How does an education in Geography and Earth System Science matter for sustainability?

· by Maria Joao Santos · in Sustainability, Teaching and studying

In current times we experience everyday news about ongoing major global changes and risks, from climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, health and diseases, among others. We are urged to act so that we can ensure a sustainable and livable planet that enables our vision of «one earth – many worlds». Sustainability comes in many forms of our daily lives, from personal choices of what we wear, eat or consume, how and whether we travel, but also reflected on our professions and behaviors as professionals.

At GIUZ we have two main curricula, geography – the science of place, space and location, and earth system science – the science of the system earth and its main spheres including the anthroposphere. Along with others, these two fields of study and training are well embedded and suited to prepare current and future professionals to understand, question and find solutions to the major sustainability challenges of our times.

In our curriculum we cover research and inquire, from fundamental curiosity driven research, to method development and innovative sensing methods, and applied earth-world integrative studies. The knowledge we produce and the knowledge we challenge is in our view fundamental to understanding of sustainability, and perhaps centrally embedded in sustainability action.

We cannot act towards what we do not know, but what we choose to know and study affects what we can act on.

Our blog showcases many of the lines of inquiry within our department and that we translate to our teaching and curricula in Geography and Earth System Science.

  • What is sustainability from the different disciplines?
  • How to enable resource use maintaining earth processes?
  • What are the dynamics of frontiers and how do inequalities, markets, perceptions and values affect how people interact with nature?
  • What are the challenges in measuring and modeling these processes?
  • Which trade-offs and conflicts might emerge?
  • How to develop solutions that are acceptable, scalable and effective in the time frame needed to respond to sustainability solutions?
  • Where will these be located and how do they affect our sense of place or how we sense our world in person and digitally?
  • How do these choices affect biodiversity, atmospheric, soil and hydrological processes?
  • How do we move through this landscape of the present or of the future?
  • And how do we create spaces and evolve languages and reduce communication barriers?

All these questions are important and are what you learn in our programs. Through this lens we aim to train you and learn from you on how together we can become more sustainable.

Bachelor: Geography, Earth System Science
Master: Geography, Earth System Science

Alpine Biology Center Piora (CBA), Ticino

Maria J. Santos

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