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This content is taken from the University of York's online course, Tackling Environmental Challenges for a Sustainable Future. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds Welcome to Week 3, where we will learn about how the environment and human development interact. In the first part of this week, we will discover what we mean by development and where development happens. Going back in time we will look at how development has happened in the past, before coming right back to the present to introduce the Sustainable Development Goals. These are the 17 Goals developed internationally through the United Nations, which are today’s targets and pathways to achieving a just and sustainable society for all. Then we will look at some specific environment and development challenges, and how the sustainable development goals aim to address them.

Skip to 0 minutes and 38 seconds Firstly we will have a quick look at the impact of rising levels of carbon dioxide on the environment, which results from industrialisation. Industrialisation is the most commonly considered pathway to achieving development, but rising carbon dioxide levels are leading to increased flooding, wildfires, storms and sea level rise, to name but a few environmental impacts. We will then look at alternative pathways to development without such high climate costs. Next we move onto development and the oceans, looking at an example from Indonesia. Here we discuss why the oceans are important to people, and what impact pollution in the seas has on the livelihoods of fishermen, as well as marine ecosystems.

Skip to 1 minute and 15 seconds After Indonesia we travel to Tanzania, and see how and why local energy sources are important for both rural and urban communities, but how unsustainable use can limit development. We will see how over-extraction can affect other ecosystem services that people depend on, as well as causing environmental problems such as biodiversity loss. We will look at some solutions for energy provision in rural communities, and the barriers and opportunities to adopting new technologies. Finally we will look at biodiversity, and why we are currently in the sixth mass extinction event. We will look at what this means, and what impact this has on development in the present and the future.

Skip to 1 minute and 51 seconds We will see how land use change affects biodiversity, and how this effects species ability to migrate in response to both longer term pressures such as climate change, but also to short term hazards such as fire. We will consider what can be done to protect biodiversity, and how changes to the way we develop can improve it. At the end of the week you will have a greater understanding of the way that the environment and people interact, and have the knowledge you need to undertake the final part of the course on energy and the environment.

Welcome to Week 3

In this video, Dr Eleanor Jew introduces the subject for the third week of our MOOC, the environment and development.

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This video is from the free online course:

Tackling Environmental Challenges for a Sustainable Future

University of York