Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


In a climate changing world, the need to change our relationships with the environment is more pressing than ever. Sustainability has been touted as the response to this challenge. But what are we sustaining? And who decides? In this course, definitions and meanings of sustainability are critically examined as students build a collaborative vision of what a sustainable society might look like. Together we explore the relationships necessary to create and support sustainable industries, agricultural and resource practices, energy systems, and modes of social and political organising. Ethical dimensions of these key sectors of society are critically examined as we consider already existing alternatives and imagine what it will take to realise a sustainable society in practice.

Availability2022 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Critically examine definitions and meanings of sustainability;

2. Explain the value of Indigenous knowledge and more-than-human ways of conceiving and practicing sustainability;

3. Devise ways to rethink our relationships to key sectors to move towards a sustainable society;

4. Explain the ethical dimensions that underpin new ways of relating to the environment;

5. Articulate their own perspective on what a sustainable society might look like and involve in practice.


Rethinking Resources

(i) Problematising ‘natural’ resources (ii) New relationships with and through Indigenous knowledges and the ‘more-than-human’

Rethinking Industry

(i) ‘Business as usual’ not an option (ii) New relationships with production

Rethinking Agriculture

(i) Challenging agricultural practices  (ii) New relationships for sustainable, ethical living 

Rethinking Energy

(i) Global context for shifting energy systems  (ii) New relationships, new communities: forging energy transitions

  Rethinking Social and Political Organising

(i) Questioning existing political structures and organising differently   (ii) Prefigurative politics: living a sustainable future in the present

Q&A Panel

Experts in the field share their take on sustainability, and a sustainable society 


This course replaces EMGT2020. If you have successfully completed EMGT2020 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

ENVS1004 or GEOG1020 are recommended.

Assessment items

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Weekly tutorial quiz exercises

Written Assignment: Field trip report

Formal Examination: Take home examination

Contact hours


Field Study

Face to Face Off Campus 4 hour(s) per Week for 1 Weeks

Field study may be for between 2 and 4 hours


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.