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May 16

3 Free Online Courses With Green Themes

More and more highly reputable colleges offer free online courses for curious would-be students in all academic disciplines, not the least of which are in topics relevant to green and environmental topics. These online courses will give you a formal education on subjects that most people only have a passing knowledge about, including studies on ecology, animal behaviors, human influence on the environment, and so forth. These courses offer in-depth explanations of complex processes and ideas as explained in layman’s terms by some of the most prominent experts in their academic areas. And did I mention that these open courses are free? Yeah, I did, but it’s a fact that bears repeating.

Of the many courses available online in the field of green/environmental studies, here are three free options from some of the top universities in the nation.

Principles of Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior

This course is taught by Professor Stephen C. Stearns at Yale College in the Spring semester of 2009. In this free online offering, you can stream video lectures and download notes about subjects including genetics, evolution, and climate. The venerable professor Stearns has a great handle on the subject material, offering easily understandable lectures on the densest topics pertaining to biology and nature in general. This course would be hugely helpful for someone who wants to learn the basics of biology across a wide spectrum of general topics. The course comes complete with copies of the exam offered in the course, so you get the full effect of experiencing the class as a college student. Try it out: it’s a Yale course, so you know it’s high quality!

The Environment of the Earth’s Surface

The next course comes from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and it involves an in depth look at the geographic structures, processes, and overall changes that affect the Earth. Taught by Professor John Southard, this undergraduate course can best be described as an entry level geology course on overdrive. Among other things, you’ll learn about the way that glaciers form in the ocean; you’ll be taught some little known facts about the Earth’s water supply; you’ll get a real grasp at the human impact on the geography of this fragile planet. The course material may seem a bit daunting, but it’ll prove a satisfying learning experience for people interested in how to preserve the Earth’s ecosystems.

Obesity Economics

The final course I’ve chosen comes from the Johns Hopkins School Bloomberg of Public Health and it discusses the problems of obesity that plague the US. I feel like this course has particular resonance with certain green initiatives, as there has been a real push to embrace greener food products (locally grown, organic produce and meat, etc.). This course, taught by Instructor Kevin Frick, addresses the complexities of obesity in this country head on. Among other issues addressed in the class, Mr. Frick discusses the health risks of obesity; the difficulties facing the average consumer who wants to avoid unhealthy foods; and the government role in curbing the rise in obese people. It’s a rewarding course that offers keen insight into a topic that’s rarely discussed with such substance. This is the perfect course for someone interested in nutrition, food science, or green dieting.

About the Author:
This guest contribution was submitted by Samantha Gray, who specializes in writing about bachelor degree online. Questions and comments can be sent to:


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  1. Jim Funi Man

    It is great that these online courses are now also using green themes!

  2. ankammarao

    These are quality lectures every one appreciate. There are 1000+ free courses at


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