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EV2011 - The Case for Sustainability

Credit points: 3
Year: 2014
Student Contribution Band: Band 2
Administered by: Sch of Earth & Environmental Sciences (pre 2015)

This subject will review some of the most pressing sustainability issues facing the world today. Using a range of case studies from within Australia and around the world, students will come to understand the complex and interdisciplinary nature of sustainability problems. The case studies will demonstrate the inter-dependency of ecosystem functions and services (eg climate, soils, biodiversity) and humanity's interactions (and impacts) with these. Case study examples will be drawn from notable priority areas: population; water and sanitation; energy; health; agriculture; land degradation; biodiversity decline; and, climate change and sea-level rise. The practical/tutorial sessions will provide students with additional insights to these and introduce some of the techniques utilised by practitioners involved in sustainability assessment including: data identification, management and interpretation; impact assessment; working with complex systems; ecological foot-printing; life-cycle analysis; and, techniques for 'triple-bottom-line' (ecological, social, economic) reporting.

Learning Outcomes

  • to develop an understanding of the inter-dependency of ecosystem functions and services;
  • the ability to select and use appropriate tools and technologies;
  • to develop an understanding of the most pressing sustainability issues (environmental/ecological, social and economic) both globally and in Australia; and;
  • to develop the capacity to think critically and systematically across ecological, social and economic dimensions;
  • to promote an understanding of humanity's interactions and impacts with the earth's resources.
Prerequisites: 12 CREDITS AT LEVEL 1


Cairns, Internal, Study Period 2
Census Date 28-Aug-2014
Coordinator: Dr Colin MacGregor
Lecturers: <Person not found>, Dr Charles Clarke, Dr Segun Osunkoya.
Workload expectations:
  • 26 hours lectures
  • 8 hours practicals
  • 8 hours fieldwork
Assessment: end of semester exam (50%); essays (20%); practicals, tutorials & field exercises (30%).

Note: Minor variations might occur due to the continuous Subject quality improvement process, and in case of minor variation(s) in assessment details, the Subject Outline represents the latest official information.