Life as we know it is completely dependent on our planet. The Earth is an integrated system, where the ocean, atmosphere, life and planet interact with and affect one another. The evolution of the smallest organisms has drastically changed Earth’s climate, and small changes in Earth’s climate have a profound effect on the distribution of life. Understanding how organisms feed, breath, grow, and reproduce are integral to mitigating large-scale climate changes and organic cycles, and how this will affect the Earth as a system. Processes such as plate tectonics produces an ever changing surface, and has been a major control on how and when life evolved and flourished. After introducing how the Earth works, topics discussed will include how life on Earth has evolved, how large-scale geological processes affect climate and life and how ecosystems have changed in response to weather and climate change. We will also discuss the effect that our species has had on this planet; from the sudden shifts in stability of Earth’s systems, to feedback cycles, to use of resources and sustainability.
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