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Qualification - Certificate in Environmental Management

Course CodeVEN025
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)600 hours
QualificationCertificate

Learn about conserving natural resources, protecting natural environments, and managing hazards to the environment.

Conservation is the philosophy of managing the environment to ensure that adequate supplies of the natural resources remain available for the present and future generations, as well as for providing for the on-going survival of other organisms. Conserving the natural resources of the planet earth has been desirable since ancient times. However, throughout history the basic principles of the use of natural resources were ignored, sometimes with disastrous results. 

In more recently developed areas of the world damage to the environment has occurred or is still occurring. This is often due to unwise decisions about the management of land and resources. Throughout the world, this presents severe conservation factors, affecting all nations, large and small.

In the urban environment, humans engage in overkill by overconsuming resources - the abundance of available goods and comparative ease of acquisition, stimulates their instinct to consume. In fact, huge advertising industries have arisen to stimulate people's consumer instincts, persuading them to buy millions of un-needed products and to over-use those that are necessary or beneficial, like food and fuel. Modern economies are build on the principles of mass production and mass consumption, as organizations seek more and more avenues in which to sell their goods. While such economies  create employment, they are using up the plant, animal, and mineral resources of the earth at an alarming rate, seriously reducing the likelihood that future generations will be able to sustain our lifestyles, and increasing the growing gap between the world's rich and poor.

Conservation is the wise use of resources of the earth, in order that they will be able to support or sustain the generations that are yet to come. There are many ways to achieve in a variety of situations - for example:

  • National Parks - the protection of the ecosystems, including endangered species of flora and fauna.
  • Agriculture – introducing sustainable techniques for the management of soil erosion and water and for the management of water catchment areas are just two examples.  
  • Industry – through the introduction of pollution control measures.
  • People - every person should help to collect and recycle waste.
LEARN HOW to protect and maintain the environment in a sustainable manner so that ecosystems are rehabilitated and restored.

Modules

Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Qualification - Certificate in Environmental Management.
 Ecotour Management BTR101
 Conservation & Environmental Management BEN201
 Environmental Assessment BEN301
 Environmental Chemistry BSC306
 
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 2 of the following 9 modules.
 Alternative Energy VSS102
 Marine Studies I BEN103
 Nature Park Management I BEN120
 Ornithology BEN102
 Environmental Waste Management BEN202
 Trees For Rehabilitation (Reafforestation) BHT205
 Wildlife Management BEN205
 Soil Management - Crops BHT303
 Water Conservation And Management BEN302
 

Note that each module in the Qualification - Certificate in Environmental Management is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


Why is Environmental Management Important?

 
DEFORESTATION

The Food and Agriculture Organisation reported in 2008 that 13 million hectares of forest are being lost annually. We are destroying tropical at an ever-increasing rate; at least one half of the tropical forests of the world have already been lost. If the trend continues, the remaining tropical forests will disappear within the next three decades. This is an incalculable loss, because these forests provide habitat for an estimated half of the plant and animal species of the world. In addition, these forests provide water and fuel for a large portion of the world’s population. They also have a large influence on the local and global climatic systems. Such forests are also potentially a treasure house full of previously unknown chemicals, foods, pharmaceuticals, spices and more. 

It is sufficient to say that most of the deforestation is caused by commercial logging, land clearance for agriculture, ranching and fuel. Solutions to these problems include:

  •  The development of alternative wood supplies for fuel and timber; achieved by planting and maintaining timber and fuel wood plantations.
  • Developing alternative energy sources for cooking and heating to replace wood used as fuel (e.g. solar). 

As with tropical forests, temperate zone forests are also under threat, although in some areas such forests have actually increased in extent. Acid rain is the greatest threat to these forests in the Northern Hemisphere; acidic pollution from factories mixed with water vapour in the atmosphere falls to the ground as rain. The conifer forest regions of Europe and North America are the currently most severely affected by acid rain.

LOSS OF AGRICULTURAL LAND

Because of excessive increases in the world’s human population, coupled with the construction of buildings and roads, and the loss of fertile crop producing land to urban housing development - the land available for food production is steadily decreasing. Salinity and loss of soil through erosion are other concerns in the diminishing availability of cropping land; due to erosion, large-scale agriculture can result in severe and unsustainable rates of soil loss. Overgrazing and the collection of firewood can cause land to become arid, eventually resulting in the spread of deserts and semi-deserts.  Below is a table showing causes of soil degradation along with their relative impact.

Region

Deforestation

Fuel wood

Exploitation

Overgrazing

Agricultural Activities

Industrialisation

Africa

14

13

49

24

-

Asia

40

6

26

27

-

Central America

22

18

15

45

-

Europe

38

-

23

29

9

North America

4

-

30

66

-

South America

41

5

28

26

-

Oceania

12

-

80

8

-

World

30

7

35

28

1

Causes of Soil Degradation by Region (shown as %).

Source: International Soil Reference and Information Centre 1990.

 

The problem of soil degradation is a growing concern. In 2008, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) prepared a report based on 20 years of data that strongly indicated land degradation is intensifying in many regions.

This is in line with the growing human population. The FAO estimated that 20% of all cultivated areas, 30% of forests and 10% of grasslands are presently undergoing degradation.  This intensity in degradation is believed to be mainly due to poor land management.

THE LOSS OF BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

A major conservation concern is the ever-increasing loss of fauna and flora species. The loss of habitat, especially in the tropical forests, is the greatest threat. Some species, such as whales and rhinoceros are threatened by over exploitation.

The Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) was established in 1975 to prevent international trade from threatening species with extinction. CITES has worked well to control trade in many threatened species. However, this is not enough. A more fundamental solution must be set up. This solution must be the establishment of a global network of areas to protect and conserve representative samples of the ecosystems of the world. Substantial progress towards the achievement of this goal is underway and most countries now have protected areas.

A secondary solution to consider is maintaining animals and plants in zoos, botanical gardens, or even gene banks. A gene bank may work well for some species, although, when kept in storage, even the seeds of domesticated plants and their wild relatives lose genetic vigour. The efforts described above are very limited in relation to the size of the problem.

The loss of genetic vigour is a serious concern with all of these species. Scientists and ecologists agree that all populations require a minimum or “effective” population size to sustain genetic vigour.  If their numbers fall below this threshold, they are at greater risk of inbreeding and are less likely to survive any major environmental events.

ENDANGERED WATER SUPPLIES

Threats to water supplies worldwide are depletion and pollution. The major problem is the loss of watersheds through removal of vegetation. The solution to this problem must come from the better use of land and the protection of crucial vegetation in the watershed areas.

Water occupies 70% of the Earth’s surface. It is essential for life. Most of the human population lives in the coast or near it, or is located at major rivers. Industry evolved also depending on water, so major traditional industrial centres (from the industrial revolution in Europe and early industrial developments in other continents) are located alongside rivers. This has had major impacts on the water flows and quality of the rivers of the world.

From the total water resources of the world, 97.5% is stored in seawater. Freshwater is 2.5% of the world resources (a total volume of 35.2 million km3), of which the majority is stored in glaciers (68.7%) and in permafrost (0.8%). A third of the freshwater is groundwater (30.4%), some of which is being used, but must be extracted. Surface and atmospheric water, which is the water most easily available represents only a very small fraction of 0.4% of the World’s freshwater resources, further divided into lakes (67.4%), soil moisture (12.2%), atmosphere (9.5%), wetlands (8.5%), rivers (1.6%) and plants and animals (0.8%).   Major pressures and demands on water resources in the world today are due to:

  • Population growth

  • Population migration to cities, which puts pressure consequently on urban development and thus on water availability and sanitation, specially in developing countries

  • Competition between water users: population, industries, agriculture.

  • Pollution from urban, industrial and agricultural sources

  • Public health concerns and increased demand for food security and social wellbeing (quality of life).

 

LEARN ABOUT THE EXHAUSTION OF NON-RENEWABLE RESOURCES

Non-renewable resources are unable to be re-generated once consumed.  Non-renewable resources humans rely on include fossil fuels (coal, petroleum and natural gas) and nuclear energy. The primary consideration here is the exhaustion of fossil fuels.

In the past, supply of non-renewable resources has met the demand, through the discovery of new resources and new technologies, to better access these resources.  However, in the future these resources are going to be much harder to find and will inevitably become economically unviable.  Other concerns regarding the use of non-renewable resources such as coal are the processing methods used to extract the energy.  The burning of fossil fuels produces gases that are both harmful to humans and the environment in general.  The release of Carbon dioxide (CO2) through the burning process (is thought) to be harmful to the ozone layer and Sulphur dioxide (SO2) which is also released through the burning process can be toxic to humans, returning as acid rain.

The solution to this problem lies in the better use of the available fuel supplies, by increasing the efficiency of combustion, or by using alternative energy sources, such as wind or solar power or the use of all the above.

 

WHY STUDY THIS COURSE?

It provides a broad foundation in environmental studies, along with some very practical training for areas where you might actually find work -in ecotourism and environmental assessment

Environmental assessments and ecotourism are two of the more significant areas where people can find employment in environmental industries. Many environmental courses (even degrees) neglect these areas of study - which may be to your advantage if you take this course.

Beyond this, you have the opportunity to select electives, to give you some unique and different knowledge to others who may do this course.





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