The University of Southampton
Courses

DEMO3008 Population and the Environment

Module Overview

Population and resources; population growth and the environmental ‘crisis’; the history of the debate about population growth and the environment, including discussion of the work of Malthus, Boserup, Simon and Ehrlich; the notion of a carrying capacity. The relationships of past societies with their environments. Recent population trends at a global level; fertility and migration patterns; urbanisation and settlement patterns; regional and local variation. The effects of population on the environment at different scales – global, regional and local; the impact of fertility and migration processes; the varying impact of populations with different age structures. Demographic consequences of environmental change; migration patterns; urbanisation and counter-urbanisation. Some expectations of future developments, limits of predictability and decision making.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To describe and interpret many relationships that exist between human population processes and the physical environments found in human societies around the World.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Summarise and critically evaluate the debate about the impact of population growth on the environment, both in its historical context and in the present day.
  • Identify and assess several mechanisms through which human populations affect their environment.
  • Appreciate how environmental changes can have and have had demographic consequences and how the relationship between population and the environment is two-way.
  • Assess the impact of specific demographic processes and characteristics of populations on the environment in a range of social and economic contexts and at different scales.
  • Demonstrate a solid and evidence-based awareness of recent and possible future trends and patterns in relevant demographic processes and their relations with the environment
  • Demonstrate that you have achieved the above learning outcomes by carrying out simple numerical analyses and writing well-argued and coherent essays
  • Critically evaluate the results of previous research. You should be able to question the evidence on which particular assertions are based and the logic of the arguments
  • Present and evaluate empirical findings, explanations and theoretical perspectives, and discussing alternative viewpoints through written work.
  • Self-manage by combining your learning in lectures, seminar discussions and independent study.

Syllabus

• Population and resources; population growth and the environmental ‘crisis’; the history of the debate about population growth and the environment, including discussion of the work of Malthus, Boserup, Simon and Ehrlich; the notion of a carrying capacity. • The relationships of past societies with their environments. • Recent population trends at a global level; fertility and migration patterns; urbanisation and settlement patterns; regional and local variation. • The effects of population on the environment at different scales – global, regional and local; the impact of fertility and migration processes; the varying impact of populations with different age structures. • Demographic consequences of environmental change; migration patterns; urbanisation. • Some expectations of future developments, limits of predictability and decision making.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module is taught during 22 lectures and 5 tutorial sessions. During the tutorial classes we will consider specific issues in detail, and hold class discussions. One tutorial will be held in a computer lab, allowing the students to get accustomed with main sources of demographic and environmental data, which can be useful for the coursework assignment.

TypeHours
Tutorial5
Lecture22
Independent Study123
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Orrell D (2007). The future of everything: the science of prediction (fragments). 

Harrison P (1993). The Third Revolution: Environment, Population and a Sustainable World. 

De Souza R-M, Williams JS and Mayerson FAB (2003). Critical links: population, health and the environment. Population Bulletin. ,58 , pp. 0.

Silver N (2012). The signal and the noise: The art and science of prediction (fragments). 

Diamond J (1999). Guns, germs and steel: the fates of human societies. 

Ehrlich PR and Ehrlich AH (2004). One with Nineveh: Politics, Consumption and the Human Future. 

McNeil W (1998). Plagues and Peoples. 

Simon JL (1996). The Ultimate Resource 2. 

Smil V (1994). How many people can the earth feed?. Population and Development Review. ,20 , pp. 255-292.

Hunter LM (2000). The Environmental Implications of Population Dynamics. 

Malthus TR (1798). An essay on the principle of population, as it affects the future improvement of society, with remarks on the speculations of Mr. Godwin, M. Cordorcet and other writers. 

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (1500 words) 30%
Exam  (2 hours) 70%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Share this module Facebook Google+ Twitter Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×