Anthropocene Learning

This page features short online courses that might be of interest to you and your networks (also, occasionally, courses that combine online with place-based learning). Many are free, others relatively low cost. If you know of courses that are open to anyone with an interest in environmental or climate change or the Anthropocene, use the Contact Form to let us know.

Free FutureLearn online courses you can join now include:

The Future of Farming: Exploring Climate Smart Agriculture

How can we adapt farming to an uncertain future? Could the answer be Climate Smart Agriculture? Global warming is a reality so it’s vital our societies and industries respond to the changing climate. Can farming meet this challenge?

Explore the principles and practical applications of Climate Smart Agriculture: mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, adaption to climate change and stable or increased food production in the context of European dairy farming and wine production. How does farming impact on global warming and greenhouse gases? What are the barriers to adopting CSA and how can these be addressed?

Water Scarcity: Crisis and Response

Learn about water scarcity, exploring why some people don’t have enough water, and solutions for ensuring enough water for all.

What happens when water runs out, and why does it occur? How can we ensure an adequate fresh water supply for all These are some of the questions you will ask and answer on this course. You will examine the dual nature of water scarcity, first examining reasons for diminishing supplies, like growing human populations, climate, lifestyle, poor water management, and poor governance. You will then learn about the conflicts that arise over water, and most importantly you will learn what can be done to ensure adequate supplies for people and nature.

Causes of Climate Change

Understand the physical processes behind climate variations in the past, present and future.

In the course, we focus on explaining the main external forcing mechanisms such as the sun, volcanoes, and changes in greenhouse gasses and aerosols, which can contribute to changing the global energy budget and initiate climate variations.

Come Rain or Shine: Understanding the Weather

Understand and explore the physical processes behind the weather

Weather affects our lives almost every day through what we wear, what we eat and what we do. But why is it rainy, windy or sometimes even sunny? Explore some of the physical processes driving UK weather systems and get hands on in the world of weather with practical activities and fieldwork. Try your hand at forecasting and have a go at interpreting weather maps and compare your results to our educator Dr Sylvia Knight’s. You’ll also watch our educators carrying out simple but effective experiments including creating clouds or simulating hot air rising and demonstrating the Coriolis effect.

Environmental Challenges: Justice in Natural Resource Management

How do we ensure that the difficult decisions about the management of natural resources are just and fair for all?

When looking at different societies and cultures around the world, it is interesting how ubiquitous the principles of justice are. It is part of our human nature to think about equality, and consider fairness as something that we do naturally. However, in practical terms, equality is hard to achieve. This course explores three aspects of justice, and applies these to environmental issues surrounding natural resource management around the world. It also introduces Strategic Environmental Assessment and Terms of Reference.

Exploring Our Oceans

Explore the half of our world covered by deep ocean, and how our lives affect the hidden face of our planet.

What lies in the half of our world covered by water more than two miles deep? How are our everyday lives connected to the ocean depths, and what challenges and opportunities does this previously hidden realm hold for our future? Meet scientists exploring the ocean from the deepest undersea vents to the chilly waters of the Poles and find how what we now know about the ocean depths is as amazing as the unknown that remains. By taking this course, you will see how the deep ocean is no longer out of reach, and join a global debate about the future of our “blue planet”.

Environmental Challenges: Rights and Values in Ecosystem Services

Differences in values can create conflict. How can we learn to manage our natural resources with integrity?

Humans are very innovative, but we’ve also created many ecological problems. We’ve changed the face of the planet, fished the oceans, and we’re causing climate change through emissions. Designing institutional arrangements that recognise ecosystem services in the values we place upon natural systems will be an important way to help governing the planet, for both present and future generations. This course explores three approaches to rights and values, and applies these to ecosystem services around the world. It also includes advice on producing press releases about environmental issues.

Environmental Justice

Understand how climate change, biodiversity loss and deforestation affect people, exploring justice in environmental management.

The world faces challenging environmental problems. They are challenging because different people typically contribute differently to environmental change, and because its effects will be felt differently by different people in different places.

Other free online courses include:

Making Sense of Climate Science Denial

Climate change is real, so why the controversy and debate? Learn to make sense of the science and to respond to climate change denial. This course from the University of Queensland, Australia, examines the science of climate science denial.

We will look at the most common climate myths from “global warming stopped in 1998” to “global warming is caused by the sun” to “climate impacts are nothing to worry about.”

We’ll find out what lessons are to be learnt from past climate change as well as better understand how climate models predict future climate impacts. You’ll learn both the science of climate change and the techniques used to distort the science.

With every myth we debunk, you’ll learn the critical thinking needed to identify the fallacies associated with the myth. Finally, armed with all this knowledge, you’ll learn the psychology of misinformation. This will equip you to effectively respond to climate misinformation and debunk myths.

The Stories We Live By

This course from the University of Gloucestershire and the International Ecolinguistics Association explores the rich field of ecolinguistics.

The social and ecological issues that humanity currently faces are so severe that they call into question the fundamental stories that societies are based on. Ecolinguistics provides tools for revealing the stories we live by, questioning them from an ecological perspective, and contributing to the search for new stories. The course examines a wide range of texts from advertisements, lifestyle magazines and economics textbooks to surfing guides, Native American sayings and Japanese animation. In each case, the question is whether the stories that underlie texts encourage us to care about people and the ecosystems that life depends on.

You can work through the nine parts of the course at your own pace, and register any time to access discussion groups, tuition, and additional materials and apply for the certificate.