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U316 The Environmental Web

Block 1: Environmental Changes: Global Challenges



Chapter 1 Shrinking worlds: islands and environmental change

Introducing The Environmental Web
Connected planet, divided world
Troubled waters: the predicament of islands
Global environmental change: substantiating the charges
Sustainability in a dynamic world

Chapter 2 Island life: adventures in isolation and openness

Tropical island Edens
Threats to island life
Lessons from small islands
Environmentalism and the idea of 'Eden'
Islands and the origin of species
The vulnerability of island life
Island ecosystems and island social systems
Coevolutikon of ecosystems and social systems

Chapter 3 Weathering extremes: the challenge of dynamic systems

Steering through stormy weather
Reef wars: catastrophe and the coral-seaweed competition
Sustainability and ecosystem dynamics
Heavy weather: agriculture and climatic variability
Global governance: obligations in a connected world

Chapter 4 Island Antarctica

Early 'discoveries' of Antarctica
The discovery of 'real' Antarctica
Antarctic geography
A short interlude - using the Internet for research
Antarctic climate
How Antarctica became ice covered

Chapter 5 Perception and reality - the 'invisible' ecosystem

The Southern Ocean
Antarctic habitats
Ecosystems from top to bottom: leopards and leopard seals
The 'grass of the sea'
Krill - an 'invisible' herbivore
The blue whale - a marine anteater?
Production and biomass - putting some numbers into the ecosystem
The ice-ocean ecosystem
Planet engineering with plankton

Chapter 6 Exploitation to the endgame: Antarctic governance

Exploitation continues apace
Understanding the impacts of unsustainable developments: The Discovery Investigations
The International Whaling Commission
A modern land rush: territorial conflicts in Antarctica
The post-war human invasion
Antarctic tempers rise
Peace breaks out: The International Geophysical Year of 1957-58
The Antarctic Treaty
The failure of the Convention on the Regulation of Antractic Mineral Resource Activities (CRAMRA)
Antarctica today


The World Factbook 2004

The World Factbook 2004 (Antarctica)

Alliance of Small Island States

Small Island Developing States

US Department of State: Handbook of the Antarctic Treaty System

The Antarctic Treaty

Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

British Antarctic Survey

CCAMLR (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources)

CDIAC (Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center)

Greenpeace International

International Whaling Commission

Round Earth: Flat Maps

UNEP Islands Web Site: Biodiversity resources in small island developing states

World Wildlife Fund

All Routes Block 1 Links

Back to OU

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Block 2 Biodiversity and EcosystemsBlock 3 Climate Change: From Science to Sustainability
Block 4 Sustainability and Water ManagementBack to U316

16th January

Decided to do a BLOG.

15th January 2005

It is impossible to get 'ahead' with this course, as the student website doesn't open until 27th - therefore, we cannot do the 'Activities'. However, until the website is 'unlocked' for students, there is a 'taster version' available to all - and it's possible to do the first Activity from there.

Activity 1.1

Part A

Task 1

(1) Find:

the population of the Maldives

the total length of the coastline

We are told that we could first take a look at the OU ROUTES page and do a search for "island". OK. (This is kind of babying - but perhaps there are some students who aren't all that familiar with surfing the web and using search engines). Alright. As forecast, the search results include:

the United Nations Sustainable Development site

the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) site, which provides basic data on islands, including the Maldives


the World Factbook site, published by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as a reference source for the US Government, which provides fairly detailed statistics and information about every nation in the world

Choose the most promising. Mmm - I'll try the SIDS site first.

OK, Population = 244,989

Total length of coastline = 644 km

Now, I should tap these figures into the boxes - but as this is a 'taster', perhaps I'll wait until the 'actual' website opens - maybe you get points or something.

(Of course, it's not all going to be as easy as this! :))

Task 2

(Now using a search engine)

a site promoting the Maldives as a tourist destinationVisitMaldives.Com
an intergovernmental site (e.g. an international organization that offers information on the Maldives) World Factbook (Maldives)
an activist or non-governmental organization (NGO) site that offers information on the Maldives Bluepeace Maldives.org
a news database. Try to find one that contains at least one article on environmental problems in the MaldivesTopix.net (link to: Low Elevation Helps Maldives in Tsunami (at Kansas.com!!)