Sustainability, Science and the Law - 2016

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 1
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP2 , SP4
  • Assessment: Draft Plan - Essay plan (25%) , Participation (10%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2016 Fees
Domestic 782.00
HECS 782.00
International 1,032.00

This unit was previously known as LEG102 Sustainability, Science and the Law.

Are human rights, economic prosperity, and community justice sustainable when we are running out of resources? This unit critiques whether legal innovation can integrate competing perspectives of environmental conservation, economic growth, democratic freedom, scientific certainty, and political practicality. We examine science-law relationships, socio-political governance, regulatory design, and capacity building. We consider legislation, court cases, treaties, institutions, and actors as sources of rights, obligations and influence. We illustrate water law, logging, fisheries, pollution, climate, food security, urbanisation, international trade, etc. Your major project will mentor you in legal problem-solving, stakeholder analysis and creativity to develop law reforms addressing global sustainability issues.

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. define sustainability and the concept of sustainable development, and demonstrate a thorough understanding of philosophical principles and environmental ethics in sustainability.
  2. define and describe the main issues currently in play in sustainability debates, including examples at local, regional and global levels of interest.
  3. identify the main stakeholders in sustainability, and describe the roles of law, science and society in addressing sustainability issues.
  4. critically assess sustainability issues in multidisciplinary and pluralistic (multi-standpoint) perspectives in terms of science and general sustainability principles.
  5. demonstrate a general knowledge of legal concepts, systems and processes and institutions that regulate environmental values and sustainability practices.
  6. develop viable options for change in the law and other policy dimensions to improve sustainability outcomes, through in-depth legal analysis, creativity and problem solving skills.
  • Draft Plan — Essay plan (25%)
  • Participation (10%)
  • Quiz (25%)
  • Research Essay (40%)

Equivalent units

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following unit(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • LEG102 — Sustainability, Science and the Law

If you have no prior university experience, you should complete BAR100 Academic Learning Skills or COM10006 Academic Literacies: Learning and Communication Practice before starting this unit.

  • Broadband access — Students are required to have regular access to a computer and the internet. Mobile devices alone are not sufficient.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Introduction to sustainability
2Principles of sustainability
3Principles of law
4Connectivity between science, sustainability, and law
5Global climate change
6The politics of sustainability
7Case study corporate management
8Case study - wind farm
9Case study - human rights
10Case study - gender
11Governance and sustainability
12Corporate sustainability

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Standard Media
  • Web links

Online materials

  • Resources and Links

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit is an approved elective in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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