Steven Roof

Professor of Earth and Environmental Science
Hampshire College Professor Steven Roof
Contact Steven

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Steven Roof
Cole Science Center 304

Steve Roof, professor of earth and environmental science, received his B.S. from the University of California at Santa Cruz, his M.S. from Syracuse University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Professor Roof's teaching and research focus on environmental issues such as climate change, pollution, and land conservation. He and his students travel frequently to Death Valley and the southwest for climate change field research. Professor Roof also coordinates a climate change research program in the High Arctic for undergraduate students called the "Svalbard REU." He consciously integrates the scientific, political, and social aspects of environmental problems in his classes and projects. He teaches and supervises projects in geology, climate change, resource conservation, land use planning, geographic information systems, environmental chemistry, and the evolution of scientific thought.

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Recent and Upcoming Courses

  • Modern civilization was built on fossil fuels, but will global warming and other consequences of fossil fuel use bring the end of civilization? In this class we will explore how humans make and use energy, its benefits, and its consequences. We will examine all forms of energy but focus on renewable electrical energy. On the global scale, we will explore the history, current practices, and future potential of renewable energy from all angles, including technological, political, equitable, and environmental. On a local scale, we will examine renewable energy projects including Hampshire's PV arrays, New England wind turbines, and farmers producing electricity from cow poop. Students will be evaluated on enthusiasm, a series of short research papers, a final project, and group participation Keywords:climate action, climate change solutions, sustainability

  • Environmental Earth Science: In this course we will investigate how the natural world operates and examine how society interacts with Earth. Class discussions and weekly projects will introduce the major concepts and techniques of earth science, environmental sciences, and resource management, providing grounding in the geosciences and forming a basis for the interdisciplinary study of environmental topics. This course will emphasize a hands-on, field- and lab-oriented approach to earth and environmental science in which students will learn to observe, pose questions, build hypotheses, and develop answers. We will explore the history of our planet, and earth-shaping processes such as continental drift, glaciations, and river erosion. By learning how our planet evolves, we can then evaluate the current state of Earth and solutions to environmental ills. Keywords:Earth, geology

  • Humans are recent tenants on an ancient Earth. Understanding Earth's remarkable history is enlightening yet humbling. Earth's history provides a critical lens for evaluating the environmental processes occurring in our modern world. In this course, we will travel through time to study the evolution of Earth from its fiery beginning over 4.5 billion years ago to the present day. We will explore the physical and biological evolution of Earth and gain an appreciation for Earth as a series of complex systems that interact dynamically and holistically. We will also learn how geologists reconstruct Earth history as well as predict the future. This course will be valuable for anyone who is curious about geology, life, and evolution and is concerned about the future of Earth and its tenants. Keywords:Geology, Environmental science, evolution, sustainability

  • In this Supported Project seminar, which is part of the Climate Action (CA) series of learning opportunities, students will take on projects to advance Hampshire College's new Climate Action Plan. This course provides a structured, collaborative environment for students to pursue projects alone or as part of a project team. Students will design, refine, and implement projects to further Hampshire's climate action strategies and goals, such as improving composting, increasing energy use awareness, or designing educational programming. Through this process, students will develop the skills to complete an action-oriented independent project in preparation for Division III. Skills include writing an effective project plan, clear and compelling communication, engaging in constructive feedback, and working ethically in community context. Completion of this course fulfills the Div II Supported Project Requirement. There are no prerequisites, but registered students will be expected to submit a brief project interest form by December 15th Keywords:Climate action, sustainability, entrepreneurship, project, environment This course could be used to fulfill the Division II Project requirement.

  • What is the nature of environmental impacts at Hampshire? And how do these fit into the larger frameworks of the climate action movement, and societal structures? In this course, students will develop an understanding of systems thinking, the basics of environmental impacts and climate science, and an overview of the structures in play in the climate mitigation field. Students will conduct case studies of other Climate Action Plans, visit other institutions to see some strategies in person, and talk with Hampshire staff and faculty to better understand our own campus infrastructure.

  • What are the ingredients of effective climate action in institutions? What kinds of communication are most effective in creating lasting change? This is a crash course in creating impactful and equitable institutional change, featuring discussions of equity in impact and understanding the relationship between policies and community behavior/values. Students will examine case studies of climate movements and policies to deepen their understanding of how (and how not ) create meaningful climate action.

  • How do we design effective, representative, and equitable community processes in pursuit of developing climate action goals? What methods are the best fir for our community, and what are their limitations? In this course, students will plan and implement a community input process for a new Climate Action Plan; this includes designing and facilitating workshops/listening sessions, creating outreach materials, engaging with college administration. Students will practice facilitation, and will learn how to evaluate and manage power dynamics, access, and solicitation of feedback.

  • A good strategic plan relies on effective, inspiring, and informed communication of policies and values. In this course, students will collaboratively draft a new Climate Action Plan for Hampshire College, with work in graphic design, writing, and data visualization. Students will also develop final presentations to share the process and outcomes with the greater campus community.

  • The Climate Action Semester Unbound is a deep dive into sustainable changemaking. Led by faculty and staff instructors, students will develop and draft a new Climate Action Plan for Hampshire College. The semester will include: an intro to climate change science, policy, and systems; a crash course in creating effective and equitable institutional change; designing and facilitating a community process; and writing, designing, and presenting the Climate Action Plan. This Semester Unbound will help students grow project and community engagement skills as they develop a community input process and draft iterative versions of the CAP. Students will also engage directly with issues of power, race, and inequity as they work to imagine a future that benefits all members of our community and the natural environment. Guest instructors, staff collaborators, field trips, and working with off-campus partners will take this semester out of the classroom and into the community. Apply: 22Q/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=113745675262607497444&rtpof=true&sd=tru e

  • How should we act on our responsibilities in the face of the changing climate? The dire impacts of current and future climate change are well known. The good news is that the actions we must take to limit the worst case scenarios are clear: we must stop burning fossil fuels, greatly ramp up renewable energy supplies, and preserve Earth's ecosystems. Students in this course will learn about global, national, state, and local level actions that are addressing these imperatives to tackle climate change. We will search worldwide for the best policies, incentives, and actions. Applying a "think globally, act locally" mindset, we will focus on the solutions and actions that can be implemented in our local communities. Keywords:Climate change, Environmental science, Environmental policy, Sustainability