• Class Number 2835
  • Term Code 3430
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Jamie Pittock
    • Beck Pearse
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 19/02/2024
  • Class End Date 24/05/2024
  • Census Date 05/04/2024
  • Last Date to Enrol 26/02/2024
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. We examine 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. Guest speakers will be drawn from the many ANU Colleges and the government, community and business sectors.

Honours Pathway Option

This course participates in the Honours Pathway option run by the College of Science. Further information and expressions-of-interest will be sought at the commencement of the semester.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate understanding of different perspectives proposing to explain causes and consequences of environmental change.
  2. Demonstrate understanding of awareness of theories explaining and informing environmental governance and the formulation of policy instruments.
  3. Demonstrate understanding of social, cultural and linguistic diversity in environment-society relations in Australia and the world.
  4. Contribute to class discussions and demonstrate a capacity to evaluate and respond constructively to different viewpoints.
  5. Produce a high standard of written material, demonstrating independent research skills.

Field Trips

Field trips

Attending a field trip is compulsory. The 3 day Kioloa field trip will run in two groups 10-12 or 12-14 April this year and will cost ~$200. Videos can be made available for those who cannot travel with a reasonable excuse.

Please see the College of Science - Field Trips page for more information.

See course outline published on Wattle.

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction – Ways of seeing the environmentMonday 19 February Tutorials run in week 1.Required readingMeasham, Tom & Richard Baker (2005), 'Combining people, place and learning', in M. Keen, V.A. Brown & R. Dyball (eds), Social Learning in Environmental Management: Towards a Sustainable Future, Abingdon: Routledge.Castree, Noel, David Demeritt, Diana Liverman & Bruce Rhoads (2016), 'Making sense of environmental geography', in, A Companion to Environmental Geography, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
2 The myth of terra nullius & Australia's developmentMonday 26 February Required readingLangton, Marcia (1996), 'What do we mean by wilderness?: Wilderness and terra nullius in Australian art [Address to The Sydney Institute on 12 October 1995.]', The Sydney Papers, 8(1): 10-31.Ens, Emilie J, Max Finlayson, Karissa Preuss, Sue Jackson & Sarah Holcombe (2012), 'Australian approaches for managing ‘country’ using Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledge', Ecological Management & Restoration, 13(1): 100-107.
3 Earth system science & the AnthropoceneMonday 4 April Required readingSteffen, Will, Wendy Broadgate, Lisa Deutsch, Owen Gaffney & Cornelia Ludwig (2015), 'The trajectory of the Anthropocene: The great acceleration', The Anthropocene Review, 2(1): 81-98.Castree, Noel (2015), 'The Anthropocene: A primer for geographers', Geography, 100(2): 66-75.
4 Sustainable development & institutionsMonday 11 March (online recording, Canberra Day.) Required reading Hardin, Garrett (1968), 'The tragedy of the commons', Science, 162(1243-1248).Dietz, Thomas, Elinor Ostrom & Paul C Stern (2003), 'The struggle to govern the commons', Science, 302(5652): 1907-1912.
5 Conservation, inequalities & trade-offsMonday 18 March Required readingHirsch, Paul D, William M Adams, J Peter Brosius, Asim Zia, Nino Bariola & Juan Luis Dammert (2011), 'Acknowledging conservation trade-offs and embracing complexity', Conservation Biology, 25(2): 259-264.Fletcher, Robert (2012), 'Using the master's tools? Neoliberal conservation and the evasion of inequality', Development and Change, 43(1): 295-317.
6 Maps and fieldworkMonday 25 March Required readingHazen, Helen D & Leila Harris (2006), 'Power of maps: (Counter) mapping for conservation', ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies,, 4(99-130).Katz, Cindi (1994), 'Playing the field: Questions of fieldwork in geography', The Professional Geographer, 46(1): 67-72.
7 Growth & limitsMonday 15 April Required readingsForsyth, Tim (2016), 'Population and natural resources', In Richardson, D et al (eds) International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment and Technology: People, the Earth, Environment and Technology, New York: Wiley. pp. 1-6.Victor, Peter (2010), 'Questioning economic growth', Nature, 468(7322): 370-371.
8 Government decision-makingMonday 22 April Required readingDovers, Stephen (2013), 'The Australian environmental policy agenda', Australian Journal of Public Administration, 72(2): 114-128.Gauja, Anika (2015), 'The state of democracy and representation in Australia', Representation, 51(1): 23-34.
9 Green economics & valuing natureMonday 29 April Required readingRaworth, Kate (2017), 'Why it's time for Doughnut Economics', IPPR Progressive Review, 24(3): 216-222.Costanza, Robert, Gar Alperovitz, Herman E Daly, Joshua Farley, Carol Franco, Tim Jackson, Ida Kubiszewski, Juliet Schor & Peter Victor (2015), 'Ecological economics and sustainable development: Building a sustainable and desirable economy-in-society-in-nature', in M. Redclift & D. Springett (eds), Routledge International Handbook of Sustainable Development, London: Routledge.
10 Democracy & environmental rightsMonday 6 May Required readingDryzek, John (1995), 'Democracy and environmental policy', in R. Eckersley (ed.), Markets, the State and the Environment: Toward Integration, Melbourne: Macmillan Education Australia.Eckersley, Robyn (2019), 'Ecological democracy and the rise and decline of liberal democracy: Looking back, looking forward', Environmental Politics, 29(2): 214-234.
11 Policy implementation in the Murray Darling BasinMonday 13 May Required readingConnell, Daniel. (2011) 'Water reform and the federal system in the Murray-Darling Basin', Water Resources Management, 25: 3993-4003.Alston, Margaret, Kerri Whittenbury, Deb Western & Aaron Gosling (2016), 'Water policy, trust and governance in the Murray-Darling Basin', Australian Geographer, 47(1): 49-64.
12 Review - hope in actionMonday 20 May No tutorials

Tutorial Registration

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

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Field trip report (3000 words) 40 % 24/05/2024 2,3,4
Tutorial notes and questions 20 % * 1,2,3,4
Tutorial quizzes 40 % * 2,3,4

* 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 Integrity 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 Skills website. 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.


There are no exams

Assessment Task 1

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 24/05/2024
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4

Field trip report (3000 words)


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 about sustainable environmental management.    

Further instructions

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 using Harvard style. 10% lee way will be given on the word count. The word count excludes your reference list.

Assessment criteria

  1. Key sustainability issue/s identified and well evaluated
  2. Evaluation draws on and demonstrates knowledge of key course concepts and peer-reviewed literature
  3. Stakeholder perspectives are well identified
  4. Practical processes for developing collective agreement on future management are described
  5. High quality annotated Kioloa plan map
  6. Nicely crafted report structure with coherent flow of ideas
  7. Well-written with no major grammar, punctuation or spelling errors
  8. Accurate referencing applied in Harvard style

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Tutorial notes and questions

Due: Before your tutorial on the week you're writing about e.g. if your tutorial is 2pm Wednesday, then your tutorial notes are due before 2pm.

Submit on Wattle.

Students will sign up for this task in weeks 1 and 2. It's your responsibility to make sure you sign up for a week and to liaise with the other students working on that week too. Your tutors will assist.


Between weeks 2 and 11, 2-3 students will develop a 2-page 'tutorial paper' synthesising what you learned about the lectures and readings set for that week. The purpose of this exercise is to develop your reading and note-taking skills. And to ensure that each week, our tutorials have a subgroup of students who are prepared and ready to ask prompting questions to the class.

Further instructions for the tutorial paper

Your tutorial paper should be an individual submission and cover the entire week's content. You should refer to all of the following: readings, Monday lectorials, and any discussion you participated in or witness during the lectorials.

You are free to lay out the tutorial paper in any format you like, as long as it is made up of full sentences and paragraphs, with a logical flow of ideas. Your tutorial paper must do more than summarise readings. You should use your writing to interrogate the ideas and issues discussed that week.

Use reflective prose and key quotes and terms from the lectures and readings to discuss the key ideas your learned about. Use the 2 pages to compare differences in the perspectives, ideas and methods the people you have learned from present with. Comment on their key arguments and insights, how use evidence and interpret environmental issues. Comment on your perspective in relationship to the ideas. Has your view changed in response to a lecturer or a paper? How? If the information is old news or not convincing for you, what are the more important questions and ideas that should be discussed in your view?

Finish your tutorial paper with 2 questions for the class to discussion. Be prepared to share those questions with the tutorial you go to that week.

Assessment criteria

  1. Cogent summary of the concepts and ideas in the lecture and readings
  2. Accurate use of sources, with well-chosen quotes
  3. Insightful commentary on class discussions in the relevant week
  4. Reflexive questions demonstrating the directions of your independent thinking
  5. Text is well written with attention to grammar, punctuation and spelling
  6. Accurate Harvard referencing

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4

Tutorial quizzes

Due: During weekly tutorials

Students will be required to complete a series of quizzes in-class during Weeks 2-11. Please see Wattle for further information.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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

No hardcopy submissions are accepted in this course.

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

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be 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 Jamie Pittock
6125 5563

Research Interests

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

Prof Jamie Pittock

By Appointment
Beck Pearse

Research Interests

Beck Pearse


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