• Class Number 3788
  • Term Code 3030
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof James Pittock
    • Dr Joe McCarthy
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/02/2020
  • Class End Date 05/06/2020
  • Census Date 08/05/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/03/2020
    • Jonah Lafferty
    • Joshua Coates
    • Louise Blessington
    • Ruben Steffens
    • Kate Lyons
SELT Survey Results

This course critically analyses the relationships between people and their environments. It focuses on the big issue facing the globe - the equitable and sustainable use of this planet's resources. This is a core course for understanding key environment and society concepts.

The course examines different ways of conceptualising the nature of resources, the environment and society. The contrasts and connections between scientific and social science theory and methods will be examined. Key factors mediating the inter-relationships between society and environment will be explored including resource use, population and technological change. Other key concepts critically explored will include social justice, equity and sustainability. These issues will be explored through case studies that will include: the role of Indigenous people in resource management, the international dimension of global climatic change, water and land degradation and biodiversity conservation.

The course has a strong skills-based focus with the aim of giving students the research and communication skills required to successfully complete later courses. It is a good course for enhancing skills for students returning to academic study. Particular attention will be given to critical thinking and writing skills. Staff from the ANU Libraries and the Academic Skills and Learning Centre will be involved in this element of the course. Guest speakers will be drawn from the many ANU Colleges and the government, community and business sectors.

Peer learning strategies and an additional, one day field trip are used to extend postgraduate students.

Note: Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates but are assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. ask good questions of guest speakers and of their peers in classroom settings, and to know what needs to be learned in order to answer these questions
  2. identify learning resources, and use those resources effectively
  3. continue inquisitive lifelong learning
  4. reflect on their own learning, demonstrate high levels of information literacy, and interact with others through communication skills that include speaking, writing and facilitating small groups
  5. analyse the global dimensions of environment-society issues.

Field Trips

Field trips. There is a compulsory field trip to ANU’s Kioloa coastal campus in the first semester teaching break. You can choose between two trips:

  • Trip 1: Leaving ANU 9 am Sunday 5th April and returning 5pm Tuesday 7th April
  • Trip 2: Leaving ANU 9 am Tuesday 7th April and returning 5pm Thursday 9th April

Field trip enrolment will be available through Wattle. There will be a modest payment (about $200) required to cover field trip costs (this can be paid separately to registration, online at ANU ScienceShop: https://scienceshop.anu.edu.au/). You will be required to sign a declaration acknowledging your agreement to standards for appropriate conduct during the field trip when you register for the field trip on Wattle. Anyone who will have difficulties attending the Kioloa field trip needs to discuss this with Jamie.

A field trip report will be required. In addition, for Masters and Honours Pathway Option students (optional), there is a second, non-residential field trip in Canberra on Saturday 28th March.

We don’t prescribe a text book for this course because we want students to engage directly with academic and authoritative government literature so that you develop independent research and analytical skills. The following influential publications involve key concepts and high level analysis of topics in environment and society. We do not directly assess whether you have read these texts but engaging with the concepts and issues they raise are core to doing well in this course. A number of the publications below are related and should be read together, e.g. Rockstrom et al. plus Raworth on a safe and just space for humanity.


Costanza, R., d'Arge, R., de Groot, R., et al. (1997). The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital. Nature, 387(6630), 253-260. doi:10.1038/387253a0


Dovers, S. (2013). The Australian environmental policy agenda. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 72(2), 114-128. doi: 10.1111/1467-8500.12013


Steffen, W., Richardson, K., Rockström, J., Cornell, S.E., Fetzer, I., Bennett, E.M., Biggs, R., Carpenter, S.R., de Vries, W., de Wit, C.A., Folke, C., Gerten, D., Heinke, J., Mace, G.M., Persson, L.M., Ramanathan, V., Reyers, B. and Sörlin, S. (2015) 'Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet', Science [online]. doi:10.1126/science.1259855 


Stern, D. I. (2004). The rise and fall of the environmental Kuznets curve. World Development, 32(8), 1419-1439. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2004.03.004

"The Tragedy of the Commons": The original essay by Hardin and some responses (eg. by Ostrom, a Nobel Prize winner) in Science at: http://www.sciencemag.org/site/feature/misc/webfeat/sotp/commons.xhtml


Turner, G. M. (2008). A comparison of The Limits to Growth with 30 years of reality. Global Environmental Change, 18(3), 397-411. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2008.05.001


The following publications are from Australian and international processes that are authoritative mainly because they involved experts reaching agreement and/or because they are endorsed by governments. They can mostly be accessed on the internet. Many are very long and to get the key information you may just read the summary section:

Bruntland, G. (1987). Our common future: The world commission on environment and development: Oxford: Oxford University Press. http://www.un-documents.net/our-common-future.pdf

IPCC (2014) Climate change 2014 synthesis report, IPCC, Geneva. http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/syr/

Jackson WJ, Argent RM, Bax NJ, Bui E, Clark GF, Coleman S, Cresswell ID, Emmerson KM, Evans K, Hibberd MF, Johnston EL, Keywood MD, Klekociuk A, Mackay R, Metcalfe D, Murphy H, Rankin A, Smith DC, Wienecke B (2016). Overview. In: Australia state of the environment 2016, Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy, Canberra. https://soe.environment.gov.au/theme/overview DOI 10.4226/94/58b65510c633b

National Sustainability Council. (2013). Sustainable Australia report 2013: Conversations with the future Canberra: Australian Government. http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/e55f5f00-b5ed-4a77-b977-da3764da72e3/files/sustainable-australia-report-2013-summary.pdf

Meadows, DH, Meadows, DI, Randers, J, & Behrens III, WW. (1972). The Limits to Growth: A Report to The Club of Rome (1972): Universe Books, New York. (Summary: http://www.ask-force.org/web/Global-Warming/Meadows-Limits-to-Growth-Short-1972.pdf )

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. (2005). Ecosystems and human well-being: synthesis. Washington, DC: Island Press. http://www.unep.org/maweb/documents/document.356.aspx.pdf

Raworth, K. (2012). A safe and just space for humanity. Can we live within the donut? Oxford: Oxfam. http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/dp-a-safe-and-just-space-for-humanity-130212-en.pdf

UNEP. (2012). GEO5. Global Environmental Outlook. Environment for the future we want. Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme. http://www.unep.org/geo/geo5.asp [GEO6 regional reports were released in 2016]

Recommended background: Make the short walk down to the National Museum of Australia and visit the Old New Land http://www.nma.gov.au/exhibitions/old_new_land/home exhibition.

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

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

General Information:

Lectures will be held on Mondays, 4pm – 5pm in the DNF Dunbar Physics Lecture Theatre

(Bld 39a). These will focus on key issues, theories and debates in environment and sustainable


Panel discussions will be held on Tuesdays, 2pm-4pm in the DNF Dunbar Physics Lecture

Theatre (Bld 39a). Normally, the first hour will include presentations by one to three guest experts

on their perspectives on key issues. The second hour will be a discussion of the issues with our

guest experts.


Participation and preparation = 10% of assessment. Tute tickets required for entry to shaded tutes.

Adjustments to delivery in 2020

Course delivery and assessment in 2020 was adjusted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Any information below that replaces what was published in the Class Summary for Semester 1, 2020 was approved by the Associate Dean Education (as is required after 10% commencement of a course). Where an activity or assessment is not referenced below, it remains unchanged.

Teaching Activities

  • Lectures and panels were presented online, as scheduled.
  • Field trips were replaced with video of the sites and activities.
  • Weekly discussions with panellists were done online and were optional.
  • Tutorials were done online.


Adjustments were made to assignment due dates; for details see the course Wattle site.

  • Oral presentation was done in the tutorial slot online.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Part 1 - Understanding environmental and social challenges Week 1: Lecture: Introductory lecture Panel: Geography as a way of seeing and changing the world Successful course participation Tutorial: Introductory tutorial Week 2: Lecture: How we think about resources, environment and society Panel: Catastrophism and cornucopianism Seeing the environment Tutorial: Ways of seeing the environment. Week 3 Lecture: none (public holiday) Panel: Sustainable development Tutorial: Managing common resources: Is there really a tragedy of the commons? Week 4 Lecture: Human dimensions to global change Panel: Understanding the state of Australia’s environment & shaping the future Tutorial: Just sustainability, then tertiary level research skills. Tuesday 25 Feb - There will be a welcome BBQ from 12 to 1pm in the Banks Courtyard between buildings 48 and 48A.
2 Part 2 - Particular challenges Week 5 Lecture: Australian rural sustainability Panel: Australian rural sustainability and essay writing Tutorial: Practicing what we preach? Walking tutorial around campus. Includes a visit to Acton grasslands on campus. Week 6 Lecture: Human dimensions to global change Panel: Indigenous land management Kioloa and Canberra field trips Tutorial: Kioloa and mapping tutorial 28 March - Compulsory Canberra field trip - all day Sunday 29th March: Submit essay plan by midnight. 10% of assessment.
3 Teaching Break Compulsory Kioloa field trip with lecturers, tutors and invited guests. In two groups: Trip 1: Leaving ANU 9 am Sunday 5th April and returning 5pm Tuesday 7th April Trip 2: Leaving ANU 9 am Tuesday 7th April and returning 5pm Thursday 9th April
4 Part 2 Particular challenges (continued) Week 7 Lecture: The Australian economy and environment change Panel: People and fire in Australia Tutorial: Student feedback session. Please sign up for a feedback session on your draft essay and/or learning portfolio. Week 8: Lecture: How do governments make decisions on the environment? Panel: How do governments make decisions on the environment? Tutorial: Ecologically sustainable development: How do we evaluate Australian case studies? Week 9 Lecture: Community participation and managing the Murray-Darling Basin Panel Discussion: Managing variability in the MDB Tutorial: Conflicting values: managing kangaroos. Discussion of perspectives from ACT Government, scientists, animal rights and wildlife trade advocates. Wednesday 15th April: Submit learning portfolio by midnight. 10% of assessment. Sunday 26th April: Submit field trip report by midnight. 20% of assessment 28 March - Compulsory Canberra field trip - all day
5 Part 3 Solutions and optimism Week 10 Lecture: Population and the environment Panel Discussion: Globalisation, development and the environment Good presentations Tutorial: Population and globalisation: exploring sustainability at national and global scales. Week 11 Lecture: Sustainable development in China Panel Discussion: Sustainable development in developing countries Tutorial: Draft presentation session. 2 min draft presentations and friendly class discussion. Last 30 min: sign up to the sheet if you want one on one feedback on your essay from your tutor. Week 12 Lecture: The state of ESD in Australia Panel Discussion: Optimism and pessimism Course conclusion: reasons to be optimistic about the future Tutorial: Final presentation session. Final 5 min presentations due in class in your tutorial room. Assessment by conveners and tutors. 17 May: Submit Canberra field trip report (10%) 27-29 May: Give final 5 min presentations in your tutorial. 10% of assessment. Friday 29th May: Submit essay by midnight. 30% of assessment

Tutorial Registration

Students will need to register for a weekly tutorial (starting Week 1) on Wattle.





Kate Lyons






Jonah Lafferty





Ruben Steffens






Joshua Coates






Kate Lyons






Jonah Lafferty





Ruben Steffens






Joshua Coates


Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Essay plan 10 % 29/03/2020 12/04/2020 2
Learning portfolio 10 % 15/04/2020 21/04/2020 4
Kioloa field trip report 20 % 26/04/2020 13/05/2020 3,4
Presentation 10 % 27/05/2020 29/05/2020 4
Essay 30 % 29/05/2020 28/06/2020 2,4
Tutorial Participation 10 % 29/05/2020 31/05/2020 1,3,4
Canberra field trip report 10 % 17/05/2020 27/05/2020 4

* 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 Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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 attend all tutorials. Furthermore, students are expected to have done the reading for tutorials. If you cannot make your tutorial, make arrangements to attend another one that week. Failure to attend more than four tutorials can render you liable to fail the course.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 29/03/2020
Return of Assessment: 12/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 2

Essay plan


Students are required to research and submit an essay of 2,000 words. The word count excludes the reference list, but includes in text referencing. Fenner School policies on late submission, academic honesty and word counts apply. You must use the Harvard referencing style.

Your final essay must include a minimum of 8 peer reviewed journal articles (written in English) although you are encouraged to have more. At least 4 of these articles must have been published in the last five years. You can also include less authoritative sources such as websites, media articles, etc where relevant, but this is additional to the peer review journal articles. The tertiary level research skills tutorial early in the course will help you learn how to find the best information, so have your topic / case study ready before then so that you can use the tutorial time to access the articles that you need for your essay.

In order to help you produce a high quality essay, you are first required to submit a short essay plan. We will assess this and give you feedback in time to improve your essay before it is submitted.

Essay question

Critically assess the following statement: "Managing the environment sustainably is about social choices as much as science"

Important readings

On the Wattle course page there is important information that you should read, including Fenner School policies on late submission, academic honesty and word counts, a guide to essay writing and feedback on what does and doesn't work in essays.

What is a case study?

Choosing a case study is about choosing a specific resource issue and or place to focus and frame your exploration of the essay question in and around. It sets a boundary or scope to your essay so that you can talk about the broader question in relation to a particular landscape or resource use issue. Scale is an important issue in the course and often the issues discussed during the course happen on a global scale. For a short essay like this it may be difficult or impossible however to effectively explore a global issue in all its complexity and interconnection. Focusing in on a specific landscape and or a specific resource issue will give you a clear focus for doing your research and dealing with an appropriate level of complexity. Focusing the essay to a specific landscape will also allow you to talk about the specific issues and stories of the people there and the interconnections between groups of people with each other, the land, environment, ecology of that place. Picking a case study gives you a real place with particular conditions in which to analyse the quote, by researching the literature relevant to that specific place and resource/environment issue.

Essay plan exercise

You must submit an essay plan of 1,000 words (maximum; not including a Harvard style references). In your essay plan, you focus on finding information relevant to your essay and you start outlining your argument. This exercise requires you to learn to:

1. Select recent and relevant items using research library catalogues.

2. Access refereed scholarly journal literature using online and electronic index systems (such as Expanded Academic, Sociological Abstracts &/or APAIS),

3. Use and report on refined research techniques that enable you to focus your search and locate scholarly articles of high relevance.

4. Write annotated bibliographies in your own words for a book or a refereed journal article.

5. Explore the kind of information available from the Internet, including from government sights such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

6. Use the Harvard system, sometimes called in-text referencing or the author-date system to create a bibliography

Essay plan instructions and format

1. Data for your essay

Locate relevant two books (or book chapters from an edited collection), two articles and two websites of each as examples of your progress in preparing your essay (we hope that you will have explored more by the time you submit this exercise). List your sources using the Harvard (author/date) referencing conventions.

1a. Books

Two books or book chapters published relevant to my topic are:



In a few sentences, critically assess the value of these sources for your essay:



Briefly describe your search strategy for finding these books.

1b. Peer-reviewed journal articles:

Two refereed scholarly journal articles I located on my topic are:



In a few sentences, critically assess the value of these articles for your essay:



Briefly describe your search strategy for finding these articles.

1c. Authoritative information on the internet:

Two authoritative sources available on the internet are:



In a few sentences, critically assess the value of these sites for your essay:



What makes you confident that these sites are authoritative?

2. Essay focus and argument:

2a. Argument: Complete the following sentence: This essay will argue that ...

2b. Structure: In half-a-page to one page, provide a structure for your essay. This should be presented as a series of dot-points.

You must fill out and attach the Fenner assignment cover sheet, including your word count.

Weighting: 10%

Length: 1,000 words

Learning outcomes: 2

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 15/04/2020
Return of Assessment: 21/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 4

Learning portfolio

Task description – what is a learning portfolio?

The learning portfolio assignment is a collation and revision of the material that you prepare ahead of each tutorial from weeks 2 to 5 as the tutorial tickets.

The learning portfolio task is designed to help you connect your existing knowledge with ideas, concepts, and issues that you are exposed to in the course. The learning portfolio will help you to make sense of the course by drawing upon what you have already learned through life experience, other courses, and in earlier lectures and panels of this course, by providing you with a structured means for recording and connecting your learning. Ultimately keeping a record of your engagement with the course as you move through it will allow you to bring lessons together to build an overall view of the course and its key issues.


In each of weeks 2-5 you must have undertaken the tutorial reading, written answers for the questions for that week in ~400 words, and hand in a hardcopy of this ticket on arrival at the tutorial. This hard copy will not be assessed for its content. However you cannot participate in the tutorial until you have prepared the ticket, so as to add value to the discussion with other students who have done their homework. If you do not attend the tutorial with a ticket you will lose part of your participation grade.

In the tutorial you will hopefully develop your ideas. You are encouraged to update and edit your tutorial question answers before collating and submitting them as your learning portfolio. Overall, the word limit for the learning portfolio is 1,600 words less figures, tables and references.


We are looking for evidence in your learning portfolio of deep and reflexive learning. Reflection is a way of thinking. It means thinking critically about the ideas presented in course material, weighing up the arguments and reacting to them in logical prose that shows your engagement. Detailed description of concepts, definitions and facts does not constitute adequate engagement with course material: your reflections need to be analytical.

Taking a ‘thematic’ approach is key to constructing excellent analytical reflections. A theme will connect various elements of course content (lectures, tutes, readings etc) with a common idea or thread. Illustrating these connections will be pivotal to communicating your reflections well. For the reflective learning, we want you to describe how your ideas about environment and society have or have not changed as a result of the ideas presented in the course. We want to see how you have understood course concepts and related them to your own experiences of the place/s that you come from, your life and community, and other studies that you are undertaking. Short examples help. For deep learning we are looking for examples of how you have linked different concepts presented in the course and used them to develop new ideas about sustainability with the people and places relevant to you.

You will prepare a number of figures (drawings) in the tutorials. You are encouraged to scan or redraft these to illustrate points that you make in the text (and of course, figures are not included in the word count). Remember the academic rule that all figures must have captions below them, and for tables a caption above the data. References are not required for this assignment, but if you are talking about a tutorial reading, e.g. Measham & Baker (2005), then you should cite it formally (and the reference list is in addition to the word limit). Lectures should be referenced with the name and date of particular presenters.

Further, we ask you to add to the portfolio a table with one question for each ENVS6101 panel in weeks 2-5 (not every speaker in the same panel). Briefly explain why your question is significant. We are looking for evidence of thinking in your questions. This table is in addition to the 1,600 word count for the assignment.

Here are the tutorial preparation instructions for weeks 2 to 5:


ENVS6101 week 2 tutorial: Perspectives on sustainability


Key concepts: Different people have different values and perspectives on the environment and society. This makes reaching agreement on how to manage the environment more challenging.


Tutorial overview: In this week's tutorial we will focus on how different perspectives and values are important in decisions around sustainability. It brings together content from the readings, the lecture on planetary boundaries and the great acceleration, and lecture on ways of seeing the environment. We will examine different perspectives by considering the importance of climate change and how society should respond. We will also reflect on the implications of our own ways of seeing the environment.


Tutorial preparation

·        Read ‘combining people, places and learning’ by Measham & Baker (2005) on Wattle.

·        Have a quick look at the six seasons recognised by the Bininj/Mungguy people of Kakadu, on Wattle.

·        Read ‘Why we resist the truth about climate change’ by Prof. Clive Hamilton on Wattle.

·        Read ‘The Davos apocalypse’ by Adj. Prof. Bjorn Lomborg on Wattle.

·        Look at the ‘Tool box of sustainability’.


Less important but entertaining

This video encourages us to adopt a different 'way of seeing'. Watch ‘Babakiueria’ via the link on Wattle (29 min). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUMpPgMGCe8


Tutorial ticket questions

Write around 400 words responding to these questions:

1.      Reflecting on your life, what place has most influenced your own understanding of the environment and sustainability and why?


2.      Why do you think it might be important, in the context of environmental management in Kakadu and more broadly, to know about the Bininj/Mungguy seasons?


3.      What are some key scientific and socio-economic questions that emerge when you consider the scale of impacts and responses to climate change?

ENVS6101 week 3 tutorial: Ethics, equity and the environment

Key concepts: Geography is about who gets what, where and when. This tutorial explores equity, quality of life and justice in terms of access to and management of natural resources and the environment.


Tutorial overview


One hour (first hour for #1 groups, second hour #2 – see page 4 list): Ethical considerations are central to many of the issues you’ll explore as part of the course. During this tutorial you will examine the concepts of equity, equality and justice in the context of the sustainability discourse. Additionally, this tutorial will contribute to your personal assessment and selection of potential case studies for your major essay.


One hour (first hour for #2 groups, second hour #1): Will be conducted by library staff in the Hancock library. Here, we’ll look at tertiary level research and how to find some great resources for your essays.


Tutorial preparation

·        Read the Agyeman journal article about justice and environmental sustainability, ‘Just sustainability’: the emerging discourse of environmental justice in Britain?”

·        Consider the elements of justice and sustainability introduced in previous lectures: on colonialism, sustainable development and poverty reduction.


Optional reading

Read the sections “Inequality” and “Vulnerability and sustainability” in the chapter ‘Good things don’t always come together’ from the United Nations Human Development Report 2010


Tutorial ticket questions

Write around 400 words responding to these questions:

1.      Discuss if it makes sense to you that more equal societies tend to be more creative, in terms of innovations to address environmental issues?

2.      Having considered the article and lectures above, as well as reflecting on your own life, what social and environmental conditions do you think make for a “quality life”? To what extent are we entitled to such a life?


To prepare for the session in the Hancock Library, also provide a case study for your essay and in two or three sentences outline how your case study addresses the essay question (see course handbook section for essay question). What kinds of information will you search for in the library to elaborate on this case study? This does not need to be included in your learning portfolio because it is part of your essay assignment preparation.


ENVS6101 week 4 tutorial. Managing common resources: Is there really a tragedy of the commons?


Key Concepts:

·        Tragedy of the commons

·        Equity

·        Governance

·        Management of social-ecological systems


Tutorial overview


Garret Hardin's classic article, “The Tragedy of the Commons” is perhaps the most influential paper ever written in the area of resource management. It has been applied to various common resources such as global fisheries to explain the common collapse of these resources. This week's tutorial will encourage you to draw out the ideas and relevance of Hardin's ideas in the context of contemporary resource management. The tutorial will ask you to think critically about Hardin's notion of the tragedy of the commons, exploring conditions under which it may occur but equally requiring you to think about the conditions which may prevent such a tragedy from occurring. Do resources users need an external governance institution to develop and enforce rules and regulations or can local communities ever self-organise and manage resources sustainably?


Tutorial preparation, read on Wattle:

·        Garrett Hardin's original article ? Tragedy of the Commons

·        Ian Angus' critique ? The Myth of the Tragedy of the Commons

·        Feeny, et al., attempt an evidence based, balanced critique ? Feeny D., 1990. Tragedy of the commons: Twenty two years later.


Tutorial ticket questions

Write around 400 words responding to these questions:

1.      What is a commons?

2.      Provide two examples of communal systems that you have been a part of. What determined whether the communal systems that you identified worked or not?

3.      Which arguments do you find most convincing from the three readings and why?

4.      Can we always expect the tragedy of the commons to occur?

Week 5 Tutorial Preparation: Ecological footprint and practicing what we preach


Key concepts: Everything we do has positive or negative implications for the environment. Measuring the state and use can help us better manage the environment. The ecological footprint is one measure which has limitations and benefits. Societal norms (institutions) may aid or constrain implementation of more sustainable practices. Organizations need plans to turn knowledge about the environment into more sustainable practices.


Tutorial preparation


Assess your personal ecological footprint


Go here ? Ecological Footprint Calculator and calculate your personal ecological footprint.

The new version of the tool does not yet contain an option for Southeast Asia. You can try running your 'lifestyle' on other regions. But you can make your own avatar! More information about the calculator can be viewed here ? About the ecological footprint calculator.


Consider ANU’s institutional footprint


Visit and explore at least two of the following links:

·        ANU Green and ANU draft Environmental Management Plan 2016-2020

·        Sustainability videos produced by ANU Green

·        ANU Sustainability walking tour (we’ll do some of this in our tutorial; download the app)

·        The ANU Sustainability Learning Community

·        NUS Office of Environmental Sustainability

·        Harvard’s Green Campus Initiative

·        The Food Co-Op Shop where you can buy local produce and unpackaged goods.


Tutorial ticket questions

Write around 400 words responding to these questions:

1.      What was your ecological footprint and how can you reduce it?

2.      Summarise two strategies that educational institutions like ANU are implementing to reduce their overall ecological footprint. Do any of these strategies challenge social

or institutional “norms”? (That is, change the way people behave or think?)

3.      What are some of the constraints and opportunities of our environment (where we live) on our ability to reduce our environmental impact?

Weighting: 10%

Length: 1,600 words maximum

Learning outcomes: 4

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 26/04/2020
Return of Assessment: 13/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 3,4

Kioloa field trip report

Task description - Kioloa field trip report

Your task is to identify and evaluate a key sustainability issue or issues that you experience on the Kioloa field trip. You should relate this issue or issues to key themes discussed in the course.

At Kioloa our field trip will explore ‘through the soles of our feet’ the use and management of many natural resources and the perspectives of different groups in society on what constitutes sustainable environmental management. You have access via Wattle to many data sources regarding people and the environment in the Kioloa region. Please identify one or more key issues, e.g. management of marine resources, forests, kangaroos or forests, conservation of endangered species, or urban development, as the focus of your assignment. You will prepare a map prior to going to Kioloa and should enhance it at Kioloa. You should include a relevant map that you have prepared in your assignment (and other graphics if desired and relevant). A base map is available in electronic and hard copy formats on Wattle. Your evaluation of this issue(s) should include the perspectives of the different stakeholders and some ideas on processes that may best enable societal agreement on future management. E.g. “Permanent local residents may want … yet this conflicts with the views of holiday house owners because …” E.g. “Due to the conflicting views of these stakeholders, the Shire Council should commission an expert panel to work with the stakeholder groups to clarify their issues and …”

Your evaluation should demonstrate your understanding of key themes emerging from the lectures, panels, and tutorials during the course (e.g. the debate on the tragedy of the commons, or on progress). However, you should not comment on each lecture, panel and tutorial but key issues that you feel emerged across these different classes, relevant to sustainability at Kioloa. The assignment is to be referenced.

Weighting: 20%

Length: 1,000 words Learning outcomes: 3 & 4

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 27/05/2020
Return of Assessment: 29/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 4


Individually you are to present a Prezi ( http://prezi.com/ ) or PowerPoint presentation on what you have learnt in the course by exploring a number of key themes which have emerged from the course and how those themes connect into, and enhance our thinking in the larger context of a 'Geography of sustainability'. A practice session will take place in your usual tutorial room in your week 11 tutorial. The presentations will take place in your usual tutorial room in your week 12 tutorial.

Suggested format (please feel free to devise your own approach):

Ø Introduce yourself and your approach to the presentation;

Ø Explore a maximum of 3 of the most important course concepts or themes which emerged for you during the semester;

Ø At least one of these concepts or themes should be from your last three tutorial tickets, namely sustainable development, conflicting values, population and/or globalisation;

Ø Outline any key questions that the course raised for you;

Ø Think about how your key themes and questions link and connect into a larger context of 'geography of sustainability': what is the importance of your set of ideas for understanding and moving to sustainability on this planet?

Ø Make sure you end with a strong concluding statement.

Talk to your tutor about how they would like your presentation to be submitted the day before, so they may all be loaded onto a single computer for a fast transition between presenters.

There is a 10% penalty if you are still talking at 5m 30s and you will be told your time is up, and asked to sit down.

Weighting: 10%

Length: 5 minutes

Learning outcomes: 4

Assessment Task 5

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 29/05/2020
Return of Assessment: 28/06/2020
Learning Outcomes: 2,4


Your essay should be submitted on TurnItIn. See the discussion in the essay plan section above for relevant rules and policies.

Weighting: 30%

Length: 2,000 words

Learning outcomes: 2 & 4

Assessment Task 6

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 29/05/2020
Return of Assessment: 31/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4

Tutorial Participation

Students are expected to attend all tutorials. Furthermore, students are expected to have done the reading for tutorials. If you cannot make your tutorial, make arrangements to attend another one that week. Failure to attend more than four tutorials can render you liable to fail the course.

Tutorial preparation 'tickets'

Preparing for tutorial discussion is a crucial part of this course as tutorial participation and preparation makes up a proportion of your final mark. The tutorial environment is where much of the learning in this course takes place through peer interaction and knowledge sharing. Fundamental to your success in this learning environment is your preparation before entering the tutorial. If you don't come prepared you cannot fully contribute to the peer learning experience. For this reason tutorial preparation is mandatory and it requires that you read the required material for each upcoming tutorial, which can be found on Wattle, and answer the questions for each tutorial before attending.

You must bring two hard-copies of your tutorial preparation to the tutorial each week as your 'ticket' into that tutorial. Your tutor will ask you to leave - they really will - if you have not done this. Each ticket should be less than one page in length (~400 words) in total (no matter how many questions are asked).

You must complete all tutorial “tickets” even for tutorials that you could not physically come to so as to show that you have done the required preparation and are keeping on top of course material. They are to be submitted as part of your learning portfolio and field trip report. For each missing "ticket" you will lose 1% of the final grade. 

Some tips for good preparation are:

Ø answering all set questions;

Ø try to engage with the course content in your answers;

Ø show critical analysis of set readings and questions;

Ø develop original responses to the questions;

Ø keep your preparation to 1 page (12 point font).


Tutorial participation and preparation marking criteria

Your tutorial participation and preparation mark will be calculated by your tutor in consideration of the following criteria, during tutorials in weeks 2-12:

Ø Submission of a hard-copy of your tutorial preparation ('ticket') to your tutor;

Ø Attendance at tutorials;

Ø Participating in coherent discussion;

Ø Knowing when to stop speaking (not dominating conversation);

Ø Active involvement;

Ø Constructive and tactful engagement with ideas from other classmates;

Ø Keeping tutorial on track;

Ø Listening attentively to others;

Ø Relevance of contribution;

Ø Respect and sensitivity to other ideas;

Ø Raising points you do not understand from the course content so the group can discuss (peer learning).

Due date: Throughout semester

Weighting: 10%

Length: Participation in 11 tutorial sessions

Learning outcomes: 1, 3 & 4

Assessment Task 7

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 17/05/2020
Return of Assessment: 27/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 4

Canberra field trip report

Your field trip report will comprise a discussion of one of the following three questions:

  1. Looking at the evolution of Canberra’s housing, what policies are required to improve sustainability in residences in future?
  2. How should the ACT and Federal governments respect the values local peoples attach to Stirling Park with the needs of the national capital?
  3.  Considering Stirling Park as an example, how should the ACT and Federal governments better manage public lands to recover threatened biodiversity?

Your report should take the form of a logical and sustained argument in prose that uses the Canberra field trip as a case study to explore a generic public policy challenge and recommend one or more changes. You may include photos, figures, maps, tables and references but these are not compulsory.

Weighting: 10%

Length: 800 words

Learning outcomes: 4

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

All assignments must be submitted on-line via the Wattle course site on the TurnItIn software links before the due date. This is your guarantee that you have submitted the essay by the due time as your time of submission will be recorded on Wattle. TurnItIn checks your submitted text against that of all other students and any document on the internet gobally to ensure originality. This software also enables course staff to provide feedback to students online.


Use the ANU Fenner School’s Harvard style referencing system for your work. A detailed description of this style can be found in the referencing document on Wattle. The ANU Fenner School’s policies of loss of marks for submitting text that is over the word limit or late will apply (-5% per day late). All policies regarding academic honesty, submission of work late penalties and word limits, can be found on Wattle


Assignments cannot be resubmitted on TurnItIn. Your assignment will always have a TurnItIn originality score greater than zero because it will match legitimate text, including the assignment cover sheet, assignment questions, properly referenced quotes and references. Course staff will not penalize you for this. If you have genuinely written the assignment in your own words and properly referenced quotes then you have nothing to worry about.

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

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission permitted. 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 returned via Wattle.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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 of assignments allowed until the due date.

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).

Prof James Pittock
6125 5563

Research Interests

Environmental policy linkages between biodiversity, climate, energy, food and water.

Prof James Pittock

By Appointment
Dr Joe McCarthy
6125 4499

Research Interests

Dr Joe McCarthy

Jonah Lafferty
6125 4499

Research Interests

Jonah Lafferty

Joshua Coates
6125 4499

Research Interests

Joshua Coates

Louise Blessington

Research Interests

Louise Blessington

Ruben Steffens
6125 4499

Research Interests

Ruben Steffens

Kate Lyons
6125 4499

Research Interests

Kate Lyons

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions