GY3068 Society and the environment
Environmental systems and society: Analysis of the varied two-way interactions between human societies and natural environmental systems. Changing perceptions of environment. Population growth, technology change, energy use and environmental impacts. The role of market defects in creating resource scarcity and environmental problems. The Gaia hypothesis. Ecocentric and technocentric attitudes. Environmental ethics. Nature as a social construct. 'Wilderness' concepts. Concept of environmental sociology.
Environmental pollution: The nature, causes and consequences of environmental pollution. The main types of pollution by medium - biosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, including a consideration of pesticides, sewerage, nitrates and phosphates, urban smog, marine pollution, nitrogen and sulphur emissions and acidification; transboundary pollution.
Environmental hazards: The nature, significance and trends of natural hazard impacts, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and floods. Risk and vulnerability. The variety of strategies that can be adopted to minimise hazards; poverty and disasters; risk transference.
Global environmental change: Global environmental change, including the enhanced 'greenhouse effect', stratospheric ozone depletion, desertification, soil resource depletion, fuelwood shortages and the depletion of tropical and other natural forests.
Causes of and solutions to environmental concerns: The underlying causes of environmental problems, and the proposed solutions. The assessment methods used to evaluate environmental damage caused by development, and the benefits
of control and conservation (environmental impact assessment and benefit-cost analysis). Economic instruments in environmental regulation (emissions trading, green taxation). International agreements. Conclusions.