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Anthropocene: The Planet of Man



Being the first course in the minor SCB, it serves as an introduction into the topic of sustainability in general and the chemical and biotechnological aspects of it in particular. The following topics will be discussed: Element cycles, Energy, Circular production and use of materials, and Climate change. Course material consists of slides and literature of guest lectures, videos and online sources. The course aims to convey the many ways we are influencing the planet and the urgency and possiblities to address the non-sustainable nature of our actions.


This course is available only for students in the minor Sustainable Chemistry and Biotechnology.

Course Objectives

At the end of the course students:

  • are aware of the many different ways mankind affects the living and non-living environment

  • can critically discuss the effects of mankind on the climate, biodiversity, land use atmosphere and the oceans, in terms of element cycles and show insight in the quantitative aspects

  • can describe and discuss the transitions required to reach a sustainable interaction between mankind and the planet, in relation to varying socio-economic status of peoples

  • can convey views on sustainability in a convincing way



Mode of instruction

Guest lectures and group work. The students will work in small groups to better understand specific sustainability issues and the directions in which solutions need to be found. The results will be presented to and discussed with the other student groups. Students will be trained in presentation skills using a digital skills platform.

Assessment Methode

The four topics mentioned under ‘Description’ will each be concluded with a group presentation used for assessment. Presentations 1-4 will have weight 0%, 20%, 30% and 50% with a group level grade. Peer review of the group work is used by the teachers to adjust the final individual grade by at most minus or plus 1 point out of 10.

Reading List

To be announced.


Enrollment through uSis is mandatory

Information and Contact

Dennis Hetterscheid