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University of Leeds

Environmental Challenges: Scarcity and Conflict in the Natural Environment

University of Leeds via FutureLearn


Human conflict has both short and long term effects on the natural world. The environment is directly impacted by pollution and explosions; and can be used as a weapon of war. In the longer term, sustainable environmental management is disrupted when conflict destabilises social systems and people are denied access to natural resources. As resources become scarcer, it might be expected that people come into conflict about access to natural resources.

This course explores three aspects of conflict and resource scarcity, and applies these to explore decision making and negotiation skills.

The course is suitable for anyone with a general interest in conflict and environmental decision-making; no previous knowledge or experience is required.

If you are working in environmental management, or wish to learn more about it, this course is designed to support you as a professional. By completing all aspects of the course you will have achieved 14 hours of CPD time.


  • The principles of scarcity and conflict
    • Welcome
    • The economics of the coming spaceship Earth
    • Scarcity and conflict
    • The environment as a weapon of war
    • Revision
    • Summary
  • Applying the principles
    • About week 2
    • Case study: International relations
    • Discussion: Environment and conflict
    • Focusing on – Conflict resolution and negotiation skills
    • Revision
    • Summary

Taught by

Jon Lovett


4.3 rating, based on 6 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at FutureLearn based on 12 ratings

Start your review of Environmental Challenges: Scarcity and Conflict in the Natural Environment

  • Anonymous
    I have enjoyed the course so far. It is well structure in such a way that its delves into so many aspects of its topic and it gives one a participatory opportunity as if one were in a physical classroom.
  • Anonymous
    I thoroughly enjoyed this course. Jon is an excellent orator and I found him interesting and engaging. The course was well structured, utilising videos, quizzes and research activities, and provides high quality information and case studies for further reading. I am often cautious about purchasing certificates on FutureLearn as the standard often doesn't warrant the cost, but after starting the course for free decided it was challenging and stimulating enough to pay for.
  • Anonymous
    This online course is of course great for getting information like understanding, transformation, problem solving relating to any conflict particularly environmental issues as to how sustaibility of environment can be achieved. however, study material must be provided in advance so that one can have a crystal enlightment into the issues and conflict of environment condition any country. That will lead to critical thinking of any issue.
  • Anonymous
    In this age of both environmental degradation and sustained if not new conflicts, one being heightened even as I type, this course is highly pertinent and exacting.

    Worthwhile to do and gain certification in, for anyone, I assert.

    The materials are of a decent quality, it is well thought through and the educators available and wise.
  • Anonymous
    This is an academic degree level course. Tough going, but very rewarding with excellent feedback. It is perhaps an entry into further study, for those who might want to do so.
    I enjoyed the challenge, although it is not my intention to return to full time study, or academia.
  • Anonymous
    The course cuts across various environmental, political, resources issues with certain examples of water wars, Lebanon conflict.
    really it is very intriguing and interesting .

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