The Environmental Challenge

The relationship between the environment and development has long been contested. Does protecting the environment compromise development and poverty alleviation? Are conservation and development aims incompatible or can there be win-win solutions?

This module explores arguments related to these debates and critiques that challenge the assumptions and provide alternative perspectives. Key debates and concepts such as limits to growth, sustainable development and planetary boundaries are introduced and critiqued.

The module uses case studies of experience in areas such as waste management, air pollution, water resource management and forest management to investigate challenges to achieving environment and development objectives, and to provide a link between theory and practice.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module the student should be able to:

  • Explain and critique key concepts associated with environment and development.
  • Analyse the links between environmental and developmental challenges.
  • Critically evaluate examples of interventions that seek to address both environmental and developmental challenges.


  • One 1,000 word written assignment (25%)
  • One 3,000 word written assignment (75%)