Environmental Studies

Course CodeVEN100
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


  • Gain a foundation knowledge of the Environment

  • Learn how living and non living things interact and are co-dependent upon each other for a sustainable world

  • Learn to live a more sustainable and green lifestyle

An excellent introduction to environmental studies providing a broad based grounding in environmental and conservation issues, and a foundation course for higher learning.

If you have not studied the Environment before, this is an excellent place to begin.

Lesson Structure

There are 6 lessons in this course:

  1. Living Things
    • classification of plants and animals
    • identifying living organisms
    • using identification keys
  2. Basic Ecology
    • populations
    • communities
    • ecosystems
    • constituents of ecosystem
    • the ecosphere
    • the web of life
    • habitats and niches
    • humans in the environment
  3. Global Environmental Systems
    • the Earth’s structure
    • the atmosphere
    • climatic systems
    • Gaia theory
    • the carbon dioxide cycle
    • El Nino
  4. Environmental Problems
    • deforestation
    • loss of agricultural land
    • loss of biological diversity
    • loss of water
    • loss of non renewable resources
    • environmental weeds
    • the Greenhouse Effect
    • ozone depletion
    • ozone as a Greenhouse gas
  5. Conservation
    • the definition and goals of conservation
    • the history of conservation
    • natural resources (renewable and non renewable).
  6. Acting Locally: Thinking Globally
    • humans and water
    • how to minimize water usage
    • energy use in the home
    • reducing household waste
    • domestic transport and its affect on pollution
    • building materials and their environmental impact.


  • To understand the binomial system of classifying living things
  • To understand the use of keys to identify living things
  • To grasp the basics of ecology (the relationships between living organisms and their environment)
  • To have a basic grounding in Earth Science and an understanding of global environmental systems
  • To understand the Earth’s major environmental problems and how they have come about
  • To gain an understanding of conservation and its importance to individuals and the world
  • To learn a range of ways to reduce the environmental impact of ones’ actions at home and globally

What You Will Do

  • Classify a range of living organisms in your locality
  • Identify the genus and species names of plants in a nursery
  • Compose a food web for your local area
  • Carry out basic research into the weather in your area and what affects it
  • Carry out in depth research into at least one major environmental problem
  • Contact three conservation organisations to determine the issues they deal with
  • Survey a building to determine the types of building materials used
  • Design an environmentally friendly house

Sustainability is Important for Everyone

Understanding the environment is not just something to be interested in; it is something that everyone needs to know about and understand.

The impact of human beings on the environment can be likened to a geological force that is shaping the earth and its atmosphere. Mechanisation has allowed us to destroy entire worlds. Pollution, destruction of species on land and in the sea, land erosion through mass clearing of forests, damming of rivers, salinity, creation of deserts from fertile land, the greenhouse effect and overuse of earth’s natural resources are all part of this force. If human beings expect to survive, then the damage created over the previous century needs to be re-dressed. We need to implement sustainable systems of living; the earth’s natural resources are finite: its ecology is fragile: its biodiversity is shrinking.
In order to understand the fragility of our environment everyone needs to be educated and aware of alternatives; it is up to the individual (particularly those in affluent nations) to implement change through their own behaviour as well as through political pressure. Our very survival depends upon the conservation of nature. Because we are only part of a large ecosystem, humans when stripped of all modern developments, are as defenseless as any other animal. Man too is fashioned by the harsh laws of nature. In order for humanity (in general) to understand the importance of conservation we need to understand the concepts.  This can only be achieved through education. It has been said that the study of nature is the study of survival!

In the 21st century trends are changing; governments are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of past (and present) practices. Scientists are looking at way of arresting and sometimes reversing environmental damage. Farmers are being educated to work with rather then against nature. Sustainable systems of consumption, growth and use of the environment and our natural resources are being studied and implemented. The "green movement" is very active with regards the environment, ordinary people encouraging change. This is the first generation that has become seriously worried about what the actions of today will have on the lives of future generations. Many attitudes still need to be changed but this century shows an encouraging change for the future.

Our long term sustainability is dependent upon understanding and properly managing the environment.



Why Study Environmental Studies?

This course is valuable to anyone with an interest in the world around us. It will provide a solid foundation for further studies in Environmental Science, Marine Science, Botany or Zoology and provides and excellent opportunity to explore a range of environmental concepts and to discover your own personal areas of interest. As a precursor to  further study, or as a stand-alone opportunity to learn, this course will broaden your understanding of the world we live in and your place in it.

Other courses that may be of interest are listed below. Click on any of these to go to an outline of that course.

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