course outline

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THE CHINESE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
DEPARTMENT OF GEOGRAPHY & RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
GRM 1023 - RESOURCES, SOCIETY AND ENVIRONMENT
Course Outline 2009-2010
Teacher : Prof. Lam Kin Che (FYB 226) [email protected]
Tutors : Ms. Shi Xiaoxin
(FYB 219) [email protected]
Ms. Chan Sze Wing (FYB 234) [email protected]
* September 9, 2009 Version. This course outline may be updated regularly; check Moodle for the latest version.
COURSE OBJECTIVES
This course serves as an introduction for first year students in geography and resource management as
well as in related disciplines, integrating the various aspects of human and physical geography. The
focus will be on the environmental and resource challenges faced by mankind, especially those global
changes which may undermine the sustainability of human society. The key concepts will be illustrated
with case studies which will be examined to highlight the complex nature of sustainability issues, as
well as the need for a multidisciplinary approach to solutions.
The course aims to train students:

To understand the basic concepts of resources, society and environment, as they relate to
environmental changes;

To appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of geography; and

To motivate them think critically by assessing information, facts and ideas related to resources,
society and environment.
LEARNING OUTCOME
After successfully completing this course, students will be able:

To find information related to resources and the environment;

To analyze sustainability issues and offer solutions; and

To become more sensitive and responsible to the environment.
TEACHING AND LEARNING ACTIVITIES
Teaching and learning take various forms, including:

Lectures: Provide background information, basic concepts and an analytical framework that are
important to develop effective knowledge of the course content.

Tutorials: Train students to collect relevant information, think critically, present verbally and to
write effectively.

The course will be supported by Moodle (https://moodle.cuhk.edu.hk), which provides a
platform for exchange of views and updating of information that is relevant to the teaching and
learning process.
You are expected to attend all classes and tutorials, complete all required readings before class and
participate actively in class and tutorials. Readings will be available in the week prior and a readings list
will be posted on Moodle.
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COURSE OUTLINE
Week
Dates
1.
08.09. 09
2.
3.
4.
15.09. 09
22.09. 09
29.09. 09
5.
6.
06.10. 09
13.10.09
7.
8.
9.
20.10.08
27.10.09
03.11.09
10.
11.
10.11.09
17.11.09
12.
13.
24.11.09
01.12.09
Lecture Topic
Course introduction and predicament of mankind
Root of the problem
How does nature work?
Energy and resource use in pre-industrial societies
Case study 1 - Mystery of the Easter Island
Fossil-Fuelled civilizations
Transportation, information flow and trade
State of the Environment
Sustainability indicators, trends and destiny
Case study 2 – Air quality of Hong Kong
Globalization
Global Environmental Change
Case study 3 - Global warming
Consequences of global warming
Societal Response
Response of international community to climate change
Institutional and societal changes for sustainable future
Tutorial Topics
Library Research &
Essay Writing
Easter Island
Ecological Footprint
HK Air Quality
Tutorials & Essay:
You will be divided into small groups. There will be four tutorials that will focus on critical thinking,
discussion, verbal and written presentations. Tutorial attendance is compulsory. If you fail to attend, you
may lose up to 6% of the final grade for each tutorial you miss. You will receive a grade for active
participation during the tutorial. Details of the tutorials and reading materials will be put on Moodle in
due course.
Arising from the tutorials, you have to submit two assignments:
 Library Research (10%) – Submit a report on/before October 11 on research materials you have
collected relating to the “collapse of civilization on Easter Island” and the notion of “sustainable
development”. Details will be given in the tutorial guidance notes to be posted on Moodle.
 Term Paper (25%) – With reference to Easter Island and Hong Kong, submit a paper not more
than 2000 words on/before November 22, highlighting the policies, practices and life style
undermining sustainability; and changes that are needed to put development back on the
sustainable path. Details will be posted on Moodle.
 For both assignments, you are required to submit it initially to VERIGUIDE to ascertain
academic honesty and then to Moodle. The deadline is 2359h on the day indicated.
ASSESSMENT
Report/Essay
 Report on library research (Oct 11)
 Term paper (Nov 22)
Tutorials (active participation)
 Participation in preparation & discussion
 Peer assessment
Term End Quiz (Dec 8)
 Format to be announced
35%
10%
25%
30%
24%
6%
35%
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SUGGESTED READING FOR LECUTRES
1.
Predicament of Mankind
 Smil, V. (2008) Global Catastrophes and Trends. Chapter 1.
 Kristensen, P. (2004) The DPSIR framework. Online:
http://enviro.lclark.edu:8002/rid=1145949501662_742777852_522/DPSIR%20Overview.pdf
2.
How does nature work? Fundamental principles of the environment
 Miller, G.T. (2004). Living in the Environment: Principles, Connections and Solutions.
Chapter 3.
 Smil, V. (2008) Global Catastrophes and Trends. Chapter 2.
3.
Energy and resource use in pre-industrial societies
 Smil. V. (1999) Energies: An Illustrated Guide to the Biosphere and Civilizations. Chapter
4. [Check 1023 course materials Box in GRM Department Reference Room]
4.
Mystery of Easter Island
 Flenley, J. & P. Bahn (2002) The Enigmas of Easter Island. Chapter 11 & 12.
5.
Fossil-fuelled civilizations
 Smil, V. (2008) Global Catastrophes and Trends. Chapter 3.
6.
Transportation, information flow and international trade
 Smil. V. (1999) Energies: An Illustrated Guide to the Biosphere and Civilizations. Chapter
6. [Check 1023 course materials Box in GRM Department Reference Room]
7.
Sustainability indicators, trend and destiny
 OECD (2005) Using the Pressure-State-Response model to develop indicators for
sustainability. OECD Report Online:
http://destinet.ew.eea.europa.eu/policies_resources/fol955810/OECD_P-SR_indicator_model.pdf/
8.
Air quality problem of Hong Kong
 Loh, C. (2001) “Air pollution, so much to do, so many roadblocks”, in Chan et.al. (eds.)
The Air We Breathe: Air Pollution in Hong Kong, pp. 49-57.
9.
Globalization
 Ooi, G.L. (2008) “Addressing globalization’s unequal effects”, Environment, 50(6), pp. 3.
10.
Global warming
 UNEP (2009). Trade and Climate Change: A Report by UNEP and WTO. Chatper I.
Available online: http://www.wto.org/english/res_e/booksp_e/trade_climate_change_e.pdf
11.
Consequences of global warming
 Smil, V. (2008) Global Catastrophes and Trends. Chapter 4.
12.
Response of international community to climate change
 Runnals, D. (2008) “Our common inaction: meeting the call for institutional change”,
Environment, 50(6), pp. 20-28.
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13.
Moving towards low carbon economy
 UNEP (2009). Trade and Climate Change: A Report by UNEP and WTO. Chatper IV.
Available online: http://www.wto.org/english/res_e/booksp_e/trade_climate_change_e.pdf
REFERENCE BOOKS
Miller, G.T. (2004). Living in the Environment: Principles, Connections and Solutions. 14th Edition.
Pacific Grove, CA: Thompson Brooks/Cole. (UL GE105.M547 2007)
Smil, Vaclav (2008). Global Catastrophes and Trends: The Next Fifty Years. Cambridge: MIT Press.
((ULGB5014.S58 2008, also available at the CU Book Store)
Other Relevant Books:
Diamond, J. (2005) Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. US: Viking Penguin.
Flannery, T. F. (2005). The weather makers : how man is changing the climate and what it means for
life on Earth (1st American ed.). New York: Atlantic Monthly Press. (UL QC981.8.C5 F438 2005)
IPCC, 2007: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis.
Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change. [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B.
Averyt, M.Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United
Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.
Online: http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Pub_SPM-v2.pdf
UNEP (2009). Trade and Climate Change: A Report by UNEP and WTO. Available online:
http://www.wto.org/english/res_e/booksp_e/trade_climate_change_e.pdf
Smil. Vaclav. (1999) Energies: An illustrated guide to the biosphere and civilizations.
Stern, Nicholas (2007) Stern Review Report on the Economics of Climate Change, Commissioned by
the UK Cabinet Office - HM Treasury, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, Online:
www.sternreview.org.uk
Videos:
BBC Learning. (2003) The Mystery of Easter Island. (UC F3169.M98. 2003)
Gore, A., Guggenheim, D. (2006) An Inconvenient Truth. Hollywood, Calif.: Paramount Pictures
Corporation, Participant Productions
RTHK & Hong Kong Observatory. (2005). Tracing tomorrow.
Useful websites:
o Civic Exchange: http://www.civic-exchange.org/eng/
o Union of Concerned Scientists
Global warming science background information: http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science/
o Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
Includes the full-text of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Working Group reports: http://www.ipcc.ch/
o United Nations Environment Programme GRID-Arendal
Offers comprehensive source of climate change data http://www.grida.no/
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Academic Honesty Guidelines
Attention is drawn to University policy and regulations on honesty in academic work, and to the
disciplinary guidelines and procedures applicable to breaches of such policy and regulations. All work
you submit for this course must be entirely your own creation. Any text, images, or ideas taken from
another source must be properly cited using the parenthetical citation method in your papers and
presentations. Details may be found at http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/policy/academichonesty/. It is your
responsibility to learn how to cite sources correctly.
For assignments in the form of a computer-generated document that is principally text-based and
submitted via the plagiarism detection engine VeriGuide, the statement, in the form of a receipt, will be
issued by the system upon students’ uploading of the soft copy of the assignment. Assignments without
the receipt will not be graded by teachers. Only the final version of the assignment should be submitted
via VeriGuide.
If you have any questions, please ask the tutors. Plagiarism will result in failure for an assignment.
With each assignment, students are required to submit a statement that they are aware of these policies,
regulations, guidelines and procedures.
* * This is a Tentative Syllabus and is Subject to Change by the Teacher * *
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