• Class Number 8122
  • Term Code 2960
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr John Pezzey
    • AsPr John Pezzey
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/07/2019
  • Class End Date 25/10/2019
  • Census Date 31/08/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 29/07/2019
SELT Survey Results

As society grapples with the challenges of sustainability in the face of social, economic and environmental change, it is important that future leaders and decision makers are well informed about the most up-to-date, relevant research.  In this course you will engage with experts undertaking leading-edge research on a range of current issues in sustainability and environment-society interactions, and will consider applications of this knowledge to future research directions, policy development and environmental and resource management. The application of this knowledge internationally and in Australia will be considered through the frameworks of the Millennium Development Goals (and their successors), the ‘safe and just living space for humanity’ concept, the UNEP Global Environment Outlook, and the Rio+20 The Future We Want outcomes including the emerging Sustainable Development Goals.  The course also offers the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of the implications of current research insights relevant to a particular issue of your choice.  Examples of themes considered include

• sustainability and sustainable development

• climate adaptation and mitigation policy

• consumption and behaviour

• disaster management

• environmental economics

• environmental humanities

• environmental policies and institutions

• global environmental governance and international trade law

• urbanisation and urban systems

The course is structured as a series of intensive, small-group discussions based on preparatory reading.  These intensive discussions are led by experts in the field and focus on exploring the most up-to-date research and thinking on each theme from a variety of perspectives, with particular emphasis on relevance to your experience and professional interests.  You are also expected to draw on the extensive and varied opportunities to learn from world-leading experts available at the Australian National University and across Canberra, by attending and reporting on relevant seminars, workshops and other forms of research communication external to the course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:


On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to: 


1. Identify, explain and apply the theoretical foundations of a series of society-environment related issues. (LO1)

2. Critically explore the links within and between key themes and issues in sustainability and environment-society interactions. (LO2)

3. Discuss a variety of disciplinary perspectives on current issues, across political science, economics, law, human ecology and the humanities. (LO3)

4. Critically analyse and articulate the role of science in decision-making, including policy and practice. (LO4)

5. Interpret and communicate the implications of current research for decision-makers. (LO5)




Research-Led Teaching

A large majority of the course conveys research findings. All guest presenters are leading researchers in their own fields, and their presentations will survey their own specified topic/discipline in order to convey where thinking is at, new ideas and research evidence, major arguments, etc

Required Resources

The resources below provide overall context for the course, and are the source of the ‘policy proposal’ that students will critique for Assessment Task 3 in the final two weeks of the course. Additional, advanced reading material will be supplied and expected to be read for specific themes explored by guest presenters during the course. Note: students are not expected to read all of the larger reports below, but should use these resources to understand the context of the course and of global debates.

1. Lindenmayer, D, Dovers, S, and Morton, S (2014) Ten Commitments Revisited: Securing Australia’s future environment. 2nd edition. Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing. Available online in ANU library, with selected pages on Wattle.

2. Raworth, K (2012) A Safe and Just Operating Space for Humanity. Oxfam Discussion Papers, Oxford: Oxfam. http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/dp-a-safe-and-just-space-forhumanity-130212-en.pdf.

3. UN (United Nations) (2012) The Future We Want: Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Outcomes of the Conference. A/CONF.216/L.1. New York: UN.


4. UN (2015). Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Document A/RES/70/1, adopted 25/9/15, accessed from https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/ transformingourworld. [Formal list of SDGs = Sustainable Development Goals]

5. Le Blanc, David (2015). "Towards integration at last? The Sustainable Development Goals as a network of targets." Sustainable Development, 23, 176-187.

Also useful in thinking about how to critique the logic and feasibility of an environment/sustainability policy proposal for Assessment Task 3 (and maybe Task 4) is this, with selected pages available on Wattle: Dovers, Stephen and Karen Hussey (2013). Environment and Sustainability: A Policy Handbook, 2nd edn. Routledge. 256pp.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Convenor's written comments on all Assessment items, all of which are returned to students

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

To enhance learning and to access a wider array of perspectives, and to complete Assignment 1 (see below), students are required to attend at least 3-4 seminars, public lectures, conference presentations, etc outside the course and to report on the research and ideas presented at 3 of them.

The scope of what these seminars are about is wide, but the report needs to connect what is presented to the themes of this course: environmental policy and management, and environmental aspects of sustainable development.

The disciplines these seminars reflect could be from a wide range of social sciences and humanities, but less commonly from the natural sciences unless the topic is explicitly about links to society, policy and governance. Students should begin looking for seminars early, most obviously by checking the following events websites:


http://fennerschool.anu.edu.au/news-events/events (and look at the Fenner Newsletter each week, as some seminars listed there are not on the external News & Events webpage)








Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction, discussion of assessment and deadlines, class reps. Steve Dovers: Research, science and public policy
2 Jonathan Pickering: Deliberative democracy
3 David Lindenmayer: Forest biodiversity conservation and forest policy
4 Mark Howden: Evolution of climate change governance
5 Xuemei Bai: Urbanisation
6 Michael Vardon: Environmental accounts
7 Anna Lukasiewicz: Environmental justice
8 Arianto Patunru: Trade and environment
9 Bob Costanza: Measuring progress
10 Student presentations
11 Student presentations
12 Student presentations and online SELT evaluation

Tutorial Registration

There are no separate tutorials for this course.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Briefing reports from your attendance at research presentations outside course contact hours (task 1 of 2) 10 % 22/08/2019 05/09/2019 1,2,3,4,5
Briefing reports from your attendance at research presentations outside course contact hours (Task 2 of 2) 20 % 27/09/2019 11/10/2019 1,2,3,4,5
Critique of a recent or proposed policy 25 % 10/10/2019 04/11/2019 1,2,4
Research synthesis report 45 % 31/10/2019 28/11/2019 1,2,3,4,5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Students are expected to participate and contribute on an on-going basis throughout the semester.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 22/08/2019
Return of Assessment: 05/09/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Briefing reports from your attendance at research presentations outside course contact hours (task 1 of 2)

Imagine that, as part of your work, you are encouraged to attend research presentations (seminars and conferences) relevant to environmental policy and management and sustainable development, and are required to prepare brief reports on the content and relevance of these to your colleagues in your organisation.

You write up reports on 3 presentations attended (though you're advised to attend 4-6, to give yourself a good choice), or a conference session of that many presentations. Report on 1 seminar for Task 1, and 2 other seminars for Task 2. Each report will describe the presentations, summarise its content and any audience feedback, discuss its relevance to environmental policy and management, and give some references/sources/links to further information on the topic covered.

Max. 350 words per presentation (excluding headings, references, etc), i.e. max. 350 words for Task 1 and max. 700 words for Task 2.

Value: 10% for Task 1 and 20% for Task 2

It is intended that reports will be graded and returned within 2 weeks from submission.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 27/09/2019
Return of Assessment: 11/10/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Briefing reports from your attendance at research presentations outside course contact hours (Task 2 of 2)

Please see details in assessment task 1.

It is intended that reports will be graded and returned within 2 weeks from submission.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 10/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Critique of a recent or proposed policy

Critique a policy or proposed policy chosen from course Background Readings or from current environmental policy debates (ABC Environment, www.abc.net.au/news/environment/, and Guardian Environment, www.theguardian.com/au/environment, are good online sources to check).

During weeks 10-12, in sessions starting at 12 noon, give a c. 10-minute presentation, backed up by a 1-page briefing note with maximum 600 words (excluding references) handed out at the start of your presentation.  In these sessions, students will select and critique one (or more than one, related) specific recent or proposed policy change(s) (not just a general, desirable goal or aspiration like Zero hunger), from the perspective of one of the theme discipline/s explored in the class, using perspectives identified from class presentations and readings other than the Background Readings. Critique the logic and feasibility of the proposal, in a 10 minute oral presentation and a one page briefing handout (bring 2 copies)

Value: 25%

Students will present on dates which will be discussed in class. The due date indicates the approximate date the first presentations are due, the return date indicates the intended date when graded briefing handouts will be returned.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 45 %
Due Date: 31/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Research synthesis report

Report on recent research on a topic of your choice that is relevant to the themes of the course. 2500-3000 words.

The topic will be approved by the course convener to ensure relevance to the course and that it is feasible to do. Aim and audience: synthesise current and emerging thinking in a discipline/set of related disciplines in terms of the implications for environment or sustainable development policy and management, suitable for a senior, non-specialist decision maker (government, private sector, non-government organisation). This report will be readable and clear, but be a referenced, rigorous summary of recent literature.

Value: 45%

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) as submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be returned either by email or via Wattle.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Resubmission is not permitted.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

AsPr John Pezzey

Research Interests

Environmental And Resource Economics, Economic Development And Growth, Environment Policy, Ecological Economics, Welfare Economics

AsPr John Pezzey

Thursday 13:00 16:00
AsPr John Pezzey

Research Interests

AsPr John Pezzey

Thursday 13:00 16:00

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