"REIMAGINE. RECREATE. RESTORE.
This is our moment.
We cannot turn back time. But we can grow trees, green our cities, rewild our gardens, change our diets and clean up rivers and coasts. We are the generation that can make peace with nature.
Let’s get active, not anxious. Let’s be bold, not timid.
Saturday 5th June is World Environment Day. The ecosystem restoration theme calls for urgent action to revive our damaged ecosystems. You'll find we have plenty of FREE resources on ecosystems and the environment here on OpenLearn, so we've pulled together our best courses and content for you to explore.
If we don't grasp why ecosystems function, it becomes harder to determine possible reasons for when they don't, and makes it difficult to identify possible environmental threats to humans. In this free course, Introduction to ecosystems, you will discover how organisms are linked together by complex interrelationships, how such links are studied and how the physical properties of a particular habitat interact with the organisms that inhabit it. Using case studies, you will come to learn how knowledge of ecosystems leads to understanding of their individual importance, and how they can be preserved.Learn more ❯Introduction to ecosystems
‘You are what you eat’, goes the old adage, but what you eat also has an impact on the environment. Transcript This free course, Eating for the environment, will explore the links between food, nutrition and environmental sustainability. It will start by exploring the diversity on your dinner plate and encourage you to reflect on it in relation to dietary choices and preferences of people around the world. It will explore the connections between food, culture and traditions, and the challenges in providing healthy and nutritious food to the world’s growing population. The course will examine innovative approaches to food that also help environmental sustainability.Learn more ❯Eating for the environment
What is ecology and why is it important to our understanding of the world around us? This free course, Introducing the environment: Ecology and ecosystems, looks at how we can study ecosystems to explore the effect that humans are having on the environment.Learn more ❯Introducing the environment: Ecology and ecosystems
Environment: treading lightly on the Earth focuses on the problem of greenhouse gas emissions, especially carbon dioxide. This free course will give you an understanding of the nature and importance of carbon footprints of individuals and households. It will enable you to measure your own carbon footprint and explore what you could do to reduce that footprint and so ‘tread more lightly on the Earth’.Learn more ❯Environment: treading lightly on the Earth
This course explores the role of fire as a natural disturbance in ecosystems. It introduces the concept of a fire regime and its influence on the type and distribution of organisms that occur in fire prone ecosystems. It also looks at some of the adaptations of plants that have evolved in these ecosystems and how animals either avoid or exploit the consequences of fire as a natural disturbance. Finally it examines how fire can increase biodiversity by generating a mosaic of habitats within an ecosystem and briefly addresses some of the consequences of climate change and global warming on the intensity and frequency of fires.Learn more ❯Fire ecology
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.Learn more ❯Neighbourhood nature
How can appreciating multiple benefits from nature help us to take care of it? What can you do to help?Read now ❯Valuing Nature, assessing its benefits and why we need to care
Ever wondered what our research students from the school of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences do? Some of them work while being outdoors and some in the labs. Check out these explainers of their projects...Read now ❯Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences: PhD Projects 101
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.Learn more ❯Waste management and environmentalism in China
Water is arguably the most important physical resource as it is the one that is essential to human survival. Understanding the global water cycle and how we use water is essential to planning a sustainable source of water for the future. In the UK there are areas where water supplies are limited, shown by recent droughts. Globally, there are many areas that do not have enough water to support the current population adequately. Decisions will have to be made on the best way to use water in a world where there is climate change. This free course, Global water resources, examines the options.Learn more ❯Global water resources
Professor Wangari Maathai was an environmentalist and the first female African Nobel Peace Prize winner. Yoseph Araya explores her contribution to the environment and what that meant to be a woman in this field of work.Read now ❯Wangari Maathai: standing up for women and the environment