Why use an Earth system science approach in the classroom?
Earth system science offers compelling and relevant examples of the application of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the world around us, a course of study that students can relate to as part of their lives. Weather, climate and natural hazards, all controlled by the Earth system, play key roles in everyone's day to day life. ESS provides an excellent opportunity to consider broad interrelationships among disciplines, and between the natural and social sciences, humanities and the arts.
Earth system science offers natural avenues for combining research and education, and promotes inquiry into the complex world around us. The broad perspective that Earth system science offers promotes an inclusive approach to student interest - there is something for everyone, especially in general and non-major courses.
Earth imagery collected by orbiting spacecraft or the astronauts can often be used to explain the context and extent of Earth processes and phenomena, disciplinary and interdisciplinary. The view from space reveals the San Andreas and Garlock fault system, or the stark contrasts in vegetation based on land use related to demographics, or the complexities of air/water interaction around the Hawaiian Islands. No part of the Earth's surface is hidden, offering limitless opportunity for questions that may lead the student to seek deeper understanding.
For more information, see the report "Why Use an Earth System Science Approach to Education" within Shaping the Future of Undergraduate Earth Science Education