Environmental Challenges: Scarcity and Conflict in the Natural Environment
This course explores three basic principles when considering conflict in the natural environment:
- The economics of the coming spaceship Earth
- Scarcity and conflict
- The environment as a weapon of war
Human conflict has both short and long term effects on the natural world. The environment is directly impacted by pollution and explosions; and can be used as a weapon of war through scorched earth military action, poisoning and defoliation. In the longer term, sustainable environmental management is disrupted when conflict destabilises social systems and people are denied access to natural resources.
We will explore how we have utilised the environment of the planet to the point where there are fundamental changes to its biogeochemical cycles. For example: climate change from greenhouse gas emissions; acidification of oceans; and soil erosion. As resources become scarcer, it might be expected that people come into conflict about access to natural resources.
Intrigued? Then sign up for this short course to find out more.
Choose how you would like to learn
If you have a general interest in this topic, you can work through the activities in around three hours each week. You will have the opportunity to check your understanding and spend some time joining the discussions.
If you would like to know more about the topic, you can spend up to an extra two hours a week reading the additional materials and watching the videos provided in the ‘Downloads’ and ‘See also’ sections within some course steps. By doing this, you will have the required knowledge to attempt the end of course test.
If you have more time to study, you can also complete the optional revision activity and join a live Q&A session in the second week of the course – this will help you when you attempt the end of course test. You will need to allow a further two hours a week to cover the revision tasks.
No previous knowledge or experience is required, just an interest in environmental management and natural resource management.