20 Feb Approaches to the learning of environmental systems and societies (1)
The system approach is central to the course and has been employed for a number of reasons. The very nature of environmental issues demands a holistic treatment. An environmental system functions as a whole and the traditional approach of science tends to overlook this fact. The systems approach is common to many disciplines (for example geography and ecology). It emphasizes the similarities between the ways in which matter, energy and information flow. This approach in environmental systems and societies integrates the perspectives of different disciplines. Given the integrated nature of environmental systems and societies, stressing the links between areas of the syllabus is critical.
The concept of sustainability is central to an understanding of the nature of interactions between environmental systems and societies. Resource management issues are essentially issues of sustainability.
It is important that students develop a holistic appreciation of the complexities of environmental issues, in which the interaction between environmental systems and societies in central. The course requires that students consider the costs and the benefits of human activities, both to the environment and to societies, over the short and long term. In doing so, students will arrive at informed personal viewpoints. They should be aware of and be able to justify their own position and to appreciate the views of others. Their viewpoint may vary according to the issues being considered.