Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Environmental Policy and Sustainability
Academic Year
Semester 1
This is a core subject module to be taken alongside GGM 3420 Regional Policy and Governance and GGM3620 Postgraduate Work Experience in Geography.
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Practical 1 x 3 Hour Practical
Seminar 10 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment ESSAY One 3000 word essay, addressing the main themes discussed in the formal teaching sessions  60%
Semester Assessment PROJECT POSTER relating to a contemporary environmental policy issue  20%
Semester Assessment PRESENTATION One 10-minute oral presentation of the project poster  20%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of failed/non-submitted coursework components only if the overall module mark is a fail.  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  1. Describe, compare and evaluate environmental institutions and policy frameworks in their historical and spatial contexts
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of a range of concepts and theoretical perspectives relating to the environment and environmental management.
  3. Describe and analyse a range of case studies relating to contemporary environmental policies in local, national and global contexts
  4. Construct and articulate an informed analysis of contemporary environmental issues
  5. Communicate information and analysis effectively through an oral presentation
  6. Communicate information and analysis effectively through visual presentation

Brief description

This module will be taught in ten two-hour sessions, which are organised within four thematic sections. It has been designed to provide an advanced framework for students to analyze the connections between environmental thought and related aspects of environmental policy throughout the world. The module commences by grounding students in the varied environmental philosophies, which have shaped contemporary environmental policy regimes. In the introductory session, students are introduced to the key events, mechanisms, and agreements that have shaped the environmental institutions and policy frameworks that operate at various scales of political organization. In addition to introducing these broad contexts, the module provides more detailed exploration of issues concerning environmental risk management; the nature of environmental behaviour; and issues of environmental sustainability and resilience. In exploring these key policy themes, the module has been designed to carefully integrate environmental theory; awareness of associated policy mechanism; and an exploration of key environmental case study scenarios.

In order to enable this module to connect to GGM3420, a number of regionally-based case studies will be discussed and the relevance of regional thinking will be emphasised.


Section A. Introducing Environmental Thought and Policy.
1. The principles and practises of environmentalism, and the emergence of environmental institutions and policy frameworks.
Indicative Reading: Whitehead, M (2006) Spaces of Sustainability: Geographical perspectives on the Sustainable Society (Routledge, London.

Section B. Environmental Risk and Management.
2. Theorizing risk and scientific uncertainty.
3. Developing policy frameworks for environmental risk management.
4. Case analysis of environmental risk [may include nuclear power debate; climate change; toxic waste and chemical pollution].
Indicative Reading: Franklin, J. (Eds.) (1998) The Politics of the Risk Society Cambridge: Polity Press.
Section C. Environmental Behaviour and Conduct.
5. Theorizing environmental behaviour.
6. Developing policy frameworks for pro-environmental behaviour change.
7. Case studies in environmental behaviour change (may include home energy use; carbon management; green consumption).
Indicative Reading: Whitmarsh, L. (2009). Behavioural responses to climate change: Asymmetry of intentions and impacts. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 29, 13-23.
Section D. Sustainability and Resilience [ Guidance will be given at different points in this block of teaching on the design and content of poster-presentations].
8. Theorising sustainability and resilience: from ecological science to environmental practice.
9. Developing policy frameworks for sustainability and resilience.
10. Case Studies in sustainability and resilience (may include Transition Cultures; LA21; Climate Proofing).
Indicative Reading: Gallopin, G.C. (2006) 'Linkages between vulnerability, resilience, and adaptive capacity' Global Environmental Change Vol. 16(13) pp. 293-303.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Some reading by students will discuss empirical research based on numerical analysis. Students will also be encouraged to think critically about the role of quantification in the construction of environmental issues.
Communication Oral communication will be encouraged during seminars, and through an assessed project presentation. Written communication is assessed through the module essay, and also through a poster that accompanies the project presentation.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be expected to undertake a significant amount of self-directed study, including extensive reading for the project work and seminars. Students will be required to develop self and time-management skills and will receive guidance from the MA coordinator, the module coordinator and the coordinator of the session.
Information Technology Students will be expected to use Information Technology in the presentation of their coursework, in both completing their essays and designing posters. They will also become familiar with the critical use of the Internet in the provision of academic writing, for example on-line journals and policy documents. This is assessed in the essay and project poster presentation.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will engage critically with contemporary environmental policies and issues, which are directly relevant to a range of career paths. Project work will enable them to demonstrate key transferable skills of synthesis, communication and presentation, with reference to contemporary environmental issues.
Problem solving Students will be exposed to a range of environmental issues and approaches to dealing with these. They will be assessed directly on their problem-solving skills through their project poster presentations.
Research skills Students will undertake a significant degree of independent researching for the essay and project poster presentation.
Subject Specific Skills Students will develop skills in the application of theoretical approaches to contemporary environmental issues and policies.
Team work Seminars will involve group-based discussions and activities. This is not formally assessed.


This module is at CQFW Level 7