Building Coastal Resilience: How Climate and Other Changes May Affect South Florida

Colin Polsky
Science / Current Events

Course Description

Rising sea levels, heat waves, storms, droughts, and warming oceans are some of the most familiar environmental challenges that affect South Florida. Is it possible to take an even-handed, non-partisan approach to one of society’s most pressing and prominent issues: climate change? People often think of climate change from a scientific perspective. But, because the issue is a human creation, if we are to advance meaningful responses, then we also need to understand the ‘human dimensions’ of the issue. How do people (not only scientists) understand climate? How, if at all, are people affecting climate? How does climate affect people? The course is intended to provide an inspirational perspective on human behavior, leaving students with a refined understanding of and appreciation for our common futures.


  1. What is Coastal Resilience and why should we care, both globally and locally?
  2. How to wade through the politicized nature of climate change. Implications for South Florida.
  3. Impacts of climate and social changes in South Florida.
  4. Potential responses to the impacts of climate and social changes in South Florida.

About the Instructor

  • Colin Polsky, Ph.D. is the director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies at FAU, and a professor in the department of geosciences in the College of Science. His research and teaching examine how people create, perceive, and respond to environmental challenges. Polsky’s interdisciplinary training is in mathematics, humanities, French, geography, and science & international affairs (from U. Texas, Penn State, and Harvard). As the Center director and professor, he helps build and lead teams to advance knowledge of U.S. climate vulnerabilities, in both methodological and applied terms. His responsibilities include program building, both within and across university departments; fundraising from public and private foundations; staffing diverse and multi-generational teams; and communicating with varied audiences for both persuasive and reporting purposes.

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Upcoming programs presented by Colin Polsky.

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