Protecting the Planet: Environment Movement Perspectives. 

Ref: C2224463

We have a serious environmental crisis. The course describes the history of awareness of the problem, and discusses cases. It argues that the science of ecology can help us understand and deal with these problems. The course describes the growth of the environment movement and alternative views within it. Main topics: Introduction: industrialisation, Silent Spring, Limits to Growth; ecology and the Gaia hypothesis.Interconnected problems affecting air, land, the rivers and the sea. Energy sources. Climate change: history and science. Controversy.Climate ‘deniers’ or ‘sceptics’. Strategies: market mechanisms, regulations, sustainability, high technology, alternative technology. The environmental movement as social movement? Green politics: ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy, non-violence. Green philosophies: instrumental versus intrinsic value of nature.light to dark green; eco-socialism, eco-feminism, social ecology and deep ecology.

Course aim

To examine the problems facing the natural environment today, and the origins, history, policies, goals and philosophy of the environment movement.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • identify stages in the development of environmental awareness and the environment movement.
  • describe and explain some examples of damage to the environment (how they arise, and how they could be stopped or otherwise ameliorated).
  • describe and discuss the evidence for man-made climate change
  • show through discussion or writing that I understand that there are different political and even philosophical approaches to the subject of protecting the natural environment
  • articulate my own ideas on the problem of protecting the planet.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions
  • There will be a number of tasks appropriate to your course such as written work, creating art or craft, video, photography or small projects. Some of these may be marked to help you progress

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • The tutor has a website that provides useful background information: Relevant newspaper and other articles (or links) will also be posted on the tutor's Facebook page (Ian Pirie) and on Twitter (PirieIan)

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • You might feel able to join a pressure group such as Friends of the Earth, or even the Green Party!

Download full Course information sheet

Protecting the Planet: Environment Movement Perspectives. 


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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