ENS5010 - Global challenges and sustainability - 2019

12 points, SCA Band 2, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

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



Organisational Unit

School of Biological Sciences

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Susie Ho


Dr Susie Ho

Unit guides



  • First semester 2019 (On-campus)
  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


Enrolment in the Master of Environment and Sustainability, Master of Environmental Management and Sustainability or Master of International Sustainable Tourism Management


This unit, together with ENS5020, sets the context for considering the interactions and interdependence between nature and society and the basic principles of sustainability (social, economic and environmental), reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals.

This unit (Global challenges and sustainability) provides the scientific basis for understanding contemporary global environmental change and its implications for society.

Using the current global policy context in this area, it introduces the science of sustainability and the environment and its relevance to human well-being. It explores the key threats to sustainability, such as climate change, human migration, resource scarcity and emerging diseases. Core concepts covered in the unit include those of scale, systems and complexity.

The unit teaches problem structuring methods, evidence-based approaches and methods of interpreting risk and uncertainty. Particular emphasis is placed on developing skills to integrate evidence into sustainability actions across multiple sectors, systems and scales. Theory will be complemented with group learning exercises, professional development activities and engagement with practitioners.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Evaluate and integrate the multidisciplinary scientific evidence for contemporary global change and ecosystem services.
  2. Forecast challenges associated with global change and sustainability through analysing evidence and applying scientific knowledge, concepts and methods.
  3. Appraise, classify and prioritise complex systems, problems and solutions relevant to sustainability.
  4. Devise evidence-based approaches to sustainability through integrating data with multidisciplinary tools, frameworks and principles.
  5. Plan evidence-based sustainability actions across multiple sectors, systems and scales.
  6. Effectively communicate scientific knowledge across disciplines and communities of practice in environment and sustainability.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Contact hours equivalent to minimum 4 hours per week.

Additional requirements of at least twenty hours of independent work.

See also Unit timetable information

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