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EV1011 - Introduction to Sustainability

Credit points: 3
Year: 2012
Student Contribution Band: Band 4
Administered by: Sch of Earth & Environmental Sciences

This subject provides an introduction to sustainability and is the foundation subject for students undertaking the undergraduate degree in sustainability, or who have an interest in sustainability and sustainable development. It explores the underpinnings of the ecological, social and economic challenges confronting humanity by considering the history, philosophy, ethics, and political developments that have shaped current interpretations of sustainability. The nature of 'wicked' problems is explored alongside sustainability principles (eg 'weak' and 'strong' perspectives) and concepts such as environmental justice and inter- and intra-generational equity are reviewed. Some of the challenges and solutions to meeting sustainability objectives across the so-called 'triple-bottom-line' (ecological, social and economic) are discussed. The practical/tutorial sessions will develop themes introduced in the lectures and introduce some of the technical tools and methods required to understand and consider sustainability and sustainable development, including multi-disciplinary approaches and complex systems.

Learning Outcomes

  • to provide a brief overview of the sustainability challenges facing humanity;
  • to introduce basic concepts of sustainability;
  • to provide an understanding of the history and development of the sustainability paradigm;
  • to provide an overview of the philosophy and ethics of sustainability;
  • to develop multidisciplinary oral and written communication skills.

Graduate Qualities

  • The ability to adapt knowledge to new situations;
  • The ability to think critically, to analyse and evaluate claims, evidence and arguments, and to reason and deploy evidence clearly and logically;
  • The ability to find and access information using appropriate media and technologies;
  • The ability to evaluate that information;
  • The ability to select and organise information and to communicate it accurately, cogently, coherently, creatively and ethically;
  • The ability to reflect on and evaluate learning, and to learn independently in a self directed manner;
  • The ability to manage future career and personal development;
  • The ability to read complex and demanding texts accurately, critically and insightfully;
  • The ability to speak and write clearly, coherently and creatively;
  • The ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences;
  • The ability to lead, manage and contribute effectively to teams;
  • The ability to use online technologies effectively and ethically.


Cairns, Study Period 1, Internal
Census Date 22-Mar-2012
Coord/Lect: <Person not found>.
Workload expectations:
  • 26 hours lectures
  • 24 hours - Practicals/tutorials
  • 8 hours fieldwork
Assessment: end of semester exam (50%); essays (20%); tutorial and 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.