Online course in Nature & Environment

Grand Challenges: Food for Thought

Where does our food come from and what impact does it have on our environment?

  • Duration 4 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $59 Find out more

Why join the course?

Our demand for food from natural systems is changing the world we live in from the soil beneath our feet to the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea. Unsustainable practices of production (overfishing or monoculture) and consumerism are to blame. Widely publicised examples include mere decades of soil fertility for crop growth and drastic declines in pollinating insects. This course aims to educate you in the way that every human being can reduce their impact on our planet and inspire you to make global connections to tackle sustainability issues.

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What topics will you cover?

  • The pillars of sustainability
  • Environmental impacts of food production
  • Exploitation of the sea
  • Case studies on the production of Bananas, Coffee and Palm Oil
  • Importance of pollinators

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Describe the term 'sustainability' in the context of food production
  • Explain the 'Pillars of Sustainability' model
  • Compare and contrast the sustainability of global coffee, palm oil and banana industries
  • Reflect on the importance of pollinators in relation to food production
  • Investigate the food available from your local area and contrast with your weekly shop

Who is the course for?

No previous experience or qualifications are required. The content will complement interests in science, nature and the environment and works well at any stage of education.

What software or tools do you need?

You will need access to an internet browser. You will also be encouraged, with our guidance, to use simple online tools to aid, collate, publish and share your findings.

Who will you learn with?

Christopher Laing

Christopher Laing

I'm a lecturer in the Biosciences department of the University of Exeter, Cornwall campus with a broad range of interests that centre around environmental health and marine life.

Who developed the course?

The University of Exeter is a Russell Group university. It combines world-class research with very high levels of student satisfaction.

The Eden Project, an educational charity and visitor destination in Cornwall, UK, connects us with each other and the living world.

Join this course

Start this course for free, upgrade for extra benefits, or buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year.

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  • Access to this course for 6 weeks

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  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
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  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep access to any course you've achieved a digital Certificate of Achievement on, for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year
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Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: