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Are There Fair Solutions to Environmental Problems? This New Online Course Explains the Answer.

Injustice can be a key cause of environmental problems. A new MOOC explores what this means and shows how fair solutions may be created.

Are There Fair Solutions to Environmental Problems? This New Online Course Explains the Answer.
Picture: numbercfoto/pixabay

Environmental problems such as climate change or deforestation are being widely discussed. 

In most cases, scientists and politicians focus on the technological solutions to these issues, such as implementing the most efficient renewable energy source.

But there may be other aspects environmental activists should discuss apart from technology. 

For example, there are many regions of the world where there is a strong correlation between the distribution of wealth and the degree of environmental problems people face in their daily lives. 

To what extent can social injustice be a cause or consequence of environmental problems? 

New Online Course by Experts From the University of East Anglia

The Global Environmental Justice Group is an interdisciplinary group of scholars at the University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK). 

The group includes various scientists who are seeking to better understand the links between social justice and environmental change.

The group aims to "place justice analysis at the heart of environmental governance." 

To further promote environmental justice and to exchange perspectives with interested learners from around the world, the group has just launched a new MOOC (massive open online course) on the FutureLearn platform.

We briefly talked to Professor Adrian Martin, who leads the online course.

"Justice is a Powerful Motive"

Edukatico: Professor Martin, to what extent is justice an important aspect of environmental problems?

Professor Martin: All environmental problems create winners and losers. Furthermore, different proposed solutions to environmental problems create different sets of winners and losers. 

For these reasons, there are always conflicts of interest and conflicts over what is the right thing to do. 

Edukatico: Will it ever be possible to find a solution for environmental problems that all stakeholders will think is fair?

Professor Martin: There are rarely solutions that give everybody what they would like, but solutions might be considered fair and legitimate where they are procedurally just and not seen to be dominated by powerful vested interests. 

It is also important to note that justice is a powerful motive, and therefore efforts to find fair solutions can be galvanizing and help to overcome barriers to moving forwards.

Edukatico: Your online course "Environmental Justice" on the FutureLearn platform explores some of these questions. What are the main topics participants in the course will learn about?

Professor Martin: Participants will learn about environmental justice as a social movement but also the use of environmental justice as a conceptual framework for analyzing and better understanding the causes and consequences of environmental problems. 

Environmental justice will be explored in relation to some key environmental issues including climate change, water security, biodiversity conservation and deforestation.

Why environmental justice matters (Global Environmental Justice Group)

"A Course for a Wide Range of Learners"

Edukatico: Who would most likely benefit from your MOOC and why? Is there a specific learner profile for the course?

Professor Martin: The course is pitched to be of value to a wide range of learners, including those who work (or would like to work) professionally in areas related to environmental management, those involved in activism and advocacy related to environmental issues and those studying environmental governance at university level. 

Edukatico: There are learners from many different countries who are expected to participate in the course. Can participants from various regions of the world enrich the learning experience in such an online course?

Professor Martin: Yes, we certainly ask participants to share cases they are familiar with and to present ideas and arguments that might be formed in particular national or regional contexts.

Edukatico: Thank you and good luck with your new MOOC!

The new video course has just launched on FutureLearn and enrolment is still open. Students can learn for free with the online course, or can choose an optional (paid) upgrade to receive a Certificate of Achievement.

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