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    Fundamentals of the Earth’s environmental systems; human impact on natural systems at global, national and regional scales. Environmental hazards, concerns and issues; ethical, legislative, economic, and political responses and constraints.

    Environment and Society is designed to provide students from all disciplines and backgrounds with an awareness of current environmental concerns at the global, national and local levels. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding the relationship between people, their activities, and the biophysical environment, and on developing an informed understanding of the socio-cultural context of environmental problems. Acknowledging the range of values different people have for environmental systems and natural resources is critical to constructing meaningful responses to environmental challenges. Environment and Society requires students to critically think about environmental issues, ask questions about the evidence for such issues and make decisions based on the evidence put forward to support claims about the environment.

    About this paper

    Paper title Environment and Society
    Subject Environment and Society
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,173.30
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music, Science
    Teaching staff

    Course Co-ordinator:   Associate Professor Wayne Stephenson

    This paper is taught by a selection of academic staff from across the campus. This group of academic staff changes from year to year depending on availability. Academic staff to be confirmed in the course outline.

    Teaching Fellow: Ben Varkalis

    Paper Structure

    This paper consists of lectures and covers aspects of environmental change.

    Assessment is 50% internal (on-going during the semester) and 50% external (final examination).

    Teaching Arrangements

    Four lectures per week.


    Recommended text:
    Middleton, N. (6th ed) (2018). Global Casino: An Introduction to Environmental Issues. Routledge, London. 672p (two copies will be placed on close reserve in the Science Library).

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Communication, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Research, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper should have:

    • A greater awareness of the nature of environmental problems facing global, national and regional communities at the present
    • An understanding of some of the "drivers" of environmental change
    • An understanding of the range of values different people have for environmental systems and natural resources
    • An awareness of some of the institutional responses seen in New Zealand, and other countries, to cope with environmental concerns


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    L1 Monday 17:00-17:50 9-13, 15-22
    Tuesday 17:00-17:50 9-13, 15-22
    Wednesday 17:00-17:50 9-13, 15-22
    Thursday 17:00-17:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
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