|Course Type||Course Code||No. Of Credits|
Semester and Year Offered: 3rd and 4th semester (2nd year)
Course Coordinator and Team: Dr. Sumana Datta; Dr. Swati Shresth; & Dr. Pulak Das
Email of course coordinator: sumana[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in/ swatishresth[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in/ pulak[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in
Aim: The aim of the course is to introduce students to the concept and importance of various ecosystems; to highlight contemporary issues related to degradation of natural resource bases and un-sustainable development/consumption patterns, and their impacts on health, climate and society across socio-economic hierarchies.
On successful completion of this course students will be:
Brief description of modules/ Main modules:
In consonance the syllabus proposed by the University Grant Commission the course has been structured to present an interdisciplinary perspective on environment and ecosystems highlighting contemporary concerns on water, agriculture, forests & biodiversity and climate systems as also on population, health and justice.
Unit 1. Introduction to environmental studies
In the introduction, the multidisciplinary nature of ‘environment’ will be problematised – that there are multiple meanings of environment, multiple ways of seeing it, multiple ways of diagnosing the ‘environmental problem’ and hence different solution, multiple ways of balancing between environment and development, and influence of humans on environment. The unit will also briefly discuss the evolution of the concept and scope of sustainable development and sustainable consumption.
Unit 2. Ecosystems
This unit introduces the concept and types of ecosystems, their functions (ecosystem services) and interdependence especially in Indian context. The module also covers important national and international policies, treaties and politics of ecosystems management including Payment for Ecosystem services, Millennium Ecosystem Services, Convention of Biological Diversity, CITES, Ramsar Convention etc. Special emphasis will be given to explain student the social and economic importance of various ecosystems for specific socio-economic groups; top-down and bottom up conservation policies; and how these impact on equity across class, caste and other social hierarchies with reference to different ecosystems like forests, grasslands and wetlands.
Unit 3. Biodiversity Conservation
This module will introduce students to the concept of biodiversity, biodiversity resources of India (biodiversity hotspots), and endangered and endemic species. The unit will also discuss briefly the threats to biodiversity from habitat loss, poaching, and unsustainable lifestyle/consumerism. Human-wildlife conflict, State-led conservation, community driven conservation, restoration ecology, international and national laws, policies and Institutions of Conservation.
Unit 4. Renewable and Non-renewable Natural Resources: uses and abuses
This unit introduces the students to an important challenge in today’s world- to manage a limited and fast depleting resource such as land, water & energy. It will focus on the use of land and water, and agricultural diversity over time and space. The unit also presents the exchange and understanding of food and its associated politics leading it to serious cases of Hunger and Malnutrition. Various factors reflecting the impact of the growth of population and urbanisation. The unit discusses the above issues threadbare through case studies to show that there are difficult choices/trade-offs involved in dealing with these seemingly simple issues, and also how our own lifestyle choices are directly connected with the larger issues of pollution, conservation, environmental damage, diseases, poverty, etc.
Unit 5. Environmental Pollution
This unit discuss issues related to environmental pollution (air, water, soil, noise, thermal and radioactive). Students will also be exposed to the problem of waste management including the problem of solid waste management in urban areas, dispersal of industrial wastes into water bodies etc. Some success stories and innovative solutions on waste management will also be presented. For example, introduction of CNG vehicles in Delhi to mitigate vehicular pollution.
Unit 6. Environmental policy and practice: Climate change policy
This module introduces the impact of human civilization on environment, and thereby the place of humans in nature and to what extent have they been able to influence change. This unit will discuss these issues through the case of Climate Change. This will include a brief overview of climate change and its various manifestations such as ozone layer depletion, acid rain and global warming; climate change mitigation and adaptation policies, politics and programmes from Kyoto Protocol to Paris Climate Agreement. This will also deliver briefly India’s role in international climate discourse and India’s action plan for climate mitigation and adaptation.
Unit 7. Environmental Justice and Movements:
This unit provides students an understanding of injustices in resource sharing. It further discusses the theoretical understanding on the third world environmentalism through a case of Chipko movement, and issue of resettlement and rehabilitation through the case study of Narmada Bachao Andolan.
Unit 8. Field Visits
types of field visits will be undertaken by the students. The university organises visit to an area with environmental significance, for example, a natural farm in NCR to give them understanding on practices and feasibility of natural farming as an alternative to industrial/HIV agriculture or to Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary to see varieties of butterflies. In addition to these organised field trip, students visit local biodiversity parks, wetland reclamation sites, ridges, waste dumping sites, baolis as part of their project works.
Assessment Details with weights: