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Energy in buildings
Themes covered in this free course, Energy in buildings, include reducing heating demand in buildings, heating systems and fuel emissions, and reducing electricity use by appliances. The course looks at the importance of energy in buildings in the UK, investigate heat loss and how to prevent it, ways of increasing building efficiency, decreasing CO2 emissions of different fuels and the use of efficient appliances. Author(s): Creator not set

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Introduction

This unit explores different understandings of nature and environment and the significance these may have for developing responsibility. The problems of connecting human and non-human nature are presented here as being a challenge peculiar to the concerns of environmental responsibility. They provide the impetus for exploring the idea of ‘conversation’ as a metaphor for what matters in environmental responsibility. Using a reading by Stephen Talbott as a foundation, the conversation me
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Water for life
Atoms, elements and molecules are the building blocks of everything that makes up our world, including ourselves. In this free course, Water for life, you will learn the basic chemistry of how these components work together, starting with a chemical compound we are all very familiar with water. First published on Wed, 17 Jan 2018 as Author(s): Creator not set

Financial methods in environmental decisions
This free course, Financial methods in environmental decisions, begins by introducing some of the tools that can be used to assess the benefits of investment decisions, including ways of assessing the ‘external costs’ – the wider costs and benefits to society as a whole – of environmental decisions. First published on Thu, 29 Nov 2018 as Author(s): Creator not set

The science of nuclear energy
This free course, The science of nuclear energy, will delve into the science behind nuclear power and explain what happens inside a nuclear reactor and what it means for an element to be radioactive. It will explore some of the risks of producing nuclear power and examine the arguments for and against including it in future energy planning as well as looking at other potential future solutions. Author(s): Creator not set

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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
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2.2.2 Temperature changes over the past millennium

One of the most striking images in the IPCC TAR is reproduced (in adapted form) in Figure 24. Together, these two temperature records tell a compelling story, crystallised in our earlier quotes from the SPM. So let's just pause to take a closer look at each of them.

Figure 24
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1.2 A framing paradox: experiencing nature with cognitive tools

Whilst language tools are helpful in conveying meaning in conversation amongst humans, establishing what matters in ‘conversation’ between human and non-human nature, or amongst non-human living entities, requires different cognitive tools. Cognition refers to the way in which external information from the environment is processed. As sentient beings, humans and some other animals are able to experience wellbeing and suffering. In the next reading, Ronald Moore examines how we engage with
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1.3.1 Introduction

Holding up the East Asian success story as the way forward has, as I indicated above, little appeal for the antisweatshop movement. For its members, a different image comes to mind of thousands of workers eking out a living from the numerous sweatshops which dot that part of the world: one that involves the perpetuation of poverty wage levels, the use and abuse of poor communities, and the constant taking advantage of what is ready to hand, followed by withdrawal and abandonment. What they se
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1.2.4 Offshore fragments of industry: the negative standpoint

Nike Inc., the US sportswear firm, did in fact take the lead in organising its overseas manufacturing business on a subcontracting basis (Donaghu and Barff, 1990). Early on in the 1970s, it established a web of contractual relationships (or partnerships, as it preferred to call them), with factories in Taiwan and South Korea, to produce its branded footwear. Of these factories, the big-volume producers among them were also contracted to other Western firms to produce a range of footwear. Nike
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Introduction

Sweatshops and the exploitation of workers are often linked to the globalised production of ‘big brand’ labels. This course examines how campaigners have successfully closed the distance between the brands and the sweatshops, while others argue that such production ‘kick starts’ economies into growth benefiting whole communities.

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course Author(s): The Open University

References

Attfield, R. (2003) Environmental Ethics: An Overview for the Twenty-First Century, Cambridge, Polity Press.
Beck, U. (1992) Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity, London, Sage.
Beck, U. (1998) ‘Politics of risk society’ in Franklin, J. (ed.) The Politics of Risk Society, Cambridge, Polity Press.
Benington, J.
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Keep on learning

Study another free course

There are more than 800 courses on OpenLearn for you t
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2.4.2 Ecological restoration

The changing science of ecology, coupled with a greater awareness and development of alternative styles of managing natural resources, continues to influence our notion of what is good and what is right for nature. One of the first and most influential formal expressions of an environmental ethic that arose from early organic and ecosystems models of ecology was that of Aldo Leopold. Leopold’s argument is regarded as an environmental ethic because it explicitly gives moral consideration to,
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2.4.1 The emergence of ecology

To help you gain a better perspective on the general progress of scientific development, Table 4 provides a schematic potted history of some of the major ideas coming from science that have sought to guide our actions. It includes both social and natural sciences, though the former really only became distinct ‘scienc
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2.4 Natural science valuation: towards ecological restoration

While the previous two subsections dealt with the social sciences, the ideas of ecology represent more the natural sciences tradition. In the early years of controversy around how to practise sustainable development, some concern was expressed about the perceived bias towards social rather than natural sciences. Bryan Norton (1992), for example, is critical of the social scientific approach. He argues that reliance on standard economic and other social scientific tools will not be enough to e
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2.3.1 Public participation and perspectives on sustainability

When it comes to issues around the environment, ‘experts’ – whether ecologists, economists or other types of social scientist – are clearly not infallible. Environmental crises have led to a questioning of traditional expert support as a guarantor of environmental planning. This has had two consequences. Firstly, there have been some interesting and useful explorations amongst environmentalists in seeking guarantors through the domain of spiritualism. In particular, traditional worldv
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2.3.1 The risk society

The shift from an anthropocentric concern around issues of human poverty in industrial society towards a more ecocentric concern around environmental issues in the ‘risk society’ has been expressed by the German sociologist Ulrich Beck. His 1992 book Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity suggests a shift from the safety state of industrialised society, where conflicts were manifest in struggles amongst socio-economic groups, to a society where conflicts arise from issues of uncerta
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2.3 Social valuation: towards ecological citizenship

An important practical question is whether the standard tools of economics are adequate for describing and monitoring sustainable development. If we consider either the Brundtland ‘essential needs of the poor’ condition for sustainability, or the idea that we ought to try to secure a certain level of quality of life for future people equivalent to that of some people today, it would appear that economics will not be enough by itself. This is because each of these concepts demands more tha
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2.2.3 Ecological economics

Ecological economics, which formally came to prominence in the mid-1980s, represents a departure from reliance on the use of mainstream economic modelling. Instead, it branches out to actively engage with and incorporate the ethical, social and behavioural dimensions of environmental issues. In short, ecological economics attempts to provide an interdisciplinary approach to environmental issues, whereas environmental economics maintains the primacy of economic modelling.

Mark Sag
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