The course provides students with an opportunity to examine a range of issues of environmental importance. Our continuing reliance on fossil fuels, for example, is leading to a rise in greenhouse gases causing climate change. We look at the problems that this will generate, such as rising sea levels. The decline in food production, destruction of fish stocks and the rise in population numbers have already created the spectre of widespread food shortages. We will examine possible solutions. The consequences of degradation of habitats like the rain forests, and the acceleration in the loss of plant and animal species will also be considered, as will the necessity for waste reduction and re-use of valuable resources.
Students will consider and assess the ecological problems which are currently facing the world and threatening the survival of humanity. By the end of the course students will be better informed about the problems which will impact on their lives, and will have some grasp of the ways in which they can be tackled on both a personal and a national level. This is a dynamic subject, and as well as the topics listed below, specific attention will be given to topical environmental issues as they arise during the course.
- Man’s effect on the environment.
- Overpopulation and the consequent decline in food and water availability.
- Pollution due to poor waste management and modern farming methods.
- Habitat destruction, deforestation and loss of species.
- Use of fossil fuels and their effect on CO2 levels in the atmosphere.
- Peak oil: approaching the maximum rate of petroleum extraction. Climate change.
- Towards the future…..possible scenarios.
- What can we all do?
To gain a better awareness and understanding of a wide range of issues affecting the environment, and of the ways in which these issues may be addressed.
The weighting of the assessment is principally focused on the work done on written research papers and by an end of course test. These marks, combined with an assessment of student performance in class, make up the final grade for the course, as shown.
- 40% Research papers
- 40% Test
- 20% Class Participation
This class is normally delivered over one term, with 90 teaching hours or equivalent in Michaelmas term, and 60 teaching contact hours for Hilary and Trinity terms. For students requesting credit, we recommend the transfer of three college credits for Michaelmas and two college credits for Hilary and Trinity, on successful completion of the class and the final project.
|Appropriate, accurate and well-detailed knowledge of environmental|
|Distinction||issues. Excellent organisation and structure of arguments, displaying|
|Grade A||substantial evidence and awareness of recent developments.|
|Excellent communication skills.|
|Appropriate and detailed but slightly limited knowledge of|
|Credit||environmental issues. Arguments presented coherently, but these are|
|Grade B||not always fully supported. Oral and written skills good.|
|Limited environmental knowledge, but this is generally accurate.|
|Merit||Reasonable arguments constructed and some evidence of breadth or|
|Grade C||depth is displayed. Oral and communication skills satisfactory.|
|Pass||Description of issues is weak and understanding is muddled and|
|incomplete. Merely basic knowledge is displayed orally and in written|
|form. Weak communication skills.|
|Fail||Failure to reach a minimum standard of communication, content and|
The list below is for guidance and to supply some ideas for preliminary reading. We recommend that you do not purchase the books on this list before arrival and certainly not all of them; most should be available from a good library. Your tutor will recommend the most appropriate books for purchase at the first class of term.
Rachel Carson Silent Spring
George Monbiot Heat: How We Can Stop The Planet Burning
Deborah Cadbury The Feminization of Nature