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The objective of this course is to develop an understanding of the nature of major environmental changes at the global scale and to discuss a range of management strategies to improve societal resilience. Among the types of issues considered are population growth, food security, land degradation, global climate change and peak oil. Goals of the course include: To understand the role of natural systems, such as the atmosphere and the carbon and hydrological cycles, in global environmental change. To assess the factors that drive human behaviour in respect of global environmental issues. To investigate how people's activities affect natural systems, and the ways in which undesirable impacts can be regulated. To assess some key management strategies to enable society to be more resilient to future changes, and to introduce some methods for modelling, analysing and visualising global environmental change, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing Technology.
Planet Earth has been described as being in “imminent peril”. In fifty years, human population has more than doubled, and has exceeded 7 billion people. Such rapid population growth is placing our natural resources and the environment under increasing stress. Join us in an exploration of the intricate balance between people and the environment, and in evaluating the future of the world we live in. We will explore how natural systems work at the global scale. The concept of ‘tipping points’ will be examined in relation to the future of Earth’s climate system – are we really past the point of no return? The sensitivity of the world’s climate to change will be investigated, including the relative effects of natural processes and human activity. The role of human factors is central, including such concepts as ‘peak oil’, and whether Malthus’ theory of population growth is really correct. Only by appreciating interactions within and between the physical and human environments will the global community gain sufficient understanding of the Earth-atmosphere system to achieve more effective solutions for the future of the planet. Laboratory classes will provide the opportunity to explore the key issues and concepts in the lecture programme in a more practical way, by applying analytical tools to investigate the nature and causes of environmental change.
The goal of this course is to enable students to investigate some of the key global environmental issues of our time, as a means to better understanding and management of the risks that they present to us all.Students successfully completing this course should have developed a basic understanding of: scale, systems and interactions how natural systems, such as the atmosphere and carbon and hydrological cycles work the nature and causes of climate change the dynamics of population growth and resource consumption how human behaviours and natural processes interact, and how this knowledge can be used to mitigate or adapt to observed environmental changeStudents will also be able to use appropriate analytical tools, such as statistical, graphing and mapping techniques, to assess key elements of global environmental change.
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:
Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award
Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
Domestic fee $834.00
International fee $3,788.00
* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.
For further information see
Geography on the department and colleges page.