ENVMGT 742 : Social Dimensions of Global Environmental Change


2021 Semester One (1213) (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 the world. 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 and 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. This course 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
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

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


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Quizzes 10% Individual Coursework
Presentation 15% Group Coursework
Assignments 25% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Final Exam
Final grades will be based upon the sum of the marks earned in the coursework and exam
There is no plussage in this course


The Tuākana Programme encourages Māori and Pacific students to achieve their full academic potential. 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 a designated Tuākana tutor with appropriate knowledge of the course and related skills. They will organise group study sessions and facilitate direct assistance regarding material taught in this course. For more information regarding the Programme feel free to email our Programme Coordinator: Sonia Fonua s.fonua@auckland.ac.nz 

Special Requirements

 In Week 6 there will be an online workshop (scheduled for Friday 16 April 2-4 pm) held via Zoom. Participation is compulsory for all students as they will be presenting their groupwork. 

Workload Expectations

The course is designed with a budget of 150 hours of a student’s time. This conforms to the University and the Ministry of Education guidelines for a 15-point course. There are 30 hours lectures and approximately 25 hours for reading accompanying the lectures. This leaves the remainder to complete the coursework and study for your exam.

At University students are expected manage their own workload. Please be aware that time management issues are a significant cause of student anxiety. There are key crisis points, such as 6 and Week 8, and Week 10 when assessment due dates often overlap in multiple courses. Please try and be proactive and plan to avoid this by completing your course work as early as possible.

Delivery Mode


The course is entirely online. No face-to-face teaching or assessment will take place. The course will therefore not be impacted by changes to COVID-19 Alert Levels. 

The course will not include live online lectures. All the lectures are pre-recorded and will be released on Monday in each week of the teaching semester. In addition, optional weekly activities (such as filling out a survey or listening to a podcast) will also be posted on Canvas. Study material will be released progressively throughout the course. 

Attendance is compulsory for the Week 6 online workshop, but online tutorials are optional. The online tutorials will be recorded. While attendance at online tutorials is not compulsory, it is highly recommended to all students as the tutorials are designed to help assist students and allow them to fully understand all components of the course.

Attendance on campus is not required for the exam. The exam will be run online via the Inspera Assessment portal. 

This course runs to the University semester/quarter timetable and all the associated completion dates and deadlines will apply.

Learning Resources

No specific learning resources required

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.

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.

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.


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.

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 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.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Since this is an Online course any changes associated with COVID-19 alert levels in New Zealand will not impact learning continuity. The entire course is designed to be conducted online, including the exam (which will be an online open-book exam), and will be able to carry on irrespective of COVID-19 levels. 

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 04/03/2021 12:26 p.m.