ATS2106 - An environmental history of the world: People and our planet - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit


Chief examiner(s)

Professor Alistair Thomson


Professor Alistair Thomson

Not offered in 2019


Twelve credit points of first-year Arts units.


How can history help us understand the environmental problems we face today? What has shaped the relationships between people and environments in the past? This interdisciplinary unit offers an introduction to global environmental history on a planetary scale. We begin with the origins of our universe and through a series of case studies and stories we will examine the Earth and its inhabitants, and how their relationships have changed over time. This unit is organised both chronologically and thematically, allowing students to explore pre-historical environmental change; agricultural, industrial and technological revolutions; Indigenous land management; disease; imperialism; capitalism; urbanisation; conservation and environmentalism; and anthropogenic climate change.

This unit offers an historical perspective on our modern environmental condition through an examination of the changing interactions between people, and people and the environment. It explores the influences on human dealings with the natural world, the ways that humans have changed the natural world, and how humans have responded to environmental change.


On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the field of global environmental history
  2. Demonstrate an ability to understand a variety of interactions between people and the natural world and how these interactions have changed over time (e.g. cultural, technological and economic)

  3. Demonstrate an understanding of contemporary environmental issues in a broad historical and interdisciplinary context.
  4. Developed and demonstrated oral and written skills in constructing evidence-based arguments using a variety of primary and secondary sources
  5. Demonstrate an ability to reflect critically on what they have learnt


Within semester assessment: 75%

Exam: 25%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study