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Semester 1 - Online
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This subject equips participants with an understanding of the role and limitations of science in environmental debates and decision-making. Global changes to the atmosphere, hydrological cycle, land-uses, urbanisation, climate, pollution, biodiversity, pests, and diseases are having profound impacts on the planet, its people and other species. You will gain an appreciation of strengths and limitations in the diversity of scientific approaches used to understand and manage environmental changes. These approaches include empirical observation, mathematical and statistical modelling, and expert opinion. The subject highlights the breadth of environmental changes, and the range of scientific methods that can be used to address these issues. Collectively, these elements provide a sound foundation for science-based advocacy and management that recognises the scientific and social contexts of environmental debates.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject, students will be able to:
- describe major current global environmental challenges facing scientists and policy-makers;
- discuss the relevance of a range of scientific disciplines to environmental management including chemistry, meteorology, ecology, toxicology, hydrology, geology and epidemiology;
- analyse the role of various evidentiary approaches to supporting science-based arguments including empirical observation and analysis, modelling and use of expert opinion; and
- judge the merit of scientific arguments made in documents related to environmental policy.
At the completion of the subject, participants should be able to:
- work constructively with colleagues to recognise, synthesise and resolve inter-disciplinary perspectives;
- prepare technical reports that are accessible to policy-makers;
- advocate and advance environmental sustainability consistent with scientific evidence; and
- recognise the social context of the contribution of science to decision-making, including human rights, equity and ethics.
Last updated: 30 March 2021