Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 20 Hours.


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Examination 60% Multiple choice, computer marked 40% Essay (1 question from 4)  100%
Supplementary Exam As above  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

* Describe and exemplify the ways in which human activities impact on the natural environment

* Identify and exemplify a range of natural hazards which affect modern society

* Assess the consequences of anthropogenic disturbance of the natural environment

* Evaluate the vulnerability of different societies to environmental hazards at a global scale

Brief description

This module provides an introduction to the key environmental issues affecting today's society. The impact of human activity on atmospheric, terrestrial and hydrological systems will be examined. The influence of both natural and anthropogenically induced environmental change on society will also be explored. The potential consequences of global climate change, arguably the most important environmental issue facing us today will be used to link together the different elements of the course. The first part of the course will cover a series of general topics, whilst the second part will focus on specific case studies presented by other IGES staff that reflect current research being carried out within the Institute.


Lecture 1: Introduction

  • Temporal and spatial scales
Lectures 2-4: Atmospheric change:

  • global warming and the carbon cycle
  • ozone
Lectures 5-7: Terrestrial change

  • Soil erosion
  • Ecosystem modification and biodiversity loss
Lectures 8-10: Hydrological change

  • Rivers, lakes and wetlands
  • Coastal environments
  • Oceans
Lectures 11-12: An introduction to geohazards

Lectures 13-14: Climate change: glaciers and people

Lectures 15-16: Tropical deforestation

Lectures 17-18: Imperial legacies - long-term human impact on the environment in Jordan

Lecture 19: Vulnerability to change: lessons from the past

Lecture 20: Conclusions: a look to the future

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Students will be required to evaluate information in lecture material and in their own reading and present this in the form of an exam essay.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be encouraged to make use of study material from a range of different sources, including web-based resources and videos.
Research skills Students will be required to pursue their own background research relating to material presented in lectures.
Subject Specific Skills This module will focus on interactions between the physical and human environment. Students will be encouraged to take a multi-disciplinary approach to environmental issues.

Reading List

Recommended Text
Goudie, A. (2000) The Human Impact on the Natural Environment 5th Cambridge, MIT Press Primo search Middleton, N. (1999) The Global Casino: An introduction to environmental issues 2nd Arnold Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 4