The unit provides students with the concepts and tools needed to make sense of the often contradictory and contested information on population, energy, and environment, and to encourage them to draw their own conclusions based on a comprehensive understanding of the linkages among demographic, economic, environmental, and resource systems. The activities are designed to develop students' appreciation of the global linkages among population, energy usage, and environmental impacts understanding of the basic concepts and dynamics of population growth understanding of energy usage and links to economic activity and growth and assessment of the enormous and value-changed complexity of the population-environment relationship. Throughout, students are challenged to think critically and practically about the own habits and lifestyles.
It also introduces students to some of the fundamental questions about the connections among population, resources and energy use, and environmental impacts. What factors have caused the enormous growth of population and energy use in the past? To what extent is population growth responsible for the environmental problems we see today? What opportunities are there for slowing population growth, per capita energy use, or the environmental harm caved by each unit of energy use?