Environment and Society in a Changing World



About Module 6

Food and agriculture are important for one simple reason: Everyone eats. Without food, we could not survive, let alone do anything else. And there are a lot of people around the world - more than eight billion. This means that there is a lot of agriculture going on in order to produce a lot of food. Finally, there are concerns about whether our agriculture can persist into the future. All this means that food and agriculture are crucial aspects of sustainable development around the world.

In this module, we are going to learn about some major facets of food and agriculture as they relate to sustainable development and other important individual and societal issues. We'll see how food is produced and how it affects both our health and the natural environment. We'll consider a variety of ethical and policy issues raised by food and agriculture. And we'll consider how agriculture can be sustained into the future.

What will we learn in Module 6?

By the end of Module 6, you should be able to:

  • discuss what industrial agriculture is and the social and environmental impacts that it has;
  • explain the unique issues raised by the use of livestock animals;
  • describe connections between food-agriculture systems and nutrition;
  • discuss major societal issues in food choice and policy.

What is due for Module 6? 

Module 6 has an unusually large number of required readings. These readings are all quite short, generally one to two pages. A large number of short readings has been selected to present you with a breadth of perspectives. A Written Assignment is also due this week drawing from this module and the previous. Check Canvas for due dates and to submit.

Module 1: Lesson Assignments
Requirement Location Submitting Your Work
Reading Assignment: The Global Food System Food and Agriculture Systems No submission
Reading Assignment: Detonator of the Population Explosion Industrial Agriculture No submission
Reading Assignment: USGS Fact Sheet Industrial Agriculture No submission
Video Assignment: The Meatrix Livestock's Long Shadow No submission
Reading Assignment: Impacts of Factory Farming Livestock's Long Shadow No submission
Reading Assignment: Healthy Eating Pyramid Nutrition No submission
Video Assignment: The Hidden Cost of Hamburgers Food Choice and Policy No submission
Written Assignment 3: Development and Agriculture Written Assignments Submit in Canvas


If you have any questions, please post them to our Course Q & A discussion forum in Canvas. I will check that discussion forum often to respond. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses if you, too, are able to help out a classmate. If you have a more specific concern, please send me a message through Inbox in Canvas.