HC 241H: Plants and Society

Professor: Tobias Policha

4.00 credits

  • CRN 26172: Monday & Wednesday, 1015-1145 @ REMOTE

Plants influence every aspect of our lives whether we realize it or not. They provide the basis of our food-webs, they provide the oxygen that we breathe and they provide many of the materials that we build with and the fibers that we clothe ourselves with. They keep us healthy by providing medicines and important ecosystem services such as purifying air and water. The study of plants and society is a broad field that is inherently interdisciplinary. From the history of how our interactions with plants shaped our cultures and civilizations to the modern uses of plant materials for food, fiber, fuel and medicine this field is informed by botanists, chemists, social scientists, historians, and artists. The interaction and impact of humans on ecological communities is also considered.We will develop an appreciation for the role of plants in modern human society and understand the ways that human interactions with plants have shaped the development of civilization.Students will learn to identify a variety of common useful plant species. Including those used for agriculture, medicine and timber, become familiar with the ways that we generate knowledge about plants and their uses and critically evaluate those methods, and be able to apply the scientific method to evaluating plant products for potential utility.