Today's Featured Lecturer:

Eric Danner, UC Santa Cruz


Each semester the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs selects one graduate-level seminar and opens it up to the entire campus and public-at-large to attend for free. Each week they feature prominent guest lecturers with real-world expertise and experience. This semester’s instructors are:

Brian Helmuth, Professor, School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, and Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences

Joan Fitzgerald, Professor and Interim Dean, School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs

Auroop Ganguly, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Lee Breckenridge, School of Law

TA: Brian Young, School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs;


Challenges centered on water form the nexus of many, and arguably most, environmental issues facing society today. Earth is a water planet, yet less than 0.1% of the planet’s water is available as usable, clean freshwater. Living organisms- including humans- require access to water free of contaminants, and we rely on water for a wide array of other applications. This course will focus on diverse aspects surrounding water: the many ways in which water is used, for example agriculture and energy; societal implications of limited access to water and conversely, the challenge of too much water; and how these challenges are affected by global climate change.

This course includes a classroom component for registered students that will focus on thoughtful discussion of literature centered on this topic. The open classroom portion of the course will feature lectures and guided discussions from internationally recognized experts from academia, government and industry. Students registered for the course will be provided with a set of guided readings to complement the lectures, and will be asked to delve further into a topic of their choice. Examples of topics to be covered include storms and hazards, challenges of water scarcity, sea level rise and climate change, demands of agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, and water and energy.

Non-credit participation is free and open to the public. After registering for the semester, you may attend whichever sessions you are interested in. Registering helps us manage expectations about attendance. In addition, being on the class roster allows you to receive timely information through class announcements.