earth, land ground

Exploring past, present, and future extinctions through the lens of sustainability

Director: Dr. Sarah Breckenridge Wright, English

This slide show explains the faculty team's plans for TERRA for 2020-21:


All three classes in the TERRA Learning Community will integrate readings on extinction/apocalypse, demonstrating to students how one topic can be explored through literary, sociological, and rhetorical lenses.

Fall 2021

ENGL 201C Confronting the Eco-Apocalypse (TR 12:15pm) Sarah Wright (English)

Imagine the streets of NYC transformed into canals... a sea of dunes stretching across the American West... a world where bio-terrorism is a tool for corporate profit. This class will explore these worlds and more in dystopian novels and films including Disney's Wall-E, Kim Stanley Robinson's New York 2140, and Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl. As we explore these hypothetical futures, we will consider how they comment on current environmental, social, and economic choices, and how they imagine future individuals and societies contending with apocalyptic floods, draughts, and genetically-modified organisms. We will also partner with GTECH (gtechstrategies.org) to learn about the steps Pittsburgh is taking toward a more sustainable future, and to help the city take those steps in neighboring communities including the Hill District and Uptown.

HIST 141C Environmental History (TR 10:50am) Andrew Simpson (History)

Offered as part of the Terra Learning Community, Environmental History will provide the historical background necessary to understand the contours of the relationship between humans and the environment since the Industrial Revolution. It will have a specific focus on technology as a force for creating environmental change, and the role of human behavior for creating global sustainability for future.


Terra students will build civic values and empathy, intercultural awareness, an appreciation for diversity, and knowledge of our community's needs by working alongside Uptown and Hill District residents at green spaces cultivated by GTECH and the Hill House Association..