The Habitable Planet is a multimedia course for high school teachers and adult learners interested in studying environmental science.
The Web site provides access to course content and activities developed by leading scientists and researchers in the field.
The Habitable Planet was designed for teachers, educators, and adult learners with a science background who want to learn more about current issues in environmental science. College or graduate students, advanced high school students, or even professional scientists may also find this course useful. We welcome their use of these materials.
The Earth is probably unique in our solar system—a rare platform for complex life forms. The conditions present on Earth are maintained within a reasonable range by a series of global cycles linking geological systems with diverse forms of life present in almost every available niche. This course asks: What makes Earth unique among planets? How are life forms, namely human beings, sustained by the Earth’s overall ecosystem, and, in turn, what effects do humans have on its natural systems? What does Earth’s future look like? Given current trends, what can be predicted and what might be expected if we acted in concert to mitigate our impacts on the planet itself?Course Components
The Habitable Planet is a multimedia course consisting of 13 units. Each unit is composed of a thirty-minute video and an online text chapter. The web site acts as a home base to begin study, a place to organize the course materials. It provides access to all the course components plus additional resources, which include:
- 5 Interactive Lab Activities
- Visuals: A compilation of animations and images used in the videos and textbook chapters
- Scientist biographies, and edited transcripts from each of the video case study interviews
- Professional Development Course Guide
- A navigable glossary
How to Use This Course
The videos and online textbook chapters can be used independently. When using both, it is possible to start with either one. We suggest users read the chapter first, and then watch the video. The lab activities should be completed after watching the related video and reading the related chapters to give users a practical, applied experience.
Content By Unit
- Many Planets, One Earth
- Human Population Dynamics
- Risk, Exposure, and Health
- Water Resources
- Biodiversity Decline
- Energy Challenges
- Atmospheric Pollution
- Earth’s Changing Climate
- Looking Forward: Our Global Experiment