Fall 2020 - GEOG 322W D100

World Resources (4)

Class Number: 4095

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    At least 45 units, including GEOG 100.



An analysis of the use and development of natural resources from a geographic, economic and institutional perspective. Students with credit for GEOG 322 may not take this course for further credit. Writing.


Geography 322 examines the development, extraction, depletion, and substitution of natural resources. Resources become in turns useful, abundant, scarce and sometimes obsolete. Whether a resource and ecosystem can support industries, jobs and communities depends on the interaction of technology, markets and institutions with the biophysical environment.

The first section of the course reviews fundamental debates over resource scarcity and substitution, and introduces the analytical tools of ecological economics as a framework for examining the political and economic processes and institutions that govern resource use and management. The second section traces those processes in seven resource sectors, investigating their effects on resource supply and ecosystem structure. The concluding section examines ecosystem services as resources, and assesses the prospects for achieving sustainability in human use of environmental resources.

Case studies are drawn from both developed and developing worlds. Written assignments allow students to investigate a specific resource of their own choosing, analyzing the trajectory and sustainability of the industry based on that resource in its global ecological and economic contexts. Geography 322 is a writing-intensive (W) course.

1. Introduction
2. Resources and Industry
3. Resource Regimes
4. Energy, Scarcity and Abundance
5. Fossil Fuels                                              market report due
6. Minerals
7. Fisheries
8. Agriculture                                               institutional profile due
9. Forests
10. Biological Diversity                                   final market report due
11. Ecosystem Services
12. Climate and Water
13. Conclusion and Review                              proposal due

Tutorials begin in the second week of classes

Delivery Method: on-line, with asynchronous lectures and synchronous tutorials.
Note:  lectures will be recorded, but Question and Answer sessions are synchronous during the regularly scheduled lecture time. Attendance is not required for Q&A; attendance at tutorials is required


  • • tutorial participation and presentations 10%
  • • market report and revision 25%
  • • institutional profile 20%
  • • proposal 20%
  • • final exam - synchronous 25%



Students must be equipped technologically to participate in scheduled weekly tutorials via Canvas and Zoom.


No textbook is required. Readings will be handouts distributed on Canvas or from electronic journals available through the SFU Library.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).