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REN8101 Environment, Society and Sustainability

Semester 1, 2015 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Agric, Comp and Environ Sciences

Contents on this page


Examiner: Andy Le Brocque
Moderator: Joachim Ribbe

Other requisites

Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at <//>.
Students who have enrolled in or completed REN1201 Environmental Studies cannot enrol in this course.


As the effects of population pressure, unsustainable resource use and pollution increasingly influence global social and economic stability and quality of life, an understanding of the biophysical environment, social and political aspects, and current global issues is essential for future resource managers. This course aims to develop an understanding of the nature of the biophysical environment, the causes and symptoms of environmental degradation, corrective actions and sustainable alternatives.


This course provides a general introduction and overview of the emergence of environmental issues at the global scale and covers such topics as the physical environment, biological diversity, and human impact on the natural environment. Issues examined from a global perspective include food and fibre resources, water resources, energy production and use, mining, fishing and forestry, atmospheric pollution, climate change, urbanisation and waste management. The principles for sustainable development are introduced and possible future management of resources and the environment are discussed.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the factors contributing to global and national environmental problems;
  2. demonstrate an appreciation of the inter-relationships between ecological, social and economic aspects which make up modern environmental issues;
  3. demonstrate an understanding of the processes involved in human interactions with the environment;
  4. integrate knowledge of the biophysical and social environment into the examination of historical and current environmental issues;
  5. critically evaluate, as case studies, current local and global issues in environment and possible solutions.


Description Weighting(%)
1. The Global Crises 15.00
2. Global Issues in the Environment 40.00
3. Society & Environment 15.00
4. Sustaining the Future 30.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Miller, GT 2014, Living in the environment, principles, connections and solutions, 18th edn, Thomson Brooks/Cole, Pacific Grove, CA.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Botkin D & Keller E 2014, Environmental science: earth as a living planet, 9th edn, John Wiley and Sons, Inc, New York.
  • Cunningham W & Cunningham, MA 2012, Environmental science: a global concern, 12th edn, McGraw Hill, New York.
  • Elliott, L 2004, The global politics of the environment, 2nd edn, Palgrave MacMillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire.
  • McConnell R & Abel D 2008, Environmental issues: an introduction to sustainability, 3rd edn, Pearson - Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
  • UN Development Programme, UN Environment Programme, World Bank & World Resources 2000, World Resources 2000 - 2001:, People and ecosystems: The fraying web of life, World Resources Institute, Washington, DC.
  • Wright R & Nebel B 2008, Environmental science: toward a sustainable future, 10th edn, Pearson - Prentice Hall.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assignments 40.00
Directed Study 50.00
Examinations 2.00
Private Study 64.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 60 20 23 Mar 2015
ASSIGNMENT 2 60 40 08 May 2015
2 HR RESTRICTED EXAMINATION 120 40 End S1 (see note 1)

  1. Examination dates will be available during the Semester.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. It is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    Candidates are allowed access only to specific materials during a Restricted Examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the restricted examination for this course are: writing materials (non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination). Students whose first language is not English, may, take an appropriate unmarked non-electronic translation dictionary (but not technical dictionary) into the examination. Dictionaries with any handwritten notes will not be permitted. Translation dictionaries will be subject to perusal and may be removed from the candidate's possession until appropriate disciplinary action is completed if found to contain material that could give the candidate an unfair advantage.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to USQ via electronic assignment submission on the course website. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be produced within five days if required by the Examiner. In the event that a due date for an assignment falls on a local public holiday in their area, such as a Show holiday, the due date for the assignment will be the next day. Students are to note on the assignment cover the date of the public holiday for the Examiner's convenience.

  2. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete-Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete-Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  3. Students must use the assignment template (.doc or .docx document) provided on the course Website for electronic submission of assignments. The templates include an assignment cover page and marking criteria and must be submitted in a Microsoft Office Word 2007 compatible format.

  4. In accordance with Faculty of Sciences and USQ regulations, applications for extensions to assignment due dates must be made in writing to the Examiner before the due date. Applications must be accompanied by appropriate supporting information.

  5. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide. //