Natural Resource Use in the 21st Century (NRU)

Graduate Program (& Advanced Certificate) Status

Course Level: 
Course Open to: 
Students on-site
Remote students
Academic Year: 
US Credits: 
ECTS Credits: 
Course Description: 

Course Description: 

Continuing population growth, especially in developing countries is raising demand for such basic commodities as food, water, fuels, wood, metals, construction materials, etc. At the same time, new technologies and new discoveries are expanding our views on availability of certain resources, such as oil or natural gas. Opening of new resource bases is often associated with development of new extraction and production practices with negative effects for the environment. Increasing production of electronic equipment and shift towards green energy raise demands for rare metals which are needed in increasing quantities. Therefore, it is becoming critical to consider current and future prospects of consumption and availability of natural resources from environmental perspective.

The course is aiming to look at the current state of use of renewable and non-renewable resources and associated environmental costs such as pollution, soil degradation, vegetation transformations, etc. Some critical issues for the resource use in the future will be discussed, like  to what extent re-cycling can decrease demand in some raw materials, especially metals. Different scenarios of future resource use depending on the projected trajectories of economic development in 21 century will also be discussed

Learning Outcomes: 

The course’s main aim is to provide students with an understanding of:

  • The role of various resources for human well-being, and what alternatives we can expect in the 21 century,
  • Existing methods of evaluation and assessment of availability of different types of resources
  • Environmental consequences of usage of different types of resources, both renewable and non-renewable

Written assignment on one selected topic (80%) and presentation (20%)