ENVMGT 742 : Social Dimensions of Global Environmental Change


2020 Semester One (1203) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An examination of the social dimensions of global environmental change. This includes a review of the history of climate science, the interaction of science with other knowledges, and contemporary debates surrounding climate change as well as other forms of environmental change. It also examines the different ways in which people respond to environmental risks and changes, and the challenges associated with mitigation and adaptation policies.

Course Overview

The course explores the social, cultural, political, and economic dimensions of global environmental change, focusing specifically global climate change and its interlinkages with other environmental issues. The course begins with a review of the history emergence of climate change as an issue of scientific, political, and public concern, and then explores contemporary debates disagreements surrounding climate change, as well as what actions are being taken by different groups of people around Particular attention is directed at understanding how and why different groups of people, both in Aotearoa New Zealand and perceive and respond to climate variability and environmental changes in different ways, with a focus on scientific knowledges (including Indigenous and Local Knowledges). It also examines the processes shaping climate change mitigation climate change adaptation research, policies, and on the ground strategies, the linkages of climate change with development and disaster risk reduction initiatives. Approaches to investigate and analyse policies, and design research community-based projects into climate mitigation and adaptation are presented in lectures and practical exercises. enables students to understand the social, economic, political, and cultural dimensions of climate change, and equips approaches and practical skills to research climate change communication, mitigation, and adaptation.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Identify some of the drivers of anthropogenic climate change and explain the implications of climate change of social-ecological systems. (Capability 1, 2 and 4)
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of how and why people disagree about climate change. (Capability 1 and 5)
  3. Recognise the role of worldviews, values, and norms play in people?s perceptions of and responses to environmental changes. (Capability 2 and 3)
  4. Critically assess differential vulnerability, adaptive capacity, and resilience of selected systems to climate variability, extremes, and change. (Capability 2 and 3)
  5. Identify strategies to enhance the capacity of systems, communities, and institutions to mitigate and adapt to changing environmental conditions. (Capability 2 and 3)
  6. Recognise the strengths and weaknesses of different sources of evidence (peer-reviewed studies, media reports, social media). (Capability 2 and 3)
  7. Demonstrate independence in research and development of communication skills by completing a critical review essay, quizzes, and a group presentation. (Capability 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Critical Course Review 30% Individual Coursework
Group Presentation 10% Group Coursework
Quiz 1 3% Individual Coursework
Quiz 2 7% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Critical Course Review
Group Presentation
Quiz 1
Quiz 2
Final Exam


As part of the University-wide Tuākana community, The School of Environment Tuākana Programme aims to provide a welcoming learning environment for, and enhance the success of, all of our Māori and Pacific students. We are led by the principles of tautoko (support) and whanaungatanga (connection), and hope you find a home here at the School. Students who have identified as Māori and/or Pacific will receive an invitation to our online portal introducing the Programme, the resources we have available, and how you can get involved.

This course is supported by our Programme Coordinator, Kaiāwhina/Māori student adviser, and Pacific student adviser. They are able to organise group study and facilitate direct assistance regarding material taught in this course. For more information regarding the Programme feel free to email our Programme Coordinator: riki.taylor@auckland.ac.nz.


Learning Resources


Lectures are held on Friday 1-3 pm in Sci Maths & Physics, Room G15. The lecture venue is subject to change depending on Please check the lecture location again in Week 1, before the first lecture. During the lecture, because of the size of students often feel it is not the best forum to ask questions. You are welcome to come down before or after the lecture the lecturers, or to email them if you have a specific question regarding the lectures. The lectures will not be audio‐recorded. DO attend the lectures. We have noticed a strong correlation between those who fail to attend the lectures regularly and fail the course. PDFs for the lectures will be made available at a minimum the night before the lecture on Canvas if download them to take notes during the lecture. The lecture programme covers aspects of the social dimensions of global environmental change, with a focus on understanding people's perceptions of and responses to anthropogenic climate change. Key theories and concepts are introduced, with examples drawn from local and global examples. Lectures are a key method for delivery of information, and some may be involving in-class discussion where appropriate. Classes will include a combination of lectures, in-class laboratory activities, and discussions. The lectures, activities, and will be guided by the course readings which will be posted on Canvas. There is an expectation that you will have read them before class as part of your course workload.

Lecture etiquette: 

Some students may prefer taking notes on their computer. Please remember to be respectful of others when using your devices, which includes remembering to put your phones on silent, and refrain from texting. 

Reading Materials:

Lectures provide a comprehensive introduction to the topics to be examined but your grade will be greatly enhanced widely and critically. We strongly urge you to take personal responsibility for your own learning and increase your understanding appreciation of the subject by following up lecture material with your own study programme. You are expected to complete these readings as part of your course workload. Best practice is to attend the lecture first then key reading. Try to do this as close to the lecture time as possible when the information is still fresh. You should only be about an hour per reading. Not all of the reading is always relevant so please read strategically to support your lecture notes integrate the lecture notes and your notes from your reading to make you exam study easier). Remember, a necessary expected to develop is how to read purposefully, to be able to discern key and relevant ideas. You should use the reading any questions you might have and extend your understanding of the key ideas. There is NO set textbook for this course. Please see the Reading Lists on Canvas for the key readings, which links to the Talis page for the course.

Special Requirements

There are no special requirements for this course. All teaching will take place on campus and within standard university hours.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 points they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 24 hours of lectures and 32 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 64 hours of assignments and/or exam preparation.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page: https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html).


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 11/01/2020 02:59 p.m.