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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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Grid List Results: 94 items
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Why are nonhuman animals victims of harm? free course icon Level

Society, Politics & Law 

Why are nonhuman animals victims of harm?

In this free course, Why are nonhuman animals victims of harm? you will investigate why nonhuman animals tend to be overlooked as victims of violence. The course explores some of the social processes and structures that victimise other animals, such as ‘livestock’ farming. The course also highlights some of the environmental harms related to ‘livestock’ farming. You will learn about how harms are perpetuated by language and imagery, as well as how language and imagery can be used to oppose and resist harms against nonhuman animals. This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course DD311 Crime, harm and the state Content warning Study in the social sciences – and criminology in particular – inevitably touches on sensitive and emotive topics that may be difficult and upsetting. This course explores harms against nonhuman animals that you may find difficult to work with, including images of nonhuman animals in confinement.

Free course
2 hrs
Fire ecology free course icon Level

Science, Maths & Technology 

Fire ecology

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.

Free course
4 hrs
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Microbes – friend or foe? free course icon Level

Nature & Environment 

Microbes – friend or foe?

Microbes often get a bad name. Whilst some of them do cause disease, others play vital roles in recycling nutrients in the soil to enable plants to grow, and in breaking down human waste. Without microbes, we would have no beer, no yoghurt, no coffee. That's quite impressive for something too small to see. This free course, Microbes friend or foe? sheds some light on them.

Free course
2 hrs
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Eating for the environment free course icon Level

Nature & Environment 

Eating for the environment

‘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.      

Free course
8 hrs
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Animals at the extremes: Polar biology free course icon Level

Nature & Environment 

Animals at the extremes: Polar biology

The extreme challenges of life in the polar regions require the animals who make their habitat there to make many adaptations. This free course, Animals at the extremes: Polar biology, explores the polar climate and how animals like reindeer, polar bears, penguins, sea life and even humans manage to survive there. It looks at the adaptations to physiological proceses, the environmental effects on diet, activity and fecundity, and contrasts the strategies of aquatic and land-based animals in surviving in this extreme habitat.

Free course
14 hrs
Introducing mammals free course icon Level

Nature & Environment 

Introducing mammals

Mammals come in a bewildering variety of shapes and sizes, and yet all species have some characteristics in common. These similarities justify the inclusion of all such diverse types within the single taxonomic group (or class) called the Mammalia. This free course, Introducing mammals, offers a starting point for the study of mammals. It will establish their rich diversity, while highlighting the common features that define the group.  

Free course
5 hrs
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Introducing the environment: Ecology and ecosystems free course icon Level

Nature & Environment 

Introducing the environment: Ecology and ecosystems

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.

Free course
5 hrs
Aquatic mammals free course icon Level

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
Can renewable energy sources power the world? free course icon Level 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
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Understanding the environment: Flows and feedback free course icon Level

Nature & Environment 

Understanding the environment: Flows and feedback

There is increasing recognition that the reductionist mindset that is currently dominating society, rooted in unlimited economic growth unperceptive to its social and environmental impact, cannot resolve the converging environmental, social and economic crises we now face. The primary aim of this free course, Understanding the environment: Flows and feedback, is to encourage the shift away from reductionist and human centred thinking towards a holistic and ecological worldview.This is the fourth course in the 'Understanding the environment' series. For more information, see the introductory session here.

Free course
12 hrs
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Understanding the environment: Complexity and chaos free course icon Level

Nature & Environment 

Understanding the environment: Complexity and chaos

There is increasing recognition that the reductionist mindset that is currently dominating society, rooted in unlimited economic growth unperceptive to its social and environmental impact, cannot resolve the converging environmental, social and economic crises we now face. The primary aim of this free course, Understanding the environment: Complexity and chaos, is to encourage the shift away from reductionist and human centred thinking towards a holistic and ecological worldview.This is the fifth course in the 'Understanding the environment' series. For more information, see the introductory session here.

Free course
12 hrs
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Understanding the environment: Co-evolution free course icon Level

Nature & Environment 

Understanding the environment: Co-evolution

There is increasing recognition that the reductionist mindset that is currently dominating society, rooted in unlimited economic growth unperceptive to its social and environmental impact, cannot resolve the converging environmental, social and economic crises we now face. The primary aim of this free course, Understanding the environment: Co-evolution, is to encourage the shift away from reductionist and human centred thinking towards a holistic and ecological worldview.This is the sixth and final course in the 'Understanding the environment' series. For more information, see the introductory session here.

Free course
12 hrs
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