Studies of Society and Environment Elaborations of core learning outcomes using a geographical perspective and geography learning outcomes

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Systems, Resources and Power

Elaborations of core learning outcomes using a geographical perspective and geography learning outcomes.

The following elaborations are examples only of what students know and can do, and should not be considered prescriptive or exhaustive.
Key concept: Interactions between ecological and other systems

Key process: Investigating

Level 5

Level 5

Level 6

Level 6

Learning outcome

Core SRP 5.1

Students evaluate the relationship between an ecological system and a government and/or an economic system.

Geography SRP 5.1

Students investigate media sources to identify significant current issues and the levels of government that may be relevant in relation to these issues.

Core SRP 6.1

Students develop and test an hypothesis concerning a relationship between global economic and ecological systems.

Geography SRP 6.1

Students trace and investigate the various geographic locations of transnational corporations over time.

Students know:
Interactions between ecological and other systems

ecological systems



tropical rainforest





relationships between an ecological system and a government and/or an economic system

government applying Telstra sale proceeds to environmental projects e.g. riverine restoration

government application of principle of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD)

energy suppliers selling green energy

governments regulating land clearing, water use, etc. e.g. WAMP, Regional Forest Agreements

government adoption of user-pays principle e.g. National Parks

government legislation increasing penalties to industries for polluting e.g. wastes in rivers

compulsory Environmental Impact Statements for private developments in or near natural ecosystems

government providing tax relief to farmers for introducing soil/land conservation techniques (on private and commercial basis)

market forces encouraging more ecologically responsible development e.g. oil companies offsetting CO² production by buying/planting forests; eco-tourism resorts at Couran Cove, Kingfisher Bay; the Body Shop selling environmentally-sensitive products

media sources




television (news/documentary)



significant current issues

local e.g. affecting local residents

regional e.g. impact upon significant regional industry

national e.g. involving major service industry with offices throughout Australia

global e.g. impact of a multinational on a particular country’s development status

levels of government

local e.g. shire/city council



international e.g. United Nations body

a relationship between global economic and ecological systems

indebted developing nations and the pressure for cash crops/monoculture

global income distributions and the availability of clean water

Australian demand for rainforest timbers and forest industries in e.g. Indonesia

economic growth, finite resources and world price structures e.g. in oil industry

exporting raw materials, importing processed materials e.g. textiles

ecological and economic impact of population control in e.g. China

primary industries and environmental impact e.g. land degradation in the rangelands

Antarctica - exploitation or protection

economic development and endangered species e.g. pastoralism and the bilby

impact of fishing practices e.g. Indigenous harvesting of turtles, long line and drift net fishing

geographic locations

important to be aware that many transnational corporations commence operations in developed nations and then move to newly developing nations. Companies could have been based originally in Western Europe and North America, then newly developing economies of 1960s e.g. Japan; 1980s e.g. Korea; 2000s Vietnam, Thailand, Laos etc.

progressions have also occurred (to expand markets) involving moves to other developed nations

transnational corporations

significant transnational corporations could include:

petrochemical companies e.g. BP, Shell

manufacturing companies e.g. Nike, General Motors, Ford

mining companies e.g. Rio Tinto

food processing/retailing e.g. McDonalds

Students can:

evaluate the relationship

engage in an inquiry into the way a local example of an economic system relates to its ecological environment e.g. a cane farm and coastal lowland environment or an island resort and its marine environment

observe, record and describe major features

analyse and explain the major impacts of one system on the other

what are the long term consequences for this environment

how are/could the principles of Economically Sustainable Development be applied?

evaluate the extent to which a particular economic enterprise( e.g. the electricity industry, an ecotourism resort) tries to satisfy ecologically sustainable principles, by using specific criteria which refer to specific social, environmental, economic and political factors

evaluate an economic model which explicitly incorporates the natural environment in the calculation of economic cost


explore a current contentious issue (at one of the above scales). The issue could relate to the use of a particular resource over which different levels of government disagree e.g. differences in opinion over the utilisation of native forests, by federal and state governments

develop and test an hypothesis

engage in a process for developing and testing an hypothesis e.g.

frame an hypothesis that is manageable, relevant and focused

identify and gather relevant data e.g. statistics, present and past satellite images

compare and evaluate data e.g. compare assessments about the reliability of information, compare statistical data with mapped information

construct conclusions about accuracy of hypothesis

examples of hypotheses

that developed nations are responsible for ecological damage in developing nations

that government imposed policies (e.g. those relating to population policies) have significant ecological benefits

that forgiving developed nations debt (e.g. Jubilee 2000) would have ecological benefit

conduct a local field study to suggest a testable relationship which may exist on a larger scale

trace and investigate:

write an expository essay outlining the ‘story’ of the development of a multinational company, highlighting the benefits and disadvantages of the particular trajectory adopted by the company; (Emphasise human and ecological impacts) What impact has this company had upon the peoples in the countries in which it has developed various elements of its enterprise?

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