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GEO1005 : Environmental Issues

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


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

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).

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 problem-based learning and practical lab reports are based on individual and group work and will be assessed with reports (250, 300 and 750 words, respectively) in response to the environmental problems set out for the students.

Reading Lists