Feb 23rd 2015

Introduction to Sustainability, Resilience, and Society (

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This course will introduce the complex but critical concepts of sustainability and resilience, and proceed to include a self-analysis of your impact on our environment and a case study of a societal evolution in sustainability. Emphasis will be on translating theory to individual impact and comprehension.

What is sustainability, and how are we active participants in it? How does our individual ‘ecological footprint’ matter among the billions of humans’ footprints on earth? How are we alike and different in our impacts, depending on where we live; and how does civic and governmental attitude impact sustainability and resilience in the future? These questions will be explored on a global, local and personal level in this introductory course. Students will compare and contrast case studies from suburban Seattle to rural, mountainous China and consider their own significant impacts on ecology.

Course learning objectives

- Utilize both ecological and cultural concepts to understand sustainability in our society while becoming aware of their role as local and global environmental citizens.

- Analyze how science and the political realm interact to shape our views of sustainability

- Apply critical thinking to evaluate and participate in dialogue that influences our environmental practice

- Apply newly discovered self-knowledge about personal environmental impact to his or her place in a global community.

- Analyze video case study of ecological impacts in China to make inferences about one’s own community.