Module Catalogue 2022/23

GEO1005 : Environmental Issues

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Seb Pitman
  • Lecturer: Dr Louise Callard, Dr Maarten van Hardenbroek van Ammerstol, Dr Nick Cutler
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This module introduces key concepts in geography, earth science and environmental science. It encourages reflection on the natural and human processes affecting and affected by the global natural environment. Strategies for prevention and mitigation of a range of environmental issues will be presented.

Outline Of Syllabus

1. Environmental issues: overview of environmental science and Earth’s physical system
2. Ecological principles, conservation management
3. Environmental degradation: global environmental change, pollution, waste
4. Natural resource security: terrestrial and water resources, energy
5. Climate change: Earth's climate system, past present and future climate change
6. Human societies: human population, ancient civilisations, geopolitics

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of the module you will be able to:

1. Describe and evaluate key environmental issues, by drawing on environmental and Earth science principles, assessing competing arguments, and acknowledging the role(s) played by science in monitoring, prevention and mitigation.
2. Describe and evaluate key inter-relationships between the environment and human activities.
3. Identify the contributions that geographers can make to environmental study.

This module introduces key concepts in Geography and Earth and Environmental Science. It encourages reflection on the natural and human processes affecting and affected by the global natural environment.

Intended Skill Outcomes

1. Use of Earth science principles and ecosystem concepts to analyse environmental change.
2. Use of space/time models to understand the nature of environmental problems and solutions.
3. Ability to evaluate competing arguments and approaches to environmental problems drawing both on natural (Earth science, environmental science) and social (economic, political, ethical) considerations.
4. Critical analysis of media/web coverage of environmental issues.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00Present in person.
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities52:0010:00Formative exercises to scaffold coursework Assessments 2 & 3
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery81:008:00Coursework surgery, feedback sessions, and revision session. Can be delivered virtually if required.
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity24:008:00For Assessments 2 & 3; includes pre-meeting preparation and meeting(s)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1149:00149:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time31:003:00Online live lectures
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
GEO1021Environmental Issues (Semester 1 for Exchange Students)
GEO1022Environmental Issues (Semester 2 for Exchange Students)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The teaching is mainly delivered via comprehensive, well-illustrated and up-to-date lectures, backed by widely available texts, and by use of media sources. This delivers a new intellectual milieu and new ways of thinking (e.g. the ecosystem concept, the Anthropocene), but also new responsibilities to take a critical approach to science/society interaction. Three coursework exercises - in the form of problem-based learning exercises - will be used to reinforce the lecture content, encourage engagement with the scientific literature, and develop study and team-working skills. The coursework assessments will be supported by short, formative assessments (undertaken as guided independent study).

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination601M25Canvas quiz
PC Examination602M25Canvas quiz
Exam Pairings
Module Code Module Title Semester Comment
GEO1021Environmental Issues (Semester 1 for Exchange Students)1N/A
GEO1022Environmental Issues (Semester 2 for Exchange Students)2N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M25Sustainability exercise
Report2M25Data analysis
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The computer assessed exams test understanding of key concepts used throughout the course. The exams comprise a variety of short-format question types, to test knowledge, understanding and application of the material covered by the module.

The abstract assignment (250 words) is designed to get students engaging with academic journals and developing their ability to synthesise complex ideas. The data analysis report (750 words) introduces students to handling data pertaining to key environmental issues and analysing it for trends.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.