Courses & Units

Humans: Earth Shapers XBR112

Hobart

Introduction

This breadth unit will delve into rocks, oceans and working of human society to explore the massive impact humans are having on the world we live in. Life on Earth has nearly been extinguished five times since the explosion of complex life some 550 million years ago. The causes of the five major events are debated. Theories encompass meteorite strikes, ocean putrification and mega volcanism. But all past mass extinctions have involved the atmosphere and oceans being pushed to extreme conditions by unusual circumstances.

Humans emit more gases in a year than volcanoes, reform landscapes for agriculture, mining, energy and cities and generate mountains of waste. Humans have become shapers of Earth on a scale similar to or even exceeding natural processes, and in some cases, even beyond what extreme natural processes are capable of in short much shorter time scales.

The unit will explore the questions such as:

  • Are we pushing our atmosphere and ocean to the extremes, and thereby limiting the viability of humans and other living organisms?
  • Are we, by reshaping Earth according to human need, initiating the sixth mass extinction?
  • Does it matter, and what should we do, if we are?
  • Can society's existing systems and governance structures deal with these events or do they need to be changed?
  • Can we engineer solutions in order to redesign our planet in ways to promote a future we can and want to live in?
  • And even if we are capable of 'geoengineering,' is there a will to apply it and is it wise to pursue it?
  • What values are relevant to answering these questions and how are decisions to be made in the face of competing values?

This unit will explore the science, governance and values relevant to the issue of mass extinction and human earth shaping.

Summary

Unit name Humans: Earth Shapers
Unit code XBR112
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School PVC Learning and Teaching
Tasmanian Institute of Learning and Teaching (TILT)
Discipline Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration|Earth Sciences|Plant Science|Philosophy and Gender Studies|Politics and International Relations
Coordinator

Karin Orth

Teaching staff

Zanna Chase, Greg Jordan, Janna Vince, Graham Wood

Level Introductory
Available as student elective? Yes
Breadth Unit? Yes

Availability

Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Hobart Semester 2 Off-Campus International Domestic

Key

On-campus
Off-Campus
International students
Domestic students
Note

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 2 15/7/2019 9/8/2019 2/9/2019 20/10/2019

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (see withdrawal dates explained for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2019 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2019 will be available from the 1st October 2018.

About Census Dates

Fees

Domestic

Band CSP Student Contribution Full Fee Paying (domestic) Field of Education
2 2019: $1,169.00 2019: $2,200.00 010799

Fees for next year will be published in October. The fees above only apply for the year shown.

Please note: international students should refer to this page to get an indicative course cost.

Teaching

Teaching Pattern

This unit is offered fully on-line.

Assessment

Online Quiz 20%, Essay 20% Online discussion 20% Assignment 40%

TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable

Textbooks

RequiredNone
Co-op Bookshop links

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