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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 5
Water: It's Not Just H2O


E-Seminar 6
Waterborne Infections

 
Medical Ecology: Environmental Disturbance and Disease
E-Seminar 7, Food: Land Use and Health Risks

Taught by: Dickson Despommier

Description
E-Seminar Description
In an age characterized by a rapidly changing environment, in which emerging and re-emerging diseases continue to confront us, 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 series Medical Ecology: Environmental Disturbance and Disease, Dickson Despommier, professor of public health and microbiology at Columbia, illuminates the connections between the disruption of ecosystems and eruptions of human disease. In Food: Land Use and Health Risks, the seventh and final seminar of this series, Despommier touches upon the last of Earth's great zones: land. He focuses his discussion on agriculture, our primary use of land, and the large impact that agriculture has on biodiversity and climate change. In addition, he discusses the impact of decreased biodiversity and climate disturbance on human diseases.

Growing human populations require great supplies of food for sustenance. The question is, can modern technologies or policies help us strike a balance between this agricultural need and the need for natural ecosystem and human health?

Minimal prior knowledge of science is required for this course, including basic concepts of ecosystems and agriculture.

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
•    Explore the concepts of ecoregions and ecotones.

•    Understand the ecological implications of agricultural land use.

•    Think critically about solutions to the decline in biodiversity and to climate change.

•    Discuss possible policies or technologies that can alleviate the predicted shortage of global food supplies.

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Outline
1. Terrestrial Ecosystems
     Review of Ecoregions
     Ecotones
2. Land Use
     Agriculture
     Current Trends and Statistics
     Deforestation
3. Ecosystem Impacts
     Biodiversity
     Climate Change
4. Health Impacts
     World Food Supply
     Bioinvasion and New Disease
5. Repair
     Agricultural Technology
     Return to Nature
6. 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
Freedman, Bill. Environmental Ecology: The Ecological Effects of Pollution, Disturbance, and Other Stresses. 2d ed. San Diego: Academic Press, 1995.

Odum, Martha and Eugene P. Odum. Essence of Place. University of Georgia Press, 2000.

Patz, Jonathan. Ecosystem Change and Public Health: A Global Perspective. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.

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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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