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Geographical issues
Demonstrating active citizenship.

[6.1] What role can citizens play in managing waste?

Part 3 Issues in Australian environments


Geography for Australian Citizens

In this chapter you will

learn about:

learn to:

the geographical issues affecting Australian environments investigate a geographical issue through fieldwork by developing and implementing a research action plan.

describe each geographical issue outline how a range of geographical issues are affecting Australian environments develop a research action plan, apply fieldwork techniques, present geographical information and demonstrate active citizenship.

Geographical issues
Air quality
How does urban growth contribute to air quality? Can the use of public transport improve air quality? What is the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) and how is it helping to manage air pollution in Australia?

Land and water management is discussed in chapter 7.

Land and water management

Why are land and water management issues important for Australia? What are the impacts of salinity in the Murray Darling Basin? Can a sustainable water source be secured for Australias future?

Coastal management
How are coasts managed in Australia? What are the impacts of development on beaches? What role has the local community played as active citizens in coastal management?
Specific studies of coastal management at Cronulla and Terrigal beaches are discussed in chapter 8.

6 : Geographical issues


Spatial inequality
Are the poor getting poorer and the rich richer? What are the impacts of poverty on future generations? Why is it important for the management of inequality to be addressed at the local level?
Spatial inequality is examined in chapters 4, 5, 9 and 10.

[6.2] Low-income households in Sydney: households with a gross weekly income of less than 500 dollars, as a percentage of all households

Waste management
Where does our waste go and how much is generated? How is the process of urban growth impacting on waste management? What role can active citizens play in managing waste?
My local area waste managem ent Surveytheresidentsofyoursuburbto investigatewaste managementinyourlocalarea. 1 How much general waste does your household generate each week? Full bin Half to full bin Less than half bin 2 Does your household recycle? Yes No Go to question 4. 3 What items do you recycle? Paper and paper products PET bottles Aluminium cans Green waste 4 What measures could be take n to improve recycling levels? Educate residents Give financial incentives Charge higher rates for waste colle ction Nothing Thankyouforyourtimetocomplete thissurvey.

Urban growth and decline

Why have some urban areas, such as Pyrmont Ultimo, undergone such dramatic change? How does the process of urban decay impact on the residents of towns such as Newcastle? What role have development corporations had in the process of urban renewal?

[6.3] The fastest declining local government areas (LGAs), 1999 and 2004
Fastest declining LGAs Coolgardie Merredin Carnarvon Katanning Narrogin State/ Territory June 1999 (000) 4.7 3.8 6.5 4.6 4.7 June 2004 (000) 3.9 3.5 6.3 4.2 4.5 Average annual growth rate (%) 6.8 4.7 4.1 4.1 3.9


Urban growth and decline are examined in chapters 4, 5, and 9.

Source: ABS, Regional Population Growth, Australia and New Zealand, 3218.0


Geography for Australian Citizens

Learning to
1 Individually or in groups select one geographical issue to investigate through fieldwork. In your fieldwork: develop a research action plan investigating the nature, impacts and responses to this geographical issue apply fieldwork techniques present your findings as a PowerPoint presentation including maps, graphs and web links propose one individual and one group action that addresses your chosen issue to demonstrate active citizenship. 2 Using the PowerPoint presentations of your classmates, outline how a range of geographical issues are affecting Australian environments.

S k i ll s

Undertaking fieldwork
Geography is fieldwork! It is getting out of the classroom and doing work in the field. As Geography students you are required to choose one contemporary geographical issue affecting the Australian environment and develop and implement a research action plan. Refer to the outlines on pages 1467 for an overview of these issues.

Develop a research action plan

To develop a research action plan, take the following steps:

Step 1: Identify the aim or purpose of the investigation. Step 2: Generate a number of focus questions to be addressed by the investigation. Step 3: Decide what primary and secondary data is needed to answer the focus questions. Step 4: Identify the techniques that will be used to collect the data. Step 5: Collect primary and secondary data. Step 6: Process and analyse the data. Step 7: Select presentation methods to communicate the research findings effectively. Step 8: Propose individual or group action in response to the research findings and, where appropriate, take such action.

primary source any information that is collected first hand: that is, collected by means of photographs, field sketches, questionnaires and observations secondary source any information collected by others in the form of articles, photographs, maps and graphs

Once you have selected the issue and decided on the focus questions, you need to plan how to collect the information in the field. You will need to include a combination of primary and secondary sources of information. Primary sources are the information that you collect personally [6.4]. They include the information you collect using observations, questionnaires, surveys, photographs, mapping and measuring and recording data. Your investigation should be based on primary sources of information. Secondary sources present information that someone else has collected and presented. You can use these to supplement your own findings. For example, you may use information provided by government departments, such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Department of Land and Water

6 : Geographical issues
Conservation, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology or your local council. Information from newspapers, magazines, television documentaries, books and the Internet is also available to you. Make a list of the sources of information you plan to use. Remember to base your investigation on primary sources and be specific.


[6.4] Undertaking fieldwork

Applying fieldwork techniques

This step involves putting the research plan into action. Go to the library, distribute the surveys, take photos, conduct the interviews and organise relevant newspaper articles. Simply gathering the information is not enough; it is important to draw out what is relevant and to organise it in a coherent manner: that is, process the data. It is important to realise that not all of the information you planned to collect will be readily available. Some organisations will not return phone calls, send out information or have the information you require. Not everyone will want to complete or return the survey. This is the nature of research. You may have to reconsider your action plan and develop alternative methods to collect the desired information.

[6.5] This is not fieldwork!


Geography for Australian Citizens

Presenting geographical information

The geographical information you collect may be presented in a number of ways, including as:

a written report a multimedia presentation, such as a PowerPoint presentation or a specially designed webpage an oral report.

Whichever format you choose to communicate the research findings it is important to refer to the information that has been collected. Use the tables, graphs, maps, photos and interviews to substantiate your findings. Not only are they relevant, they will also add interest and colour to any presentation.

Demonstrating active citizenship

active citizenship active and informed citizenship involves participation in community activities and public affairs

This step requires you to put forward suggestions that provide realistic and attainable solutions or strategies that would improve the chosen issue. To demonstrate active citizenship, do something to address the issue yourself! This will increase other peoples awareness of the issue and perhaps help to implement some of the suggestions you have made to address the issue.

Skills activities
Use the topographic map on page 184.

1 Identify a geographical issue affecting Australian environments. 2 Develop a research action plan including primary and secondary sources
of information for the issue.

3 Propose one individual and one group action to address the issue.

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