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Unit of study_

GEOS2121: Environmental and Resource Management

We are in the midst of an unprecedented global ecological and climatological crisis, and consequently need to transform our social, political and economic systems. This crisis - its causes, its effects, and its solutions - are geographically unevenly distributed and situated. Therefore, this unit of study uses geographical concepts to consider what has caused this global crisis, how we should think about the relations and interactions between humans and their environments, and what some strategies are for managing our environment and resources to negotiate this predicament. Using examples focused in Australia, Asia, and the Pacific region, students will learn how to integrate environmental, economic, political, social and cultural considerations and perspectives, and how to evaluate environmental and resource management policies and ideas.


Academic unit Geosciences Academic Operations
Unit code GEOS2121
Unit name Environmental and Resource Management
Session, year
Semester 2, 2021
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Remote
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

GEOS1X01 or GEOS1X02 or ECOP1X01
Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Rebecca Cross,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Take-home short release) Type D final exam Final exam
Short answer and essay component
40% Formal exam period 3 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Participation Tutorial participation
10% Ongoing 50 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8 LO9
Assignment Essay
25% Week 05
Due date: 09 Sep 2021 at 23:59
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO5 LO1 LO4 LO8 LO9
Assignment Fieldtrip report
25% Week 09
Due date: 14 Oct 2021 at 23:59
1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO5 LO7 LO6 LO8 LO9
Type D final exam = Type D final exam ?
  • Essay: Students will write an essay that answers one of the provided essay questions. 
  • Fieldtrip report: Students are required to undertake a self-guided fieldtrip in their local government area. Students will then write a report about identified environmental issues and provide recommendations for their local government area. 
  • Participation:  Attendance and participation in lectures and tutorials/practicals is expected in this unit.  Participation will be assessed during the tutorials (weeks 2-7 and weeks 10-12) and practicals (weeks 8 and 9). You are expected to prepare for tutorials by carefully reading and considering the required readings (see unit of study handbook). The readings will be provided electronically through the Canvas website. Attendance will account for 5 marks in total, with 0.5 marks deducted for each session not attended. Failure to attend at least 8 of the 11 tutorials/practicals without an approved Special Consideration application may result in an Absent Fail grade.  A series of non-weighted quizzes and exam-style questions are available to students during the tutorials to provide feedback on their own participation, progress and learning. 
  • Final exam: The exam will include both short answer questions and an essay component. Short answer questions will be graded based on ‘what you know’ and on the student’s ability to clearly communicate their understanding. The essay component of the exam will assess knowledge, ability to construct an argument, clarity of language and originality. The exam could cover any material presented during the lectures and through the required readings.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

At HD level, a student demonstrates a flair for the subject and comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the unit material. A ‘High Distinction’ reflects exceptional achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates the ability to apply subject knowledge to novel situations.


75 - 84

At D level, a student demonstrates an aptitude for the subject and a solid knowledge and understanding of the unit material. A ‘Distinction’ reflects excellent achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates an ability to apply the key ideas of the subject.


65 - 74

At CR level, a student demonstrates a good command and knowledge of the unit material. A ‘Credit’ reflects solid achievement and is awarded to a student who has a broad understanding of the unit material but has not fully developed the ability to apply the key ideas of the subject.


50 - 64

At P level, a student demonstrates proficiency in the unit material. A ‘Pass’ reflects satisfactory achievement and is awarded to a student who has threshold knowledge of the subject.


0 - 49

At F level, a student does not demonstrate proficiency in the unit material. A ‘fail’ reflects unsatisfactory achievement and is given to a study who does not have threshold knowledge of the subject.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to the unit: how do we integrate the environmental, social, cultural, economic, and political? Lecture (1 hr)  
What is nature? Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 02 Indigenous and local environmental knowledges and management Lecture (1 hr)  
What is natural resource management? Protection versus sustainable use Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 03 What is natural resource management? Policy and practice in Australia Lecture (1 hr)  
What is natural resource management? Agriculture and NRM Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 04 Capitalism and the environment: Opportunities, contradictions and limits Lecture (1 hr)  
Capitalism and the environment: Ecosystem services and offsetting Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 05 Bodies: population and scarcity Lecture (1 hr)  
Bodies: environmental and social justice Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 06 Introduction to the virtual field trip Lecture (1 hr)  
Fieldtrip Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 07 Oil, coal and the Petrostate: can we live with(out) them? Lecture (1 hr)  
Energy and renewables: Can we engineer a sustainable grid for all? Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 08 The international climate regime Lecture (1 hr)  
Carbon markets and carbon farming Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 09 Climate change, disasters and development Lecture (1 hr)  
Managing environmental risk Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 10 Commons and commoning: practicing collective action for collective good Lecture (1 hr)  
Rights for nature and rights for humans Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 11 Caring for Country and Indigenous enterprise development Lecture (1 hr)  
Guest lecture TBD Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 12 The regenerative agricultural revolution Lecture (1 hr)  
Sustainable transitions and holistic thinking Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 13 Nature based approaches to sustainable and resilient development Lecture (1 hr)  
Conclusion and exam preparation Lecture (1 hr)  

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. articulate different constructions of nature and key concepts in environmental thought, and how these are socially and culturally specific
  • LO2. demonstrate the social, political, economic constitution, and outcomes, of environmental processes, change, and management
  • LO3. identify the uneven distribution of environmental ‘goods’ and ‘bads’ and the reasons for this outcome
  • LO4. critically interrogate different environmental and resource management theories and practices and outline their assumptions
  • LO5. describe key environmental and resource management challenges and their causes, particularly climate change
  • LO6. demonstrate skills in analysing and interpreting primary research data
  • LO7. present analysis of an environmental or resource challenge in a report (rather than essay)
  • LO8. organise and communicate a coherent argument in written, oral and inter-personal forms
  • LO9. demonstrate a sense of responsibility, and think critically and independently as a future scientists and global citizen.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
Feedback from previous years have been incorporated into the program.


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