Climate, Features

For Every Major, This is Major

For Every Major, This is Major

Fall 2023 Climate and Sustainability Courses

Throughout disciplines and across programs, Duke is creating a climate for climate education. Feel like diving headfirst into ocean health? Want to invest some time in learning about green business? Ready to march through the history of youth activism? Whatever your course of study, Duke provides curricular opportunities to deepen your climate and sustainability knowledge and to empower bold climate solutions.

In preparation for Fall 2023, check out these ten climate and sustainability related courses from across the university, and explore the breadth of topics in the full list of Fall 2023 climate and sustainability courses.
This story is part of the Climate Education Series


Manifesto Workshop: Climate Change, Afro/Solar-Punk, and Performance

AAS 202, THEATRST 221, GSF 223

This performance-based workshop explores radical, embodied storytelling through the lenses of Afrofuturism, solarpunk, environmental justice, and queer utopias. Through creative research, embodied “in(queer)y,” and collaborative theater-making, the workshop will culminate in a public performance of original student work.
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Biological Responses to Climate Change


In the face of current and future human-caused climate change, how do living organisms adapt? This course digs into the ways organisms—both as individuals and part of a community—can cope with the increased environmental stresses of climate change. Students learn to identify evidence of the effects of climate change on organisms, such as adaptations to heightened temperature. By investigating the ecological and evolutionary ways organisms can or cannot respond to climate change, students gain a deeper awareness of the scale of the climate challenge, as well as the connectedness of living organisms to the environments they inhabit.

Energy Engineering and the Environment

ME 461

Every method we use to produce energy affects our environment. This course examines the efficiencies of both new and established energy sources and conversion methods. It evaluates alternative energy technologies by using statistical information and by modeling using principals of fluid mechanics, thermodynamics and heat transfer. Students study electricity generation by fossil fuels, nuclear, solar, wind and hydro; space heating and cooling by traditional methods and by solar; transportation energy in automobiles, mass transit and freight; and the environmental consequences of energy choices on local, national and global scales, including toxic emissions, greenhouse gases and resource depletion.
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Map and Design: Feliz Pharand-Deschenes / Globaia

Beyond Denial – A Thriving Future


What are the shared roots of the climate crisis and unparalleled inequality? This course explores big ideas that envision a radically different future, one that provides for the common good within our given biophysical limits, including post-growth, wellbeing, and care economics; eco-feminism; eco-anarchism; decolonization; ecological justice; and common rights to land use.

First-Year Seminar: Climate Change


This seminar provides a comprehensive and integrated view of current climate change issues. Students examine global patterns of energy production and consumption, and explore the potential of alternative low-carbon and carbon-free energy sources to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. The class also focuses on the economic and policy aspects of mitigating climate change, and analyzes the progress towards a comprehensive international agreement.
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One Health: From Philosophy to Practice


For much of the world, health is the topic that connects most closely to climate change. Heat, air quality, food and clean water availability are all tied directly to the shifting environment. One Health brings together human, animal and environmental health to study how these systems are connected to - and impacted by - one another. This framework is increasingly important for understanding how disease can be prevented and health maintained. In this multidisciplinary course, students design practical solutions to global health challenges, and learn through seminars and case studies about how different disciplines work together to advance our understanding of One Health. 
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Image: Pan Lab/William Pan
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Image: Alina Taalman

The Climate System

EOS 511, ECS 511

How do the pieces of the climate puzzle fit together? What are the relationships between heat, land, ocean, atmosphere, ice and life on this planet, and how is human-caused climate change disrupting and affecting their balance? This course dives deep into these systems and introduces the modeling that climate scientists use to frame the physical alterations happening in the natural world due to human-caused climate change.

Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Investing

ENERGY 578, ECON 578

Environmental, Social and Governance factors are influencing roughly $40 trillion of global assets today, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. The world's largest asset managers like BlackRock consider it essential to ask: "How will risks and opportunities related to climate change affect the financial returns of our portfolios?" In this class, students learn from market leaders in family offices, private equity, venture capital and data and analytics while also assessing the pros and cons of implementing ESG in practice.
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Adapted from: ESG and Financial Performance by Tensie Whelan, Ulrich Atz, Tracy Van Holt and Casey Clark, CFA - NYU | Stern 2021
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Image: Katie Kross

Climate, Sustainability, and Corporate Governance


Global challenges such as urbanization, food security, water availability, inequality, natural resource degradation, and climate disruption increasingly put people and businesses at risk. Yet these same trends can create profit through products, processes and business models that provide solutions for growing global markets. As environmental and social challenges grow, companies are increasingly integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations into core strategies and investments. In particular, the scale and urgency of the climate crisis is creating a rapidly evolving range of new risks, requirements, opportunities, and expectations for companies to navigate.
Students will learn the relevance of social and environmental issues to their specific industry or function; understand the interaction of business, government and civil society in addressing society’s challenges, and who are interested in ESG-related careers.

Preaching Place: The Challenge and Promise of a Global Gospel


Through the sermons of Indigenous Christians in the South Pacific being displaced by rising tides, U.S. and Mexican pastors across the border wall, and preachers to Danish congregations that have shifted from mono-cultural to multi-cultural through refugee relocation, this course asks how preaching is being leveraged to resist and mitigate the vulnerabilities of climate displacement. In Durham, local preachers will reflect on how land and place impact their communal witness. The class will walk Durham's neighborhoods -- noting the ways that the climate effects of flooding and heat impact vulnerable communities, such as unhoused populations and undocumented migrants.
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