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REN8101 Environment, Society and Sustainability

Semester 1, 2022 Online
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Agriculture and Environmental Science
Student contribution band : Band 2
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 18 May 2022


Examiner: Andy Le Brocque


Enrolment is not permitted in REN8101 if REN1201 has been previously completed.


As the effects of population pressure, unsustainable resource use and pollution increasingly influence natural systems, global social and economic stability and quality of life, an understanding of environmental issues is essential. This course aims to develop informed and positive attitudes toward environmental issues, an understanding of the causes and symptoms of environmental degradation and biodiversity loss, and of corrective actions and the policies that support them.

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 of sustainability are introduced and possible future management of resources and the environment are discussed.

Course learning outcomes

On completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. describe ecological theories central to global and regional environmental problems;
  2. analyse the human species evolution, population growth and contemporary demographics in the context of environmental impacts and biodiversity loss;
  3. critically review human interactions with the environment and the concept of the ecological footprint;
  4. assess human impacts in the context of: land and water resources; energy and minerals; urbanisation and wastes; and atmosphere and pollution;
  5. integrate the social, political, and economic aspects and biophysical aspects of the environment to contribute to a more sustainable future.


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

Miller, G.T. & Spoolman, S.E (2019), Living in the Environment, 20th edn, Cengage Learning Inc, Boston, MA, USA.

Student workload expectations

To do well in this subject, students are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week including class contact hours, independent study, and all assessment tasks. If you are undertaking additional activities, which may include placements and residential schools, the weekly workload hours may vary.

Assessment details

Approach Type Description Group
Weighting (%) Course learning outcomes
Assignments Written Essay 1 No 20 1,3,4
Assignments Written Essay 2 No 40 1,4,5
Examinations Non-invigilated Time limited online examinatn No 40 1,2,3,4,5
Date printed 18 May 2022