Do you sometimes feel that you need to know more about the eco subject you are most interested in? Perhaps you want to convince friends, those on social media or climate change sceptics, and you need more information at your fingertips.
So one of the advantages of Covid-19, especially in these cold wet months, is the availability of some excellent free online university courses. The universities are producing short 10-20 hours’ courses, possibly, amongst other reasons, to encourage people to enrol onto their degree courses. The content is probably taken from their existing courses but adapted for a wider audience.
So two portals you could use:
- FutureLearn offers links to the courses by many world-leading universities;
- OpenLearn – free courses from the Open University.
Currently, on these two websites alone, there are at least 9 courses that cover ecology, urban planning, climate change and food production. Please bear in mind that some courses are time-limited and can be withdrawn after a period of time.
You are encouraged to interact with other students and find out about solutions you may not have thought about. So let us take the example of transport planning to show how these courses can help strengthen your position. Locally the emphasis is on the current ‘traffic mix’, which in Eastbourne is centred around the car. The planners are fully aware that continuing with this model will only lead to future congestion. A course on urban planning and transport can make you aware of the alternative planning techniques such as backcasting or Avoid-Shift-Improve – approaches used across Europe that fundamentally change the thinking around mobility and accessibility. The kinds of change we need here. Without this knowledge, we can be easily persuaded that increasing the number of cars in our region is the only option.
If we are interested in Eastbourne meeting its carbon reduction target 2030, we need to make sure we grow our knowledge and understanding of the possible changes we might campaign on.
Bespoke & Cycle East Sussex, EEAN Transport Group
Image: Vlada Karpovich, Pexel