DEVT 2004 - Environment and Development

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2018

This course examines the interface between development and environment issues in a global and international context. The theoretical and material linkages between environment and development issues and processes, and the multiple dimensions of sustainability and their conflicts and contradictions, are discussed. This is done within the framework of analysing the discourse of sustainable development, which has emerged on the international political agenda as the dominant approach for reconciling the goals of economic development, environmental quality and social equity. The course focuses on the different theoretical perspectives of development and environment and the various debates around the sustainability of development and environment. It explores whether the goals of ecological sustainability and the sustainability of economic growth can be achieved together, and how global capitalism, poverty and ecological issues are interrelated. The course investigates the various dimensions of sustainability, and covers major environmental issues, such as climate change and water security, within the context of saving the Earth from ecological collapse and bringing about sustainable futures for humanity. The course offers the opportunity for a 10-day field trip to Japan (Gateway Japan Study Tour) to investigate environment and development issues in that country and to collaborate with Japanese students in this field.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code DEVT 2004
    Course Environment and Development
    Coordinating Unit Anthropology and Development Studies
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 12 units of Level I undergraduate study
    Incompatible GEOG 2141, GEOG 2157EX
    Assessment Quizzes 10%, Research Essay or Report 30%, Tutorial Learning Journal 30%, Take Home Exam 30%
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Thomas Wanner

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    Students successfully completing the course should be able to:

    1.   Comprehend the complexity and various forms and dimensions of development and environment issues

    2.    Recognize the multiple dimensions of sustainability and the linkages between them, and how these dimensions inform policy processes

    3.    Discuss the history, usefulness and effectiveness of the concept of sustainable development

    4.     Understand how global capitalism and economic processes shape environmental change and policies

    5.    Critically assess the politics of sustainability and the various theoretical perspectives of development and environment

    6.    Communicate effectively about ideas and issues of development and environment

    7.    Conduct independent research of an environmental case study with a high level of originality, quality and creativity

    8.    Work effectively in a team and in tutorial situations

    9.    Apply analytical and problem-solving skills to specific sustainable development problems

    10.  Employ effectively online technologies (MyUni) for communication and exchange of own ideas and knowledge

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    5, 7, 8, 9
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    8, 9, 10
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    8, 10
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    Thereis no prescribed textbook for this course. All required readings and other
    learning and teaching activities and resources are available on MyUni.

    Recommended Resources

    Introductory Readings

    Elliott, J.A. (2009).‘Sustainable Development.’ In Kitchin, R. and Thrift, N. (eds.). International Encyclopedia of Human
    Geography, pp. 117-131.

    United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (2003). ‘Integrating Environment and Development,
    1972-2002.’ Chapter 1, Global Environmental Outlook (GEO) 3. Available at

    Perreault, T. (2009). ‘Environment and Development’. In Castree, N. et al. (eds.). A Companion to Environmental Geography.
    Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

    Highly recommended:

    Redclift, M. and Springett, D. (eds.) (2015). Routledge International Handbook of Sustainable Development. Hoboken
    : Taylor and Francis. Online book in library.

    United Nations and SD

    SD Knowledge Platform:    [highly recommended]

    Agenda 21:

    Major Agreements and Conventions

    Recent Global Reports on Sustainable Development
    UN (2015). Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

    UN, Sustainable Development Solutions Network (2014). An Action Agenda for Sustainable Development.
    United Nations Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability (2012). Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A
    future worth choosing. New York: United Nations.

    United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (2011). Human Development Report 2011:Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All. New York: UNDP. Available at:

    General readings: Sustainable Development and Sustainability


    Adams, W.M. (2001). Green Development: Environment and Sustainability in the Third World. 2nd edition. London: Routledge.

    Atkinson, G., Dietz, S., and Neumayer, E. (eds.) (2007). Handbook of Sustainable Development. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

    Baker, Susan, Kousis, Maria, Richardson, Dick and Young, Stephen (eds.). (1997).The Politics of Sustainable Development: Theory, Policy and Practice within the European Union, London: Routledge.

    Baker, S. (2006). Sustainable Development. London: Routledge.

    Beder, Sharon (2003). The Nature of Sustainable Development. Newham, Australia: Scribe Publications.

    Bigg, T. (ed.) (2004). Survival for a Small Planet: The Sustainable Development Agenda. London: Earthscan.

    Diesendorf, M. and Hamilton, C. (eds.) (1997). Human Ecology, Human Economy: Ideas for an Ecologically Sustainable Future.
    Sydney: Allen and Unwin.

    Dryzek, J. (1997). The Politics of the Earth: Environmental Discourses, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Jacobs, M. (ed.) (1997). Greening the Millennium? The New Politics of the Environment, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

    Elliott, J.A. (2006). An Introduction to Sustainable Development. 3rd edition. London: Routledge.

    Johnston, J., Gismondi, M. and Goodman, J. (eds.) (2006). Nature’s Revenge: Reclaiming Sustainability in an Age of Corporate Globalization. Ontario: Broadview Press.

    Johnston, R.J., Taylor, P.J. and Watts, M.J. (eds.) (2002). Geographies of Global Change: Remapping the World. 2nd edition. Oxford: Blackwell.

    Keiner, M. (ed.) (2006). The Future of Sustainability. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

    Kirkby, J., O’Keefe, P. and Timberlake, L. (eds.) (1995). The Earthscan Reader in Sustainable Development. London: Earthscan.

    Lafferty, W.M. and Langhelle, O. (eds.) (1999). Towards Sustainable Development: On the Goals of Development and the Conditions of
    Sustainability, London: MacMillan

    Lee, K., Holland, A. and McNeill, D. (eds.) (2000). Global Sustainable Development in the Twenty-First Century. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

    Neumayer, E. (1999). Weak versus Strong Sustainability: Exploring the Limits of Two Opposing Paradigms, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

    Purvis, M. and Grainger, A. (eds.) (2004). Exploring Sustainable Development: Geographical Perspectives. London: Earthscan.

    Sachs, W. (1999). Planet dialectics: explorations in environment and development. London: Zed Books.

    Sachs, W. (ed.) (1993). Global Ecology: A New Arena of Political Conflict. London: Zed Books.

    United Nations (2002). Global Challenge, Global Opportunity: Trends in Sustainable Development. New York: United Nations.

    OECD (2002). Working Together Towards Sustainable Development: the OECD Experience. Paris: Organisation
    for Economic Cooperation and Development.

    World Commission on Environment and Development (1987). Our Common Future. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Brundtland Report]

    Journal articles/Book chapters/Papers

    Adams, W.M. (2002). ‘Sustainable Development?’. In Johnston, R.J., Taylor, P.J., and Watts, M. Geographies of Global Change: remapping the world. 2nd edition, pp. 412-426.

    AtKisson, A. (2006). ‘Sustainability is Dead – Long Live Sustainability.’ In Keiner, M. (ed.) (2006). The Future of Sustainability. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer, pp. 231-243.

    Beckerman W. (1994). ‘Sustainable development: is it a useful concept?’ Environmental Values 3: 191–209.

    Binswanger, H.C. (1998). ‘Making sustainability work.’ Journal of Ecological Economics 27: 3-11.

    Diesendorf, M. (2001). 'Models of sustainability and sustainable development', International Journal of Agricultural Resources,  Governance and Ecology 1 (2): 109-122.

    Diesendorf, M.(2000). 'Sustainability and sustainable development', in Dunphy, D, Benveniste, J, Griffiths, A and Sutton, P (eds.). Sustainability: The corporate challenge of the 21st century, Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

    Chasek, P.S. and M.A.L. Miller (2005). ‘Sustainable Development in the Twenty-First Century.’ In M.Snarr and D.N. Snarr (eds.). Introducing Global Issues. 3rd edition. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.

    Ekins, P. (1993). ‘Making development sustainable.’ In Sachs, W. (ed.). Global Ecology: A New Arena of Political Conflict. London: Zed Books, pp. 91-103.

    Fisher, W.F. (1995). ‘Full of Sound and Fury? Struggling Toward Sustainable Development in India’s Narmada Valley.’ In W.F. Fisher (ed.). Toward Sustainable Development: Struggling Over India’s Narmada River. London: M.E. Sharpe, pp. 445-461.

    Glasby, G.B. (2002). ‘Sustainable development: the need for a new paradigm.’ Environment, Development and Sustainability 4(4): 333-345.

    Harris, J.M. (2204) Basic Principles for Sustainable Development, Global Development and Environment Institute, working paper 00-04. Available at:

    Holden, E. and Linnerud, K. (2007). ‘The Sustainable Development Area: Satisfying Basic Needs and Safeguarding Ecological Sustainability.’ Sustainable Development 15: 174-187.

    Lafferty, William M. (1996). ‘The Politics of Sustainable Development: Global Norms for National Implementation’, Environmental
    Politics 5(2): 185-208.

    Lélé, S.M. (1991). ‘Sustainable development: a critical review.’ World Development 19(6): 607-621.

    McManus, P. (1996). ‘Contested terrains: Politics, stories, and discourses of sustainability.’ Environmental Politics 5: 48-53.

    McManus, P. (2000). ‘Sustainable development.’ In Johnston, R.J., Gregory, D, Pratt, G. and Watts, M. (eds.). The
    Dictionary of Human Geography. 4th edition. Oxford: Blackwell.

    McNeill, D. (2000). ‘The Concept of Sustainable Development.’ In Lee, K., Holland, A. and McNeill, D. (eds.). Global Sustainable Development in the Twenty-First Century. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000, pp. 10-30.

    New Internationalist  (2000).‘Sustainability. Searching for Solutions’, No. 329 (Special Issue), November 2000.

    Parayil, G. (1998). ‘Sustainable development: The fallacy of a normatively-neutral development paradigm.’ Journal of Applied Philosophy 15(2.): 179-194.

    Parris, T.M. (2003). ‘Toward a sustainability transition: the international consensus.’ Environment 45: 12-22.

    Redclift, M. (1992). ‘The meaning of sustainable development’. Geoforum 23(3): 395-403.

    Rios Osorio, L.A., Ortiz Lobato, M. and A’Lvarez del Castillo, X. (2005). ‘Debates on sustainable development: towards a
    holistic view of reality.’ Environment, Development and Sustainability 7: 501-518.

    Robinson, J. (2004) Squaring the circle? Some thoughts on the idea of sustainable development. Ecological Economics 48(4): 369-384.

    O’Riordan, T. (1993). ‘The Politics of Sustainability.’ In Turner, R.K. (ed.), Sustainable Environmental Economics and Management: Principles and Practice, London: Belhaven Press, pp. 37-69.

    O’Riordan, T. (2000). ‘The sustainability debate.’ In O’Riordan, T. (ed.). Environmental Science for Environmental Management. 2nd edition. Harlow: Pearson Education, pp. 29-42.

    Sachs, W. (1997). ‘Sustainable development.’ In Redclift, M. and Woodgate, G. (eds.). The International Handbook of Environmental Sociology. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 71-82.

    Sachs, W. (1999). ‘Sustainable development: on the political anatomy of an oxymoron’. In Sachs, W. Planet dialectics: explorations in environment and development. London: Zed Books, pp. 71-89.

    Saunier, R.E. (1999). ‘Sustainable development, global sustainability.’ In Alexander, D.E. and Fairbridge, R.W. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Environmental Science. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academics, pp. 587-592.

    Sen, A.K. (2000). ‘The Ends and Means of Sustainability’. Key Note Address at the International Conference on ‘Transition to Sustainability’ of the Inter Academy Panel on International Issues, Tokyo.

    Sneddon, C.S. (2000). ‘Sustainability in ecological economics, ecology and livelihoods.’ Progress in Human Geography 24(4):

    Taylor, L. (1996). 'Sustainable development: An introduction.’ World Development 24(2): 215-225.

    Turner, R. K. (1993). ‘Sustainability: Principles and Practice.’ In Turner, R.K. (ed.), Sustainable Environmental Economics and Management: Principles and Practice, London: Belhaven Press, pp. 3-36.

    Williams, C.C. and Millington, A.C. (2004). ‘The diverse and contested meanings of sustainable development.’ The Geographical Journal 170(2): 99–104.   

    Woodhouse, P. (2000).’ Environmental Degradation and Sustainability.’ In Allen, Tim and Thomas, A. (eds): Poverty and Development into the 21st Century. London: Oxford University Press.

    Online Learning
    MyUni is an important learning tool and means of communication and knowledge exchange in this course. MyUni provides students with course materials, announcements and many other features to help manage their study. There are Learning Modules for each week which
    students are required to do as preparation for the 2 hour long tutorials.

    NOTE: there is a completely ONLINE or EXTERNAL course (DEVT 2004EX Environment and Development) for those students who need the flexibility and are not able to attend the compulsory 2 hour tutorials each week.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The teaching in this course is based on student-centred learning principles and strategies. Students are seen as partners in the learning journey. A range of teaching methods are employed to involve and integrate the students in the learning process, and provide them with the necessary skills and knowledge of the topic.

    The course provides various assessment methods and choices to accommodate different learning styles. Through case studies and examples the students learn problem-solving skills, and have to work collaboratively in 2 hour long workshop-style tutorials (the attendance of the tutorials is compulsory).

    In short, the teaching and learning in this course is about active, collaborative and peer-assisted learning where students actively participate and work together in the learning process and take responsibility or their own learning.

    The course employs a blended approach to teaching and learning where the traditional face to face lectures and tutorials are supplemented by effective use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the online teaching and learning environment of MyUni.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    University policies suggest for a 3-unit course that there should be 12 hours of learning activities per week including
    attendance in lectures and tutorials. The times suggested here are guidelines for students to achieve the course requirements and to successfully complete the course. You will need to allocate appropriate time for your study (contact and non-contact time):

    Structured learning (lectures and tutorials): 3 hours per week
    Reading/Preparation: 2 hours per week
    Preparation for assignments: 3 hours per week
    MyUni: 4 hours per week

    Learning Activities Summary
    The Learning Activities are structured in scaffolded weekly content discussion. All the information and resources about each week's
    Learning Activities are provided on MyUni.
    The overall course content and learning activities (subject to minor changes) are as follows:

    Week 1              Introduction: Environment and Development

    Week 2              Social Theory: Environmentalism, Developmentalism, Political ecology

    Week 3              Conceptualisations of nature

    Week 4              History and Actors of ‘Sustainable Development’: Rio+20 summit on SD

    Week 5              Economic sustainability: green economy and green growth

    Week 6              Ecological sustainability

    Week 7              Political sustainability: green citizenship, green state, green democracy

    Week 8              Cultural sustainability: gender, culture, knowledge

    Week 9              Social sustainability: community, poverty and social justice

    Week 10            Environmental Security, Justice and Ethics

    Week 11            Global Futures: science and technology, education

    Week 12            Conclusion, Review

    Specific Course Requirements
    Tutorial attendance is a compulsory part of the course. Students are required to attend at least 90% of all tutorials to be able
    to pass this course.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Students work in small groups in tutorials on specific case studies and examples about environment and development.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    No information currently available.

    Assessment Related Requirements
    1. Assessment: to be able to pass the course you must complete and submit for assessment all THREE (3) assessment components with all of its parts as described in this course profile.

    2. Personal Learning Plan: not assessed; but the submission is compulsory

    There is a process of negotiating the assessment format (e.g. weighting of assessment (within 10% maximum difference) and timing
    of submissions) at the beginning of the course. Students prepare a Personal Learning Plan (PLP), due at the end of week 3, which
    states their choices for assessment and feedback. This is like a contract between course convenor and student. Student have the responsibility to adhere to their outlined PLP.

    3.. Tutorial attendance and participation: Tutorial attendance is a compulsory component of the course, and is monitored during the course. You are requested to notify your tutor as soon as possible if you have to miss a tutorial. You are required
    to attend at least 90% of the tutorials to be able to pass tcourse.
    4. Referencing:
    the Harvard (author-date) referencing system must be used for the written assignments. Your work needs to include references (references are not counted towards the word count).

    Assessment Detail
    An information sheet for each assessment will be provided on MyUni.
    In addition, there will be examples of previous students' assignments.
    All assignments are to be submitted electronically on MyUni.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.