: Climate Politics, visit from CO State Representatives Pete Lee (D) and Kit Roupe (R) | Week 4: Climate Campaigns