YEARS 11 & 12
The Australian Curriculum: Geography provides four units to be studied in Years 11 and 12.
Unit 1: Natural and ecological hazards
Natural and ecological hazards are a potential source of harm to people’s wellbeing, health, income and property. They may also affect elements of the biophysical, managed and constructed elements of environments.
The unit focuses on identifying potential risks and managing them in ways that eliminate or minimise harm to people and the environment. Risk management, in this context, refers to prevention, mitigation and preparedness. Prevention is about things we can do to prevent a hazard from occurring. Mitigation is about reducing or eliminating the impact of the hazard does happen. Preparedness refers to actions taken to create and maintain the capacity of communities to respond to, and recover from, natural disasters, through measures such as planning, community education, information management, communications and warning systems.
The natural hazards that can be studied include atmospheric, hydrological and geomorphic hazards, for example, storms, cyclones, tornadoes, frosts, droughts, bushfires, flooding, earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides. The ecological hazards that can be studied include environmental diseases/pandemics (toxin-based respiratory ailments, infectious diseases, animal-transmitted diseases and water-borne diseases) and plant and animal invasions.
Unit 2: Sustainable places
In Sustainable Places, students focus on the economic, social and environmental sustainability of places. While all places are subject to changes produced by economic, demographic, social, political and environmental processes, the outcomes of these processes vary depending on local responses and adaptations.
On a global scale, the process of urbanisation has created a range of challenges for both urban and rural places. How people respond to these challenges, individually and collectively, will determine the sustainability and liveability of places into the future.
The challenges faced in places include population growth and decline, employment, economic restructuring, transport infrastructure needs, housing, demands for improved health and education services, and other matters related to liveability.
In Australia’s metropolitan and regional cities, the challenges may also include managing economic growth, urban sprawl, car dependency, environmental degradation, abandoned land, and deficiencies in urban planning, service provision and management. In rural and remote places, the challenges may include lack of employment for young people, lack of educational services, poor transportation connections to major centres, closure of a major industry, lack of service provision, isolation and remoteness.
Students examine how governments, planners, communities, interest groups and individuals try to address these challenges to ensure that places are sustainable.
Unit 3: Landcover transformations
In Land Cover Transformations students focus on the changing biophysical cover of the earth’s surface, its impact on global climate and biodiversity, and the creation of anthropogenic biomes (those transformed or influenced change by people, either directly or indirectly).
In doing so, the unit examines the processes causing a change in the earth’s land cover such as deforestation, the expansion and intensification of agriculture, rangeland modification, land and soil degradation, irrigation, land drainage, land reclamation, urban expansion and mining.
These processes have altered local and regional climates and hydrology, damaged ecosystem services, contributed to the loss of biodiversity, and altered soils. The processes have also changed the global climate through their interaction with atmospheric processes, and climate change is, in turn, producing further transformations in land cover.
The scale at which these processes now occur is so extensive that there no longer exist any truly ‘natural’ environments. All environments are, to a greater or lesser extent, modified by human activity.
The unit provides students with a comprehensive and integrated understanding of processes related to land cover change, and their local and global environmental consequences. It also examines and evaluates the ways people seek to reverse the negative effects of land cover change.
Unit 4: Global transformations
In Global transformations, students focus on the process of international integration (globalisation) as a conceptual ‘lens’ through which to investigate issues in human geography. In doing so, it integrates the sub-disciplines of economic and cultural geography and political geography. Economic geography involves the study of the changing location, distribution and spatial organisation of economic activities across the world, while cultural geography focuses on the patterns and interactions of human culture, both material and non-material. Both sub-disciplines make an important contribution to our understanding of the human organisation of space. Political geography examines the spatial consequences of power at all scales from the personal to the global.
The topic provides students with an understanding of the economic and cultural transformations taking place in the world today, the spatial outcomes of these processes, and their political and social consequences. It will better enable them to make sense of the dynamic world in which they will live and work. It will also allow them to be active participants in the public discourses and debates related to such matters.