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GEOP2050 – Environment and Society

2020 – Session 1, Weekday attendance, North Ryde

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, any references to assessment tasks and on-campus delivery may no longer be up-to-date on this page.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts on staff and students

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor, lecturer, and tutor
Emily O'Gorman
Contact via email
6 First Walk, 420
email for appointment
Lecturer and tutor
Donna Houston
Contact via email
email for appointment
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
40cp at 1000 level or above
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

With an emphasis on the Australasian region, this exciting interdisciplinary unit explores how societies and ecologies are entwined and develops creative ways of approaching environmental dilemmas. Bringing together geographic perspectives from the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, it examines the concepts of environment, sustainability, and society, together with their past and possible future socio-political and economic framings. The historical and contemporary contexts of key environmental issues in Australia are explained along with their connections to global events and perspectives, including climate change, invasive species, water management, environmental protection movements, and links between consumption and production. Current planning frameworks and management processes, including legal and legislative mechanisms are also considered, along with emerging strategies and social movements that aim to address existing and expected problems.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Critically examine the mutually shaping forces of societies and ecologies in producing environmental dilemmas
  • ULO2: Explain the significance of historical and contemporary contexts to environmental issues at different scales
  • ULO3: Identify, and critically examine, key environmental issues
  • ULO4: Evaluate and respond to diverse perspectives and approaches to environments, societies and sustainability
  • ULO5: Engage with advanced concepts and academic texts
  • ULO6: Assess, sort, and synthesise information in presentations, small group discussions, and written work

Assessment Tasks

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Assessment details are no longer provided here as a result of changes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts on staff and students

General Assessment Information


All assignments are to be submitted via Turnitin, the university online submission and marking system - found as a link in iLearn. Turnitin includes Grademark, a paperless grading system where your assignments are marked by staff online. Submissions are also checked for plagiarism by Turnitin. Turnitin automatically compares your work to the work of your classmates, previous students and material available on the internet. Hard copies of assignments are no longer accepted and will not be marked. For more information on Turnitin and Grademark: http://mq.edu.au/iLearn/student_info/assignments.htm


Deadlines set for assignment submissions will not be altered except in exceptional circumstances. In all cases, extensions must be supported with appropriate documentation (medical certificate, counsellor's certificate, statutory declaration). All extensions must be applied for and granted through the special consideration process. See the Special Consideration Policy https://students.mq.edu.au/study/my-study-program/special-consideration

Extensions will not be granted in cases of poor time management. Only the Unit Convenor can authorise extensions.

Unless a Special Consideration request has been submitted and approved, (a) a penalty for lateness will apply – two (2) marks out of 100 will be deducted per day for assignments submitted after the due date – and (b) no assignment will be accepted seven (7) days (incl. weekends) after the original submission deadline. No late submissions will be accepted for timed assessments – e.g. quizzes, online tests.

Students who fail to complete and submit ALL assessments for the Unit may not receive enough marks to pass the unit. Penalties will also be incurred for plagiarism, that is, the use of another persons’ work and presentation as your own (see University Policies and http://www.mq.edu.au/ policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html).


Each assignment will be marked, commented upon and returned to you via Turnitin and Grademark. Grading is conducted in line with the universities grading policy (http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/grading/policy.html)

Delivery and Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19.

Please check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status


GEOP2050 has a website which is accessible via www.mq.edu.au/iLearn. Here you can get access to unit materials, copies of lecture slides, notices and a general discussion place to pose questions to staff.

Students are not required to acquire any technology for this unit but are expected to access the iLearn site and to use computers to produce their assignments.


Lecture 12noon-2pm Wednesday 29WW T1 Theatre


Please see the university timetable for tutorial times and locations at https://timetables.mq.edu.au/2020/

Unit Schedule

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The unit schedule/topics and any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19. Please consult iLearn for latest details, and check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

GEOP2050 lecture and tutorial schedule 



Lecture Schedule (subject to change)




26 Feb


Environment and Society (EO)


No tutorials


Part 1: Politics and ethics





4 March


Political ecology (DH)


Politics and  environments



11 March


Political ecology of cities (DH)


Cities, ecology, and power



18 March


Environments and ethics (DH)


Ethics and ecology


Part 2: Commodities and globalisation





25 March

Circulations (EO)


Power and movement




1 April

Place and production (EO)


Place and production 



Part 3: Social movements and values







8 April


Climate migration and disasters (EO)


Essay preparation



Essay due (35%): 5pm, Thursday 9 April


Mid-session break: 11 April to 26 April


29 April


Protected areas and biodiversity (EO)




Politics of protected areas





6 May


Species protection and eradication in Australian history (EO)


Protection and eradication



Part 4: Emergent pathways





13 May

Water and society (EO)

Student presentations

Oral presentation (20%): weeks 10-12


20 May


More-than-human and multispecies worlds (DH)


Student presentations



27 May


Alternative economies and degrowth (EO)


Student presentations



3 June


Synthesis and exam preparation (EO)


No Tutorials

Final exam (30%): In exam period

Examination period:  8 June to 28 June




Dr. Emily O’Gorman – EO                    Associate Professor Donna Houston - DH

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to help you improve your marks and take control of your study.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

If you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Changes from Previous Offering

Some lecture material has changed in accordance with the University's curriculum renewal process.

Changes since First Published

Date Description
19/02/2020 Needed to change essay due date as it fell on a public holiday
10/02/2020 A few dates corrected on the lecture schedule