People, Land and Food: Comparative Study of Agriculture Systems

Tuesday/Thursday, 1:20–2:10 p.m. + discussion section
3 credits


Holly Gibbs
Professor, Geography and Environmental Studies

Course Description

In this course we will examine how and why humans have transformed the global landscape and the consequences for biodiversity, climate, biogeochemical cycling and other ecosystem services needed to keep our planet habitable. We will explore these land-use tradeoffs between human necessities such as food production and unintended consequences such as habitat loss, floods, greenhouse gas emissions, and community displacement.

We will study agricultural systems in different regions and tackle topics such as food security, land scarcity, bioenergy and the impacts of agriculture on the environment. The drivers and pattern of tropical deforestation will also be a focus. We will examine a range of solutions from global policy to everyday decisions to feed and fuel the world without destroying the planet. Each student will have a chance to lead a service-learning or research project that aims to make change in our local community.

View syllabus (pdf)

Fulfills Environmental Studies


Counts Toward

Sustainability Certificate

UW Designations


Social Science