GEOG1065 Nature, Society and Environment

Reading List
  • Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View timetable
  • Credits: 20
  • Class Size: 300
  • Module Manager: Dr Alan Grainger
  • Email:
  • Pre-Requisite Qualifications: none
  • This Module is approved as a Discovery Module

Discovery module overview

Module Summary

Module Summary

In this module you will study some of the key environmental challenges facing humanity, including biodiversity loss, climate change, deforestation, desertification and flooding, and how these are being tackled. You will learn how to evaluate human-environment relationships, assess the effectiveness of national and international environmental policies, apply the exciting new concept of ecosystem services, and acquire a range of tools that you can use in later studies in human-environment geography in Levels 2 and 3, and in the workplace. The module is in seven sections: Major Environmental Challenges, Human-Environment Relationships, Managing National Environments, Contested Environments, Environmental Impact Assessment, Managing Ecosystem Services, and Managing the Planet.


The module brings together human-environment geographers and physical geographers to explore the interface and interaction between the natural environment and human societies. Supported by a series of focused case studies, the module explores different approaches to understanding human-environment interactions, showing the unique synthesis of natural and social sciences that can be utilized in this context. The module will introduce key concepts, approaches and methods used to research human-environment interaction, as well as exploring key policies and practices that work to seek solutions to pressing current environmental issues.


The module will explore, through lectures, seminars, workshops and group work, a number of key human-environment issues. These will be preceded by classes which outline and compare key theories, concepts, approaches and methods, such as human-environment geography, environmental perception, tipping point theory, sustainability, and risk society. The module will then build through detailed case studies that enable different approaches to be explored, drawing where possible on topical issues/current events. Indicative case studies may include: deforestation, biodiversity loss, desertification, climate change, flooding, sustainable environmental management, wilderness, ecosystem services, environmental justice, participatory approaches and river restoration. Lectures will provide overviews of key issues, and small groups (both tutor- and student-led) will include debates, role play and group projects. Content will be delivered by representatives of different research clusters, giving students insights into the research priorities of the School of Geography.

Learning Outcomes

The contributions made by human-environment geographers to understanding human-environment interactions
The development by physical geographers of alternative approaches to understanding human-environment interactions
The dynamic nature of geographical thought and practice and the inter-relationships between the discipline and the physical and natural sciences, the social sciences and humanities
Patterns and processes of environmental change and their inter-relationships with human activities
Spatial patterns and relationships in human phenomena at a variety of scales
The geography of places and their constitution by environmental, economic, social and political processes, and the influence of places on these processes
Contemporary debates about time-space relationships, globalization and global interconnections
The contribution of geography to development of environmental, political and cultural agendas, policies and practices

Skills Outcomes

Abstraction and synthesis of information from a variety of sources
Assessment and critical evaluation of the merits of contrasting theories, explanations, policies
Critical analysis and interpretation of data and text
Developing reasoned arguments
Solving problems and making reasoned decisions
Plan, design, execute and report geographical research both individually and as part of a team
Recognize the ethical issues involved in geographical debates and enquiries
Communicate effectively (in writing, verbally and through graphical presentations)
Identify, retrieve, sort and exchange geographical information using a wide range of sources
Work as part of a team and to recognize and respect the viewpoints of others
Manage time and organize work effectively

Assessment and teaching

Assessment and teaching


Assesment type Notes % of formal assesment
Group Project 3,500 words 40
Group Project 2,500 words 30
Total percentages (Assessment Coursework) 70


Exam type Exam duration % of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc) 1 hr 30 mins 30
Total Percentage (Assesment Exams) 30

Private Study

Students will work in active learning groups and meet weekly for self-directed study, with guidance from teaching staff. Module materials will be available on the VLE to support online learning. Private study will include reviewing relevant materials (e.g. seminar readings, case study materials), preparing assessments and keeping a personal diary of active learning activities to form the basis of a reflective log. Online learning is an essential part of researching the course paper and group project.

Progress Monitoring

Informally through small group classes; formally through formative assessments.

Teaching methods

Delivery type Number Length hours Student hours
Group learning 20 1 20
Lecture 18 1 18
Seminar 6 1 6
Private Study Hours 136
Independant Online Learning Hours 20
Total Contact Hours 44
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits) 200

Reading List

Reading List
A link to the Library reading list area is now available from the Web Module Catalogue

Back to Discovery Themes