Planet Earth: Understanding and Protecting our Environment
Discover the Earth’s natural systems and how human activity affects them
On this two-week course from the University of Leeds, you will discover the processes of the hydrosphere, the geosphere, and the biosphere and explore the impact of human activity and climate change on our planet.
Discover the hydrosphere and the impact of human activity on the water cycle
You’ll start by looking at the water cycle and the ways in which human activity and climate change affect it. You’ll learn how Leeds scientists monitor the quality of water and how this influences aquatic life and agriculture.
Then, you’ll explore the cryosphere, discover the role of ice in regulating the Earth’s climate, and the impact of glacier recession.
Understand the biosphere and explore how ecosystems are affected by a changing environment
The study of the biosphere is that of ecosystems. You’ll take a closer look at how human activity is changing the biosphere by exploring the ecosystems of tropical forests, their contribution to nature, and how this is affected by climate change.
Explore the changing geosphere
You’ll learn how human activity in the form of coastal erosion, intensive agriculture, and mining for fossil fuels is affecting the geosphere. You’ll also explore the role of soil and learn how we can evaluate the impact of climate change by studying rocks and fossils.
Discover how scientists are addressing environmental problems
You’ll learn about natural flood management techniques and managing coastal erosion based on research by the University of Leeds.
You’ll then explore how invasive species are altering ecosystems, look at how scientists are monitoring their spread, and propose ways to restore the natural balance. You’ll also find out how scientists are monitoring the effects of climate change and how they can inform effective land use management in future.
Week 1: The changing environment
- The changing hydrosphere
- The changing biosphere
- The changing geosphere
Week 2: Protecting and managing a changing environment
- Managing flood risk
- Biodiversity: Ecosystems out of balance
- Understanding the Earth’s systems
Learning on this course
On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...
- Explain the key process of the natural environment; the hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere, and interpret them as a series of interlinked systems
- Investigate the impact of human activity on natural environmental systems
- Compare a range of approaches to environmental protection and management
- Explore the academic and employment opportunities in physical geography and environmental science
Who is the course for?
This course is designed for anyone interested in understanding the earth system and exploring how to improve the relationship between humans and the environment.
It offers a great insight to studying for physical geography and environmental sciences as an undergraduate or fresher at university level.
The course is part of the Going to University collection. Completing this course can help improve your university application by broadening your understanding of geography and environmental studies, and by developing your independent learning skills.
The course can also be used by high school and college teachers to enhance classroom teaching or for independent learning.
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