In this course, students will be introduced to the concepts of sustainability, starting with definitions, interpretations, and practices pursued by different groups to achieve sustainability. Particular attention will be paid to the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to develop more effective approaches to the complex issues of sustainability we face now and in the future from the perspective of present and future stewardship of global systems. Students will learn how science can be integrated with policy and the humanities to achieve important sustainability goals, including reduced carbon emissions, diverse and robust ecosystems, reduced consumption and waste production, improved quality of life, and sustainable cities. Through a concentrated study of this emerging sphere we call sustainability, students will learn to articulate the relationships among observed phenomena, the principles and policies those observations can inform, particularly how best to integrate technology, education, and policy to best meet identified goals. By doing so, students will learn how to place individual and collective behavior in a context that better allows for consumption patterns that best promote sustainability.
Mid-term and non-cumulative final exam (33% each), two 5-page papers (20%), and class attendance and participation that demonstrate familiarity with the assigned readings for each class (14%).
Undergraduates considering whether to pursue a major in Environmental Studies
Two 1.5 hour lectures each week. Some weeks will be devoted to discussion.