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An exploration of major environmental changes happening at the global scale. With a particular focus on climate, ice, freshwater, and ocean processes, we investigate how geospatial monitoring and other tools are used to address global environmental challenges. We look at how human activities are interacting with Earth systems, and aim to empower people to improve environmental and societal resilience at a range of scales.
2021 Covid-19 Update: Please refer to the course page on AKO | Learn for all information about your course, including lectures, labs, tutorials, field trips and assessments.Global Environmental Change takes a geographic (holistic) approach to examining key environmental challenges. As a first step we examine how natural systems operate, for example the hydrological system and the climate system, and then we explore how these system interact. Once natural systems, and ways to monitor and measure them, are understood, we then consider the roles of humans within these systems. Since global environmental challenges cannot be solved by only considering one part of Earth’s system, this course takes an integrated approach. We only have one Earth, so let’s learn how to look after it! Thinking about global environmental change can be daunting. So through-out this course, we explore both challenges and solutions, demonstrating how innovative thinking, new technologies, and you as future scientists have an important role to play in Earth’s future.
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. 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.After completing this course you should be able to:Describe the evidence for, and nature and causes of global environmental changeExplain in detail how relevant natural systems, for example the atmosphere and the hydrological cycles, operate and interact.Demonstrate how human behaviours and natural processes interact, and explain how this knowledge can be used to mitigate or adapt to observed 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.
Employable, innovative and enterprising
Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.
Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.
X3 one hour lectures per weekX6 two hour labs in selected weeks
Online quizzes x5 - 25%Group presentation - 10%Individual report - 25%Exam - 40%
Readings, sourced from journal papers, books and other literature, will be recommended each week for this course.
Domestic fee $877.00
International fee $4,438.00
* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.
For further information see
School of Earth and Environment on the
departments and faculties