Module 4: Soil Fertility & Food Security

Ecologise has consistently driven home that humanity needs to prepare for unprecedented environmental, economic and socio-political upheaval and uncertainty in the 21st century. In this new series, we showcase free short-duration online courses that focus on these various emerging crises and possible responses. Created by the world’s leading universities, they offer a good starting point to explore these complex challenges.

Note: The courses listed below have been selected from a large and growing list of free online courses, aimed at learners of all levels, and available in various formats. We urge the reader to explore the various options on offer online before selecting one that suits you.

Free online courses to understand the key challenges of our times

Module 4: Soil Fertility & Food Security

Soils: Introducing the World Beneath Our Feet
Created by: Lancaster University
Hosted by: Futrure Learn

Taught by: Carly Stevens

Soils are a fantastically complex environment, teeming with life and supporting our most fundamental environmental processes. However, they are increasingly under threat and our soil resource is a finite one. Starting from what soil is and how soils form we will take a journey through the soil, not just learning about the basics of soil science but also about life in the soil. Then we will look at why soil is so important and investigate the topic of soil security – a topic relevant to the past and present. Finally we will learn about how and why soils are under threat both at a local and global scale. View details

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Citizen Science: From Soil to Sky
Created by: The University of Dundee
Hosted by: Futrure Learn
Taught by: Naomi van der Velden & Dr Drew Hemment

Where can you find all sorts of useful and important information about your environment? You might be surprised to know it’s beneath your feet, in the soil. On this course you will discover interesting things about your own soil and become part of the new GROW Citizen Observatory European-wide community. You will collaborate with other growers and scientists to discover the impact global soil practices have on major issues like the environment and food growing. View details 

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Sustainable Soil Management: Soil for life
Created by: Wageningen University
Hosted by: edX
Taught by: Dr. Coen J. Ritsema, Dr. ir. Michel Riksen & Dr. Jerry Maroulis

What you’ll learn:
Why soils and sustainable soil management are so important to life on earth
How soils form, their functions and basics of soil degradation
Threats to and caring for: Soil water relations, soil fertility and soil biodiversity
Effects of and solutions for: Soil erosion, soil pollution and soil salinization
Socio-economic and policy aspects of sustainable soil management
How you can help protect this critical natural resource
View details

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Global Food Security: Addressing the Challenge
Created by: Lancaster University
Hosted by: Future Learn
Taught by: Bill Davies

In this course, we introduce the issue of food security and explore some of the different ways in which it has been described both in research and in practice and consider key concerns for the future. We will examine how food has shaped our environmental and social landscapes. We will see that, while everyone would agree that food security is ‘a good thing’, ideas about what it means in practice and how it should be achieved vary tremendously. Proposed developments to address global food insecurity range from technological inventions in the efficacy of large-scale agriculture through social and cultural innovations in local food production and consumption. View details

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Intro to Permaculture Design
Created by: Oregon State University
Taught by: Andrew Millison

Permaculture design is a method of landscape planning that can be applied to anything, from a home garden or farm to a city block or entire village. This free permaculture course uses design principles from nature itself and takes into account such things as how indigenous people used the land; how water, fire and wind flow through the land; and how soil, water, vegetation, buildings and habitats can be managed in a stable and enduring way. In this free, online permaculture course, you will learn about the process, ethics and principles of permaculture design while diving into climate-specific design elements through interactive technology, videos, graphics, and readings. The course is designed to benefit everyone regardless of your learning style, time commitments or available technology. View details

Free online courses to understand the key challenges of our times

Module 1: Climate Change – Challenges and Solutions  

Module 2: Energy – Fossil Fuels And Our Future

Module 3: Water – Scarcity, Contamination, Conservation 


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