Recognising how we as humans impact the natural world is key to ensuring its survival. This free online course will bring together social and natural sciences, in order to discuss the approaches to how we tackle some of the key environmental challenges affecting our world today.

Over three weeks the courseEnvironmental Management: Social-ecological Systems, will explore social, environmental and economic systems and how they come together to influence the way that people interact with and relate to their environment.

Structured in three parts, each week will introduce three basic principles which will then be applied to case studies. The end of the week will include a debate with experts where the principles will be applied to a topical issue.

Using videos, podcasts and case studies from around the world, the course will focus on three areas:

1, Language of nature

The first week will explore how people regard the natural environment, focusing on how nature is perceived by different types of societies and the impact of property rights on natural resource management. It will also include a case study looking at the history of different types of ownership in Tanzanian forests.

2, Mathematics of nature

Discover the mathematics of nature by examining examples of complexity, causality and diversity, and change in social-economic systems. You will explore population growth and uneven consumption of natural resources.

3, Environment and conflict

Understand the relationship between human conflict and the natural world; what impact does war have on both humans and the environment, and what is the relationship between the two? Scarcity and conflict is explored through the California water shortage and the case study looks at the environment as a weapon of war.

The course is aimed at those with an interest in environmental management and natural resource management, and will begin on Monday 8th February. Sign up to take part by visiting the Future Learn website.

Photograph: Jeff Arsenault 

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