Environment, Nature & Society A

Year One, Semester One

Course Code: GY1018

Environmentalists are often accused of being unrealistic and demanding the impossible. Yet we ask ourselves the question ‘what kind of world would we like?’ too little. If we considered it a little more we might be taking bigger steps towards curbing our environmental impact and seeking environmental justice. Environmental issues affect all places and societies the urban and the rural, the rich and the poor nobody is unaffected. The environment matters and our impact upon it is obvious, from the air that we breathe to the energy that we use. Despite this we are faced with a wide array of environmental problems from global climate change to river pollution, from water supply issues to genetic crop modification. To understand why this is, in this module we explore: how we value the environment and the different philosophical approaches to environmental issues; the complexity of scale of environmental issues; different strategies for action; what a focus on ‘the environment’ ignores; and finally what positive steps we should take. The module investigates key environmental challenges that people face today, including climate change and atmospheric pollution, biodiversity loss, water resource management, ocean changes, land degradation and land management. These will be tackled by looking at their physical basis, human impacts and management strategies.

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