2.1 Why study ecology?

These days, bird watching is a popular leisure activity and in the past so were collecting insects, wild flowers and birds’ eggs (although such activities are not now recommended – indeed, they are often illegal – because of the potential damage they cause to flora and fauna). Some amateurs are or were truly experts in their fields. In fact, much of the original identification of the British flora and fauna was done by amateur naturalists. Many a Victorian vicar or other self-taught nat
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Copyright © 2016 The Open University

7.4.1 Uses of models not made explicit

  • recognise that many scientific findings follow from the use of theoretical models in addition to consideration of empirical data;

  • be aware that numerical values provided by scientists may be derived directly from data, or from the application of theoretical models to a data set.


Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Copyright © 2016 The Open University

5 Education for democracy?

We are surrounded by, and interact increasingly with, scientific and technological products – for example, electronic miracles such as DVDs, mobile phones or microwave ovens; what is debatable is the extent to which we need to know anything of their workings to co-exist happily with them (see, for example, Chapman, 1991). Perhaps knowing something about the workings of mobile phones, for example, will help users assess the extent of any health risk they pose. Arguments for disseminating sci
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Copyright © 2016 The Open University

Introduction to group theory
This free course is an introduction to group theory, one of the three main branches of pure mathematics. Section 1 looks at the set of symmetries of a two-dimensional figure which are then viewed as functions. Section 2 introduces an algebraic notation for recording symmetries and calculating composites and inverses of symmetries. Section 3 introduces definitions and looks at how to check axioms for a group. Section 4 looks at how to prove that some properties of groups already looked at are gen
Author(s): Creator not set

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see http://www.open.ac.uk/conditions terms and conditions), this content is made available under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2

Try some yourself

Question 1

Draw a line of symmetry on each of the shapes below.

Energy resources: Tidal energy
The rise and fall of ocean tides result from the combined gravitational pull on water by the Moon and, to a lesser extent, the Sun, which exerts a force on water directed towards the two astronomical bodies. These gravitational effects combine with centrifugal forces that result from the Earth and the Moon orbiting each other. All of which makes tidal change a complex process. Energy resources: Tidal energy, is a free course that considers the power of the ocean tides as a potential source of us
Author(s): Creator not set

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see http://www.open.ac.uk/conditions terms and conditions), this content is made available under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2

Climate change: transitions to sustainability
Human societies have to take urgent action to end their dependences on fossil fuels. We have to alter the whole path of our development and decision making in order to make our societies both environmentally adaptable and sustainable. This free course, Climate change, takes on the task of trying to chart some of the ways in which it might be possible.Author(s): Creator not set

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see http://www.open.ac.uk/conditions terms and conditions), this content is made available under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2

Transport and sustainability
This free course, Transport and sustainability, explores the issues around sustainable transport and how the role of technology and society can interact to lower the overall impact of transport. First published on Fri, 26 May 2017 as Transport and sus
Author(s): Creator not set

Eutrophication
Managing eutrophication is a key element in maintaining the earths biodiversity. Eutrophication is a process mostly associated with human activity whereby ecosystems accumulate minerals. This free course, Eutrophication, explains how this process occurs, what its effects on different types of habitat are, and how it might be managed. First published on Mo
Author(s): Creator not set

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see http://www.open.ac.uk/conditions terms and conditions), this content is made available under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2

Keep on learning

Study another free course

There are more than 800 courses on OpenLearn for you t
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Copyright © 2016 The Open University

2.3 Citizens in conversation with nature and experts

Before leaving office in 2008, Sir David King (the ex-Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Government) introduced an ethical code for scientists. This drew particularly on his experience in working across the scientific–political divide on issues of climate change. The code comprises three attributes of scientific endeavour: rigour, representation and responsibility (Author(s): The Open University

2.2 Environmental pragmatism: positioning expert support

I believe that the principal task for an environmental pragmatism is not to reengage the … debates in environmental ethics but rather to impress upon environmental philosophers the need to take up the largely empirical question of what morally motivates humans to change their attitudes, behaviours, and policy preferences toward those more supportive of long-term environmental sustainability.

(Light, 2002, p. 446)


Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Copyright © 2016 The Open University

1.4.1 Dealing meaningfully with holism

Ulrich's primary observation is quite straightforward. Any system as a human construct is unable to capture the total complexity of interrelationships and interdependencies that make up the real world. This idea resonates with the paradox of framing referred to by Moore. It also resonates with Ilan Kapoor's reference to the work of Slavoj Žižek, quoted earlier: ‘Reality is what we (mistakenly) take to be wholeness or harmony, while the Real denotes the impossibility of wholeness’ (Kapoo
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Copyright © 2016 The Open University

1.2.6 Defining global markets

Global markets for manufactured goods, as opposed to, say, primary commodities such as oil and timber, arose largely in the second half of the twentieth century as trade between countries intensified. The lowering of transport costs and the relative fall in trade barriers enabled firms in one country to compete with a domestic rival in another. The supply of manufactured goods across the globe as a result of worldwide demand, principally from the affluent economies, thus heightened competitio
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Copyright © 2016 The Open University

References

Allison, L. (1991) Ecology and Utility: The Philosophical Dilemmas of Planetary Management, Leicester, Leicester University Press.
BBC (2008) ‘The wrong way to a warmer world?’ [online], BBC News, 3 April, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/analysis/7328634.stm (accessed 15/4/10).
van den Born, R.J.G. (2008) ‘Rethinking nature: public visions in the Netherlands
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Copyright © 2016 The Open University

3.2 Multiple causes

Now we will explore multiple causes using an example familiar to us all – road accidents. The deaths of about 10 people each day on the UK's roads are less dramatic than, for example, the capsize of the Herald of Free Enterprise, but one feature that links them both is the element of risk associated with everything we do – and even with inaction.

We have just seen that many factors contribute to the risks which result from the inherent hazards associated with something we do.
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Copyright © 2016 The Open University

1 Safety, health and environmental management – a risky business!

While views on management differ, Safety, Health and Environmental (SHE) management is merely a subset of management to which the same generalities apply. Indeed, at the end of this free course we will see indications of the integrating concepts being promoted by organisations. However, for the present we can translate the key actions of management into:

  • Plan – anticipate problems before they occur, and plan for prevention rather than remedy
    Author(s): The Open University

    License information
    Related content

    Copyright © 2016 The Open University

2.1 Issues of responsibility

The aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami saw an unprecedented aid effort to assist the affected regions. In the early days after the disaster, pledges of financial assistance from overseas governments were often outstripped by the generosity of their own populaces. This was a case when ordinary people around the world saw and were moved by the tragic circumstances of others far away (Rose, 2006), and they responded with gifts of money and provisions, and even with offers of their own sk
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Copyright © 2016 The Open University

Supply chains: Smart cars
What happens when you bring the best of two famous brands together? What sorts of innovations can emerge, and how is a brand image created for the new product? The Smart car came about as a result of a collaboration between car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz and Swatch, the Swiss watch maker. This album examines the innovations behind the Smart car, its supply chain, and its assembly line in Hambach, France, where a finished car is produced every 96 seconds. With its major suppliers situated on the
Author(s): The OpenLearn team

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see http://www.open.ac.uk/conditions terms and conditions), this content is made available under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2

Supply chains: healthcare
From surgical tools to obstetric instruments, personalised colostomy bags to hip implants, the UK's National Health Service requires an astonishing number of products to be manufactured, delivered and routinely managed. What happens behind the scenes to ensure the systems function smoothly? This album focuses on the different roles of B.Braun, a large supplier of medical equipment which also provides customised services for patients. In this time-critical setting, their supply chain processes mu
Author(s): The OpenLearn team

License information
Related content

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see http://www.open.ac.uk/conditions terms and conditions), this content is made available under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2