Food and the Future Environment

Goals and Learning Objectives


Goals and Learning Objectives


  • Describe food systems as coupled human-natural systems.
  • Define and describe different phases in the history and development of food systems within human history.
  • Describe key interactions (e.g. drivers, feedback) that exist within coupled human-natural systems (CHNS).
  • Explain key human and natural system factors that explain the emergence of food system phases in human history, using a CHNS framework.
  • Start researching and choose a capstone region.

Learning Objectives

After completing this module, students will be able to:

  • Describe the major features of hunter-gatherers’ use of food and the environment.
  • Define and describe the domestication of plants and animals in early agriculture.
  • Define and give examples of spatial diffusion, adaptation, niche construction, and carrying capacity in environment-food systems.
  • Define and describe each of the four (4) principal historical-geographic periods of environment-food systems.
  • Give examples of early domesticated plants and animals and their region of domestication.
  • Within a Coupled Human-Natural Systems framework, relate fundamental drivers and feedbacks in natural and human systems over prehistoric and historical time to the development and spread of agriculture and other changes in food systems over time.
  • Relate the origins and current dominance of agriculture to the concept of the Anthropocene period presented in module one.