AGR353 Human Ecology (8)

The subject continues the exploration of the ecological paradigm commenced in the subject Introduction to Ecological Agriculture. One of the fundamental propositions underlying ecocentric thought is the empathetic connection between humankind and the environment. What is this connection and how does it differ from the paradigm that drives conventional forms of agriculture? This question will be addressed as students explore their value systems and modes of thinking, and how these impact on our land use decisions. Besides fostering self-knowledge the subject challenges students to develop the sensitivity, conceptual framework and interpersonal skills required to manage natural resources and people in an ecocentric way.
Distance Education students are required to attend a compulsory residential school as a requirement for this subject.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.

No offerings have been identified for this subject in 2018.

Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences

Enrolment Restrictions

Students outside the Bachelor of Ecological Agriculture degree need to consult with the subject coordinator prior to enrolling.

Assumed Knowledge

Students benefit from studying Introduction to Ecological Agriculture prior to Human Ecology.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to analyse the texts for material re ecophilosophy and then develop one's own philosophy against this backdrop
  • be able to interpret models of thinking in relation to what constitutes holism
  • be able to apply second person tense as a means of identifying one's ecological thinking abilities and analysing this in the context of ecological agriculture
  • be able to interpret the role of values in agriculture and their connection with an ecological approach
  • be able to explain the role of world views and their impact on behaviour and how world views might be changed
  • be able to engage in debate on ecological issues based on the Study Guide material and associated Readings and defend arguments as required
  • be able to analyse the characteristics of ecological agriculture, organics and industrial agriculture and the role of all three types of agriculture in the 21st Century
  • be able to interpret the role of imagination and systems thinking in the emergence of an ecological thinking style


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Ecological psychology
  • The concept of holism in agriculture
  • a meta view of ecology
  • Stages of human consciousness
  • Ecological Philosophy
  • The web of life

Residential School

This subject contains a 2 day Compulsory Residential School.

The Residential School has been designed to:

- Acquaint students with the language of holism and systems thinking in the context of an ecological approach.
- Explain the various models that constitute an ecological approach and to engage in debate on aspects of them.
- Engage in in-the-field work regarding observational skills that are part of the subject's major assignment.
- Explore imagination and creativity in an experiential manner in the context of an ecological approach.
- Complete the student's interpretation of an ecological approach as commenced in Introduction to Ecological Agriculture and finalised in Human Ecology.

Activities to include

  • An outline of the models and theories pertaining to sustainability based around the writings of Ken Wilber and Brian Swimme
  • Basing the framework of the model to explore sustainability in a practical exercise and to introduce the new language of holarchy and holons which assists in the interpretation of sustainability
  • Using Hoffman's methodology to develop observational skills as part of the students 2nd Person engagement with the environment
  • Introducing a visual exercise in the context of the main assignment re the writings of Laura Sewall and her principles of ecological thinking
  • Using a three dimensional model the Gregory Bateson model of learning is explained and used to create debate around holism and sustainability.
  • A practical exercise on values based on the Brian Hall model and the significance of values in impacting on systems thinking and imagination development
  • Using the thoughts of philosopher Henri Bortoft to explain holism: an interactive session
  • The use of videos to set the context for issues mentioned above.
  • Reflection on the success of the Residential School to challenge students' thinking and the assumptions that drive thinking and therefore decision-making.

Special Resources

Students are required to attend the compulsory residential school which will involve travel expenses and a time commitment.


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.