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POL3013 Sustainability and Politics

Semester 1, 2019 Online
Short Description: Sustainability and Politics
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Commerce
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 090101 - Political Science
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Geoff Cockfield

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


This course is an explanation of the origins of, and institutional arrangements for, environmentalism and environmental policy that underpin efforts to move societies to a sustainable basis. It deepens the knowledge of those students who wish to work in areas related to sustainable business and development. The course will further develop students’ capacity for ethical research and inquiry and academic and professional literacy.


This course provides students with the means to understand the origin of conflicts over contemporary environmental issues and some of the key aspects of current debates about environmental problems. In the first part of this course, students will learn about the development of modern 'environmentalism' and in the second, how environmentalism as a set of ideas is expressed in mainstream politics. This is followed by a discussion of some of the major sectoral and discursive responses to dealing with environmental problems. In particular, students will consider the divergent arguments about the type and degree of policy and systemic change that is necessary to achieve an improvement in environmental outcomes. This course will provide students with a broad understanding of the history and politics of contemporary environmentalism and current directions in environmental policy, so they have the capacity to be informed participants in debates and decision-making that relate to the environment.


On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. outline the development of contemporary environmentalism as a set of ideas
  2. recognise and understand the assumptions and beliefs that underpin some of the major branches of modern environmental thinking
  3. outline the way in which environmentalism developed as a political movement and assess the current influence of environmental thinking within government
  4. undertake a case study in environmental politics or policy that involves both review and analysis
  5. outline and discuss the broad policy approaches that could be used to ameliorate environmental problems
  6. debate the relative merits of using different policy approaches to solving environmental problems
  7. place any environmental issue in the broad context of social and economic change and then be able to analyse the specific problems and discuss potential solutions
  8. demonstrate ethical research and enquiry and written communication skills by preparing and submitting materials collaboratively, suitable for publication.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to environmental politics and policy 5.00
2. The development of modern environmentalism 10.00
3. Green politics: environmental groups, political parties and community participation 15.00
4. Globalisation and environmental policy 15.00
5. Command and control policy approaches 15.00
6. Market-based policy approaches 15.00
7. From government to governance 15.00
8. Major challenges for environmental politics and policy. 10.00

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. (

There are no texts or materials required for this course.

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.
Beder, S 1996, The nature of sustainable development, 2nd edn, Scribe Publications, Newham, Victoria.
Dryzek, J & Schlosberg, D (eds) 2005, Debating the earth: the environmental politics reader, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 40.00
Directed Study 85.00
Private Study 40.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 - CASE STUDY 100 20 01 Apr 2019
ASSIGNMENT 2 - EXTENDED ESSAY 100 40 20 May 2019
EXAMINATION 100 40 End S1 (see note 1)

  1. This is a restricted examination. The total working time for the examination is 2 hours. The examination date will be available via UConnect when the official examination timetable has been released.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, 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. (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 must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course (i.e. the Primary Hurdle), and have satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), i.e. the end of semester examination by achieving at least 40% of the weighted marks available for that assessment item.

    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items and has passed the Primary Hurdle but failed to satisfy the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), or has satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised) but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.

    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4.2).

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

  6. Examination information:
    This is a restricted examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the examination for this course are:
    1. writing materials. These must be non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination.
    2. an unmarked non-electronic translation dictionary (but not technical dictionary). A student whose first language is not English may take a translation dictionary into the examination room. A translation dictionary 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. Referencing in assignments:
    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 at