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Online course

Environmental Justice

Understand how environmental change affects people, and how we can work together for justice in environmental management.


  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate


  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Statement of Participation when you complete over half the course

Find out more

Environmental Justice

Why join the course?

The world faces challenging environmental problems. They are challenging because different people typically contribute differently to environmental change, and because its effects will be felt differently by different people in different places.

Understand environmental injustices

This free online course will help you understand how injustice is a common feature of many environmental problems. Over 10 weeks, we’ll look at deforestation, biodiversity loss, climate change and other environmental issues, asking questions such as:

● Can we manage tropical forests to increase timber revenues and carbon stocks, while ensuring that the people who live in them can fulfil their own subsistence needs and vision of a healthy ecosystem?

● How can protected areas strike the right balance between contemporary global interests in species conservation, local interests, the needs of future generations and rights of nature?

We’ll show that sustainable environmental management requires attention to justice - that we need to strike the right balance between the needs, interests, rights and aspirations of various stakeholders today, and those of both nature and future generations.

Learn with UEA’s Global Environmental Justice Group

You’ll learn with the University of East Anglia’s Global Environmental Justice Group - an interdisciplinary mix of scholars interested in the links between social justice and environmental change.

Through a series of films shot in Africa, Asia and Latin America, you’ll meet environmental activists and find out how justice can be a powerful motivator for environmental action.

You’ll share your own experiences with other learners around the world, thinking about how you can put academic theory into practice, through course discussions, quizzes and assignments.

The course will give you a taste of UEA’s MSc in Climate Change and International Development and MSc in Environment and International Development.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] [SINGING] The world today faces challenging environmental problems due to the planetary scale and because they're experienced by people differently. For example, think about climate change. Climate change will involve unprecedented environmental changes of a planetary scale, yet we also know that there will be significant regional variation in climatic changes. We know that the different regions of the world, Global North and Global South, have contributed differently to climate change. And we know the effects of climate change will be felt differently by different people and places. This course helps you to understand how injustice is a common feature of many environmental problems because the problems are experienced differently by people. For example, water.

Skip to 0 minutes and 56 seconds Putting a price on water may help some to maximise shareholder values and financial returns, where others are threatened in their daily livelihoods. Or consider forests. The management of tropical forests for the maximisation of timber revenues or carbon stocks puts at risk attempts by people living in and around forests to meet their own subsistence needs or manage forests according to their own visions of a healthy forest ecosystem. The course shows that sustainable environmental management requires attention to justice. We need to strike the right balance between the interests of the contemporary generation, the needs of future generations, and the rights of nature.

Skip to 1 minute and 40 seconds Environmental solutions have to be just for moral reasons, but environmental solutions also have to be just because justice provides such a powerful motivation for sustainable environmental management. And as part of this course, we will show you a series of films with environmental activists that provides vivid testimony to the power of justice as a motivation for environmental action. This course builds on the work that I, Thomas Sikor, and my colleagues in the Global Environment Justice group of the University of East Anglia have conducted over the past few years, including biodiversity conservation, forestry, water management, climate change, health, and disaster management.

Skip to 2 minutes and 21 seconds In collaboration with partners from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, we try to understand the causes of environmental problems and actively contribute to solving them in cooperation with practitioners, professionals, and activists.

Skip to 2 minutes and 37 secondsThis course is for you if you work on environmental problems or care about environmental issues. It is for all environmentalists, whether you live in the UK or other parts of the world. You will become familiar with key concepts of environmental justice. We will illustrate these key concepts through films from Asia and Africa. We expect you to contribute actively to this course in the form of quizzes, commentaries, and assignments. It's the power of this course that it combines the transfer of new theoretical knowledge by us with its application to particular problems by you. And it's up to you to make the best of the course.

Skip to 3 minutes and 16 seconds Thus by the end of this course, we hope that you've developed an interest in environmental justice and know how to pursue further learning on the injustices driving environmental problems and on practical approaches to enhancing justice for a sustainable future.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for people who are already working on environmental problems or are familiar with environmental issues. It seeks to address environmentalists around the world although a background on international development will be useful.

Who will you learn with?

Thomas Sikor

Professor of Environment and Development at the University of East Anglia, UK

Who developed the course?

The University of East Anglia is an internationally renowned university providing top quality academic, social and cultural facilities to over 15,000 students from over 100 countries around the globe.

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate

You can buy a Statement of Participation for this course — a personalised certificate in both digital and printed formats, to celebrate taking part.

£34.00 + shipping

Estimate prices in preferred currency

Charges to your account will be made in GBP. Prices in local currency are provided as a convenience and are only an estimate based on current exchange rates.