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Unit Image

Ollie O'Brien

All other materials included in this unit are d
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References

Colburn, T., Dumanoski, D. and Myers, J. P. (1996) Our Stolen Future, Little, Brown and Co.

Kishi, M., Hirschorn, N., Djajadisastra, M., Saterlee, L. N., Strowman, S. and Dilts, R. (1995) Relationship of pesticide spraying to signs and symptoms in Indonesian farmers, Scandinavian Journal of Work and Environmental Health, 21 (2), pp. 124– 33.

Wilson, E. O. (1992) The Diversity of Life, The Bellknap Press of the Harvard University Press, Cambridge, USA.


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5.5 Indoor pollutants

Before leaving air pollution you might reflect that many of us spend most of our time indoors where the air quality can differ from that outside the building.

Question 30

In what ways will the air be different inside a building?


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5.2 Air pollution

There are many popular beliefs about air quality and health. As a child you might have been exhorted to, ‘go out and play in the nice fresh air’. Mountain air is often regarded as being particularly beneficial, especially for those who are recuperating from or suffering some types of respiratory diseases.

Ques
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4.5 The Kew Gardens Millennium Seed Bank Appeal

Cover from the Kew Gardens Millennium Seed Bank Appeal leaflet.
Figure 6 Cover from the Kew Gardens Millennium Seed Bank Appeal leaflet

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4.4 Genetic diversity and mass extinctions

It is for this reason that there are now international agreements on the need to work together to retain genetic diversity in all species and, more generally, biological diversity (species and habitat diversity).

Question 10

From a
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4.2 'Biological control'

We are also guilty of importing exotic species, some of which, like the rhododendron (imported from Asia to Europe), have run riot in the absence of natural predators or primary consumers, and so have tended to out-compete native plants. Sometimes introductions have been accidental; rats and many disease-causing organisms have spread around the world via relatively modern transportation such as sailing ships. However, deliberate introductions, such as the rhododendron, have been made with wor
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3.2 Food webs

The Eucalyptus provides food for other species too, so a more realistic way of expressing the complicated interrelationships of plants and animals, is in a food web as shown in Figure 2 for the common oak.

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3.1 Habitat

The environment in which any organism lives is known as its habitat. It will share its habitat with other organisms, that are themselves part of the habitat. A habitat has distinctive physical and chemical features.

Question 4

Can
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2 Altering the environment

Later in this unit we will be considering a number of ways in which humans alter their environment.

Question 3

In what ways do you think we are altering the environment?

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1 Legacies and inheritance

There is no doubt that each one of us affects the lives of those who surround us. Many of our interactions with others are very obvious to us and could be described in terms of personal, professional and social relationships. But there are other, often unnoticed, interactions: the mother taking her children to school, the man buying his paper, the youth at the bus stop – all people we see regularly and only notice when they are not there. Younger people are often very worried about what oth
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Introduction

This unit is from our archive and it is an adapted extract from Human biology and health (SK220), which is no longer in presentation. If you wish to study formally at The Open University, you may wish to explore the courses we offer in this curriculum area.

To be able to understand the importance of the environment for our health, we need to know a little about the interdepende
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Acknowledgements

The material acknowledged below is Proprietary, used under licence and not subject to Creative Commons licensing (see terms and conditions). Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following:

Figure 1/Unit Image © John Isaac/Still Pictures

Figure 2 © Ian Hodgson/Reuters/Popperfoto

Figure 3 © PA Photos

Figure 4 © Accent Alaska

Figure 5 © Tony Bennets/Lonely Planet Images

Figure 6 © Bryan & Cherry Alexander Photography


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1 1 Why sustainable energy matters

One of the greatest challenges facing humanity during the twenty-first century must surely be that of giving everyone on the planet access to safe, clean and sustainable energy supplies.

Throughout history, the use of energy has been central to the functioning and development of human societies. But during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, humanity learned how to harness the highly-concentrated forms of energy contained within fossil fuels. These provided the power that drove the
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2.3 The Industrial Revolution and its environmental impacts

The environmental issues you have identified in your answer to the first exercise are likely to be complex and difficult to unravel, yet alone resolve. Rather than attempt that at this stage I'd like to start this section with another question. Where does our material prosperity come from? To which one short answer would be ‘The Industrial Revolution’. In the space of less than 100 years between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, first Britain, then several other count
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6.4 International retributive justice

A further difference between communitarians and cosmopolitans arises over the question of retributive justice. Communitarians think that it is the responsibility of each state to uphold justice. Collectively, states can pursue international justice through the auspices of the UN, and are answerable to each other, to public opinion and to NGOs. However, there is no basis for claims to universal jurisdiction, and to deal with matters not found in specific states (such as piracy), or that cross
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5.4 The influence of the Western perspective

With regard to the first set of problems – that the rights discourse is not universal but is deeply informed by a Western perspective – it is striking that many actors and commentators on the international stage now frame their arguments and assertions in terms of the language of rights and justice. Yet we need to ask to what extent this language of rights and justice really underpins shared understandings and values. There is a strong case for saying that if there are shared understandin
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3.4 Debates about rights

There are at least four big debates about modern individual rights. The aim in putting these before you is to introduce these hotly contested issues to which there are no conclusive answers, but which help frame discussions about human rights. Considering these debates is designed to help you weigh up the different arguments and form your own opinions about the meaning and effectiveness of rights claims.

The first debate concerns how our rights are grounded. One view is that our
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1 International human rights: an introduction

There are many examples of claims for rights in the international sphere.

One example was reported in September 2002. The British government was asked to make efforts to have a British man held by the Americans at Guantanamo Bay deported to Britain to face charges of terrorism there in connection with the attacks on 11 September 2001. Concerns were expressed about the denial of this man's human rights at Guantanamo Bay. Are alleged terrorists entitled to human rights? Can the denial of
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • understand the different interpretations of internationally recognised notions of rights and justice;

  • give examples of implementing justice in an international sphere;

  • investigate questions in international studies;

  • analyse the different agencies of change in the international system.


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