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Environmental Studies: A Global Perspective

Learn the fundamentals of environmental studies as you explore global and local communities and determine solutions to environmental challenges.
This course is archived
Estimated 6 weeks
2–3 hours per week
Self-paced
Progress at your own speed
Free
Optional upgrade available

About this course

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This environmental studies course is intended to introduce you to some of the basic principles in environmental studies, and how those are manifested in urban, rural and natural areas throughout the world.

Through observation, discussion, and creation of digital content, you will explore and share environmental challenges facing your local environment and create a global learning and action community.

Rather than simply offering a long list of the problems we face, this course will take a solutions-focused approach.

At a glance

  • Language: English

What you'll learn

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After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • List and define fundamental terms and concepts in environmental studies
  • Describe the ways that human use of resources impacts the environment
  • Analyse and compare environmental issues in different parts of the world
  • Apply environmental studies principles to evaluate your community, and identify and recommend solutions to local challenges
  • Share stories and findings about your local (natural and built) environment

Module 1: Why study the environment – and what is Environmental Studies?

  • Introduction and overview
  • What is environmental studies? It’s not environmental science, nor is it sustainability. It IS a combination of arts, social science, and science (social, political, economic, health and ecological), and how these contribute to environmental issues and solutions.
  • Why study it? Because it brings together many different disciplines, environmental studies helps us tackle some of the world’s most important and complex problems, such as resource use, energy consumption and food security. Our species depends on it!

Module 2: Systems and Cycles

  • Planet formation/rock cycle
  • Climate and weather cycles
  • Biological cycles – population, dynamics and nutrients
  • Urban systems and cycles

Module 3: Resources and Energy

  • Biotic and geologic resources and biodiversity
  • Soil and water resources
  • Forms of energy
  • Use of energy

Module 4: People and Populations

  • Population basics
  • Populations over time and space
  • Populations of the Global South
  • Environmental Justice

Module 5: Present challenges

  • Challenges we face as a species - staying alive
  • Consequences of resource use (pollution, depletion, waste, degradation)

Module 6: Solutions and the future

  • Types of environmental problems
  • Solutions and actions
  • UNESCO and UN Sustainability Goals
  • Future (humans and the planet beyond 2050)

About the instructors

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