Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


Develops a sociological approach to environmental issues. Deals critically with environmental controversies within social science, within the environmental movement and within society at large. Key areas include environmental problems of present society, environmental injustices, the role of capital/ism, debates around green capitalism/economy, the capacity of green technologies and strategies for moving to an ecologically sustainable society; gender and the environment; indigenous populations and the environment; deep ecology; eco-socialist, eco-feminist, green new deal, and eco-anarchist approaches; politics of climate change, and the environment in developing countries. The course covers aspects of the Key Learning Area (KLA) of Human Society and Its Environment for primary and high school teachers.

Availability2022 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2022

Learning outcomes

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

1. Recognise different relationships humans have with the environment.

2. Describe current sociological theories as they apply to environmental problems.

3. Identify the role of social structures in the distribution of impacts and responses to environmental issues.

4. Differentiate possible future implications of societal approaches to the environment.


  1. Environmental problems today and the response of major social institutions. How do people, governments and environmentalists respond to environmental problems?
  2. Environmental technologies and the social context of implementation. Are alternative technologies viable in today's economy?
  3. Aboriginal peoples, indigeneity and environmental issues.
  4. The developing world and environmental issues. How does the world economic structure contribute to environmental problems in developing countries?
  5. What have societies historically done to maintain sustainability or to generate their own collapse?
  6. The social movements associated with environmentalism such as environmental justice movements, eco-feminism; deep ecology; social ecology; socialist environmentalism. What reforms and utopias do these movements propose?


This course replaces SOCA3060. If you have successfully completed SOCA3060 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

40 units of study at 1000 level.

Assessment items

Literature Review: Annotated Bibliography (30%)

Presentation: Vodcast (25%)

Written Assignment: Article (30%)

Quiz: Online Quizzes x 3 (15%)

Contact hours



Online 1 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks


Online 1 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks

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.