Mankind transforms Earth in a variety of ways. Extraction and use of mineral and organic resources was essential for human survival from the beginning, but nowadays scale and speed of resource extraction becomes a major force, comparable to major geological transformations. Human activity not only interferes with biogeochemical cycles of many elements and compounds, it also creates huge amounts of pollution and wastes which are transforming natural habitats and living conditions for all living creatures including humans all arround the world. In order to get clear picture of resource use, pollution control and effects mankind needs proper and adequate means of monitoring of present state of the environment, which can also lead to proper predictions of the future developments.
The main aim of this course is to give an overview of the historical and current use of major mineral as well as soil and forest resources essential for human survival and development, and to show major environmental consequences of natural resource use. Use of available resources should be rational and efficient (e.g. waste management), especially in situation of scarcity or emergency (e.g. natural disasters). The Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) will be discussed into details and field trip to municipal solid waste incinerator and landfill will be part of the course. The concept of Disaster Management will be introduced and illustrated by case studies of (non)efficient use of available resources. The course will also provide understanding of major principles of pollution control and prevention, with special focus on precautionary principle. Students will be introduced to main principles of Earth observation systems and monitoring techniques, used for pollution control and disaster management.