Geographic Perspectives on Sustainability and Human-Environment Systems



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 - almost seven 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 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?

There are a number of required activities in this module. The chart below provides an overview of the activities for Module 6. For assignment details, refer to the location noted. Due dates are noted in Canvas. 

Note that Module 6 has an unusually large number of 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.

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
Learning Activity: Food Choice and Social Norms Learning Activity: Food Choice and Social Norms 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.