Course Title: Environmental Ideas - Thought and Action

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Environmental Ideas - Thought and Action

Credit Points: 12


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016,
Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019

Course Coordinator: Dr Lauren Rickards

Course Coordinator Phone: +(61 3) 9925 2328

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

In this course you will explore certain long-standing ways of thinking about the environment and associated worldviews in order to better understand our attitudes, arguments and practices today. In particular, you will develop a critical understanding of how Western environmental thought and action has evolved in response to various factors and triggered a range of outcomes, including the ongoing emergence and evolution of pro-environment philosophies and movements.

You will also gain a new appreciation of the social as well as physical complexity of global environmental challenges as we enter a new era for life on Earth. You will learn to appreciate the key role of history, culture and power in shaping our past and present interactions with ‘the environment’ and how and why certain stories or ‘discourses’ about the environment are privileged over others. Overall, you will learn to perceive contemporary environmental challenges as part of an ancient and ongoing societal struggle about how best to think about the environment and our relationship with it. 

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

• Identify and compare the key environmental concepts associated with various strategic responses such as wilderness preservation and sustainable development

• Analyse and describe environmental ideas that are embedded within particular written or visual environmental representations

• Explain how the historical and philosophical understandings of western environmental thought influence selected contemporary environmental debates

• Compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of various schools of thought about the environment for making the case for pro-environment policy and action.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

• Critically analyse, synthesise and reflect on knowledge related to the social implications of environmental concerns and challenges both in Australia and globally.

• Communicate effectively using appropriate formats, media and styles

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning activities will include lectures and tutorials/workshops. The lectures will provide a sequenced presentation of topics while in the tutorials/workshops you will be able to engage with the ideas in a range of ways. In order to develop your knowledge and skills, you will be expected to participate in interactive discussions and activities and to critically engage with the weekly reading materials. The workshops offer a supportive learning environment where you will have the opportunity to share your knowledge and experiences, and to learn from the knowledge and experience of your peers. This learning will include small-group discussions and collaborative work in a range of activities.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems and RMIT library resources.

These resources may include book chapters, journal articles, media articles, lecture notes, bibliographies for supplementary reading, video, and links to external websites. You will have the opportunity to contribute to class resources by sharing your own research findings and sources with your peers.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program capabilities. Assessment may include reflection on weekly readings, group activities, and an academic essay.

If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online: