Our Planetary Future: Environment and Development (15Cr)

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Development Studies

Module overview

This module gives an introduction to the relationship between environment and development. It does not assume pre-existing knowledge on 'environment and development'. The module starts with a historical overview of the history of human engagement with the environment to understand the emergence of contemporary environmental problems and concerns. Then selected environmental controversies, their origins and impacts, are discussed. The final focus is on global and national environmental governance since 1990 and exploring environmental knowledge production from a ‘situated knowledge’ perspective.


Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of this module a student should be able to:

  • Identify different periods in the history of human engagement with the environment and the characteristics of these periods, including the reasons for and process of the emergence of contemporary environmentalism.
  • Analyse the origins and impacts of selected contemporary environmental controversies
  • Understand the main characteristics of contemporary environmental governance and organisation.
  • Demonstrate awareness of different approaches to environmental knowledge/knowledge about the environment.



This module explores:

  • Environment and history: examining role of colonialism and racism, post-1950 intensification of resource use and emergence of environmental critiques/movements
  • Controversies around climate change, water, forest degradation, biodiversity decline, oil and mining
  • Environmental governance including neoliberal commodification and consumption, and environmental knowledge production exploring the role experts, local & indigenous knowledge, and the environmentalism of the poor.