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‘Land grab’: an environmental issue?
‘Land grab’: an environmental issue?

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'Land grab': an environmental issue?


The issue of wealthy investors taking control over land farmed by poor farmers clearly has political and economic implications. It is also an issue of justice. It is, perhaps, less obvious how it is an environmental issue. But, as you will discover, some of the main forces driving up farmland prices are tied to environmental challenges such as climate change, food insecurity, water shortages and the wish to diversify energy sources away from fossil fuels to biofuels.

Land acquisition, or ‘land grab’ as it is often called, offers important lessons about the way that environmental problems are entangled with economic and political issues at an increasingly global scale. The issue illustrates how everyday issues such as food prices are caught up in complex connections that link different places, different people and their livelihoods across the globe.

This free course, ‘Land grab’: an environmental issue?, aims firstly to explore the ways in which land acquisition, or ‘land grab’ should be understood as environmental issues. Secondly, the readings, films and activities will help you to evaluate the land acquisition/land grab debate. More specifically, you will:

  1. explore the relationship between land acquisition, access to food and broader processes in the global economy
  2. consider the relationship between economic uncertainty and environmental change
  3. examine how social groups may respond to environmental change and uncertainty
  4. appreciate how analytical concepts can be useful in making sense of the complexity of environmental issues; in this case the issues of right to land and food prices.

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course DST206 Environment: sharing a dynamic planet [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .