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E-Seminars: E-Seminar Detail
 



E-Seminars in This Series

E-Seminar 1
The Normal Environment: How Things Got This Way


E-Seminar 2
The Normal Environment: The Way Things Are Now


E-Seminar 3
Atmosphere: Stratospheric Problems


E-Seminar 4
Atmosphere: Problems at Ground Level


E-Seminar 6
Waterborne Infections


E-Seminar 7
Food: Land Use and Health Risks


 
Medical Ecology: Environmental Disturbance and Disease
E-Seminar 5, Water: It's Not Just H2O

Taught by: Dickson Despommier

Description
E-Seminar Description
In an age characterized by a rapidly changing environment, in which diseases continue to emerge and reemerge, how can we predict the next major threats to human health? Are we, in fact, aiding the spread of disease by destroying the barriers that keep us from it? In his seven-part series Medical Ecology: Environmental Disturbance and Disease, Columbia Professor of Public Health and Microbiology Dickson Despommier illuminates the connections between the disruption of ecosystems and eruptions of human disease. In Water: It's Not Just H2O, the fifth seminar in the series, Professor Despommier delves into another of Earth's great zones—water. He examines closely the hydrological cycle and the ecosystem services it provides, the world's dwindling sources of freshwater, and the effects of water pollution on the environment and human health. Professor Despommier's engaging lecture is enhanced with interactive maps, data, and readings.

Minimal prior knowledge of science—including basic concepts of molecules, cells, and chemistry—is required for this course.

E-Seminar Length:3-5 hours
Start Date:Anytime
Credits:Not-for-Credit
Prerequisites:None
Moderator:None
Columbia Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni:FREE

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E-Seminar Objectives | Outline | Instructor's Background | Recommended Reading | Technical Requirements

E-Seminar Objectives
•    Explain the hydrological cycle and its importance to freshwater resources worldwide.

•    Distinguish between point-source pollutants and non-point-source pollutants, and explain the impact that each type of pollutant has on environmental and human health.

•    Interpret examples of ecosystems that have been affected by water pollution and consider how such pollution might affect other systems.

•    Discuss possible international policies that could protect diminishing freshwater supplies worldwide and alleviate water pollution.

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Outline
1. Understanding Water
     The Hydrological Cycle
     The Role of Life
     Ecosystem Services
2. Water Sources and Usage
     Freshwater Reservoirs
     Worldwide-Usage Statistics
     World Water Crises
     The Ogallala Reservoir
3. Water Pollutants
     Point-Source Pollutants
     Non-Point-Source Pollutants
     Water Treatment
4. Impacts
     The Environment
     The Mississippi River Delta
     Human Health
     Arsenic in Bangladesh
5. Conclusion

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Instructor's Background

Instructor's Background
Dickson Despommier is Professor of Public Health and Microbiology at Columbia University. He earned his B.S. degree at Fairleigh Dickinson University, his M.S. degree in medical parasitology at Columbia University, and his Ph.D. in microbiology at the University of Notre Dame. He then spent three years as a guest investigator at Rockefeller University before joining the faculty at Columbia, where he has taught and conducted biomedical research over the past thirty years.

Despommier's research interests include molecular aspects of intracellular parasitism, river ecology, and more recently, medical aspects of ecology, which he has termed Medical Ecology. Despommier is author of over seventy peer-reviewed journal articles, three textbooks, and 13 review articles in books dealing with medical aspects of parasitism. He has been awarded the highest honor the Columbia health sciences faculty bestows, the Dean's Distinguished Medal for Outstanding Teaching, and has been elected teacher of the year numerous times, both at Columbia University, and at other Universities where he has been a visiting professor. In 2003, he was the recipient of the American Medical Student Association's (AMSA) National Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence.


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Recommended Reading
Ball, Philip. Life's Matrix: A Biography of Water. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000.

Berner, Elizabeth Kay and Robert A. Berner. The Global Water Cycle: Geochemistry and Environment. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1987.

Freedman, Bill. Environmental Ecology: The Ecological Effects of Pollution, Disturbance, and Other Stresses. 2d ed. San Diego: Academic Press, 1995.


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Technical Requirements
You will need to use a computer with Internet access to complete this course. We recommend the following minimum configurations:

IBM-COMPATIBLE PC
Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, or NT
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 4 or above (Internet Explorer 5 strongly recommended) or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

MACINTOSH
MAC OS 8.6 or higher
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 5 or above or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

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