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Nature & Environment

Nature & Environment

Explore our shared home and get to know the species you're sharing it with.

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Can renewable energy sources power the world? free course icon Level 1 icon Badge icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Can renewable energy sources power the world?

We ask the question ‘Can renewable energy sources power the world?’ as a response to the growing awareness that increased use of renewable energy technologies is making a major contribution to global efforts to limit anthropogenic climate change. The course begins by examining the environmental concerns that have caused a rise in interest in renewable energy, introducing the main sources and technologies, and describing global efforts to increase the share of renewables. The course then looks at each of the principal renewable energy technologies and the contributions they might make to global energy demand. Finally, several future energy scenarios are analysed to show how combinations of renewable energy sources and technologies could provide a major share of global energy needs.

Free course
24 hrs
Aquatic mammals free course icon Level 1 icon

Nature & Environment 

Aquatic mammals

Mammals come in a bewildering variety of shapes and sizes and yet all of the 4700 or so species have some characteristics in common, which justifies the inclusion of diverse types within a single group. Although mammals evolved on land, a number of species have become adapted to spending part or all of their lives in water and it is these mammals that you are going to concentrate on in this course. You will meet some aquatic mammals, find out how we can study them, consider their evolutionary history and read about human impacts on one iconic group.

Free course
5 hrs
Aquatic mammals Ebook icon

Nature & Environment

Aquatic mammals

Mammals come in a bewildering variety of shapes and sizes and yet all of the 4700 or so species have some characteristics in common, which justifies the inclusion of diverse types within a single group. Although mammals evolved on land, a number of species have become adapted to spending part or all of their lives in water and it is these mammals that you are going to concentrate on in this course. You will meet some aquatic mammals, find out how we can study them, consider their evolutionary history and read about human impacts on one iconic group.

Ebook
eBook

Aquatic mammals

Download this eBook in any of these formats

Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission
Neighbourhood nature free course icon Level 1 icon

Nature & Environment 

Neighbourhood nature

There is a fascinating world of nature all around us which we can see if we know how to look for it. Wherever you live, be it in a city or the countryside, you will find areas that support a range of wildlife. This free course, Neighbourhood nature, will provide you with basic scientific and observational skills so that you can go into your local neighbourhood to discover the animals and plants in open spaces. You will learn how to observe, identify and record the wildlife around you, building up a picture of a small part of your local environment.

Free course
1 hr
Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission
Neighbourhood nature Ebook icon

Nature & Environment

Neighbourhood nature

There is a fascinating world of nature all around us which we can see if we know how to look for it. Wherever you live, be it in a city or the countryside, you will find areas that support a range of wildlife. This free course, Neighbourhood nature, will provide you with basic scientific and observational skills so that you can go into your local neighbourhood to discover the animals and plants in open spaces. You will learn how to observe, identify and record the wildlife around you, building up a picture of a small part of your local environment.

Ebook
eBook

Neighbourhood nature

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Creative commons image Icon The Open University under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license
Dr Julia Cooke on being an academic consultant on 'Earth From Space'. video icon

Nature & Environment 

Dr Julia Cooke on being an academic consultant on 'Earth From Space'.

In these short videos Dr Julia Cooke discusses being an academic consultant on the groundbreaking OU/BBC series, Earth From Space.

Video
5 mins
Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Mark Brandon
Satellite observations reveal a dynamic Arctic under a changing climate article icon

Nature & Environment 

Satellite observations reveal a dynamic Arctic under a changing climate

Earth is changing rapidly. Satellites play a crucial role in monitoring these changes. Dr. Kadmiel Maseyk explores what they have detected...

Article
Creative commons image Icon Biswarup Ganguly [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)] under Creative-Commons license
Indian summer monsoon amplified global warming 130,000 years ago, helping end ice age article icon

Nature & Environment 

Indian summer monsoon amplified global warming 130,000 years ago, helping end ice age

The Indian summer monsoon contributes to methane emissions, thus impacting the climate. Was it this that ended the ice age thousands of years ago?

Article
Creative commons image Icon w:user:PlaneMad [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)] under Creative-Commons license
What is a Monsoon and what is its role on regulating global climate in the past? article icon

Nature & Environment 

What is a Monsoon and what is its role on regulating global climate in the past?

How can we predict the Indian Summer Monsoon rainfall in relation to conditions such as climate change? Dr Pallavi Anand explores...

Article
Waste management and environmentalism in China free course icon Level 1 icon

Nature & Environment 

Waste management and environmentalism in China

This free course, Waste management and environmentalism in China, is an introduction to waste generation and waste management processes currently being practiced in China. This course explores how the Chinese can deal with increasing volumes of waste, drawing parallels with the UK experience of waste management. It also discusses the conceptual tools that can be used to make the cycle of material use, waste production and treatment more sustainable. The course ends with a brief examination of the growth of environmentalism in China.

Free course
8 hrs
Waste management and environmentalism in China Ebook icon

Nature & Environment

Waste management and environmentalism in China

This free course, Waste management and environmentalism in China, is an introduction to waste generation and waste management processes currently being practiced in China. This course explores how the Chinese can deal with increasing volumes of waste, drawing parallels with the UK experience of waste management. It also discusses the conceptual tools that can be used to make the cycle of material use, waste production and treatment more sustainable. The course ends with a brief examination of the growth of environmentalism in China.

Ebook
eBook

Waste management and environmentalism in China

Download this eBook in any of these formats

Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission
The oceans free course icon Level 2 icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

The oceans

The oceans cover more than 70 per cent of our planet. In this free course, The oceans, you will learn about the depths of the oceans and the properties of the water that fills them, what drives the ocean circulation and how the oceans influence our climate.

Free course
15 hrs
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