Environmental Systems and Societies
Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS) is an interdisciplinary group 3 or 4 course that is offered at standard level (SL) only. It is firmly grounded in both a scientific exploration of environmental systems in their structure and function and in the exploration of cultural, economic, ethical, political, and social interactions of societies with the environment. As a result of studying this course, pupils will become equipped with the ability to recognise and evaluate the impact of our complex system of societies on the natural world. The interdisciplinary nature of the course requires a broad skill set from pupils and includes the ability to perform research and investigations and to participate in philosophical discussion. The course requires a systems approach to environmental understanding and problem solving, promoting holistic thinking about environmental issues. To fully understand the environmental issues of the 21st century and suggest suitable management solutions, both the human and environmental aspects must be understood. Pupils will be encouraged to develop solutions from a personal and community scale, up to a global scale. They will develop an understanding that the connections between environmental systems and societies are diverse, varied, and dynamic. The complexity of these interactions challenges those working towards understanding the actions required for effective guardianship of the planet and sustainable and equitable use of shared resources.