Decisions, Power and Controversies in Sustainable Development

2019-2020

Course Objective

The main objective of this course is for you to develop an understanding
of the multidimensional challenges of sustainability and the critical
ways in which it is possible to think about decisions that have impact
on the environment. Collectively as a class, and individually, you will
develop knowledge in the politics of the environment by engaging with
core scientific literature and discussing and tackling real world
socio-environmental problems. By the end of the course, you will have
gained an understanding of the complexity of the political dimension of
the environment and the decisions that society deals with that impact
sustainability. Learning about critical theories such as Ecological
Economics, Political Ecology, Political Economy of the Environment, and
Degrowth you will develop theoretical knowledge that will give you the
ability to think critically and question mainstream societal decisions,
politics and policies about the environment.

By the end of this course you will be able to:
• Describe different critical principles and theories about
environmental decisions, politics and policies
• Apply these theories to think critically about and different
socio-environmental problems, by analyzing them from diverse and
diverging perspectives
• Formulate your own analysis and suggestions regarding societal
decisions that impact local and global sustainable development

Course Content

Humanity deals with complex socio-environmental problems that impact the
wellbeing of current and future generations. Nature and ecosystems
globally are threatened and under suffering increasing deterioration. As
students interested in the future of the planet and its inhabitants it
is important to develop critical knowledge, understanding and
perspectives about socio-environmental problems. In this course we will
study alternative theories about the sustainability challenges that will
allow you to think of socio-environmental problems critically and from
different perspective. The course will explore the main sustainability
dilemmas and the problems associated with the current system of economic
development and mainstream decision making. We will deal with the
political dimension of the environment and learn about how different
theoretical perspective challenge the dominant paradigms. We will
discuss and debate key sustainable development and socio-environmental
problems such as environmental and water conflcits building on these
different perspectives.

This course will be very intensive and concentrated in a short amount of
time. We will spend an important amount of the course in the classroom
and you will be required to study the readings to prepare for lectures
and discussions. We will mix: frontal lectures, discussions and group
activities.

The structure of each session consists of lectures at the start, where I
will first highlight concepts and key questions related to the topics we
are working on. We will then engage in-group discussions associated with
the key issues addressed in each session. The group activities in class
will include simulations and team assignments. Readings will be
assigned for each session and it will be essential to be well prepared
in order to successfully participate and address key questions that we
will tackle.

Participation: Due to the complexity of the issues addressed and the
concentrated length of the course I highly recommend attending every
session. Of course, if you will have serious family or health reasons
you can count on my help for making up for your absence and catching up,
but otherwise it will really not be in your interest to miss classes.
The amount of the material that we will go through and the very short
time to prepare between the end of classes and the final exam will not
allow you to be successful in this course if you procrastinate reading
and if you don’t participate.

I will lead group discussions on key questions related to the readings.
To make the most of our time together, I will call on students directly
to address specific question during the group discussion. I will apply
the “Socratic method” and challenge you to defend your opinions. (This
is a method that might seem a little intimidating, but is particularly
useful to develop the capacity to debate publicly and defend your
opinions – in line with the learning goals of the course.)

The main themes of the course will be:
A. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
B. POLITICAL ECOLOGY
D. ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS
E. GROWTH VS DEGROWTH PARADIGMS
F. ENVIRONMENTAL AND WATER CONFLICTS

Teaching Methods

The structure of the course consists of a mix of lectures and group
discussions, activities and assignments. The group activities in class
will include simulations and team assignments.

Method of Assessment

In class final digital exam: this will be a closed-book 2.5h exam 100%
of the grade (nothing allowed on your desk except). In another document
in Canvas I will give advice and instructions on preparation.

Literature

Selected articles and chapters available in Canvas

Additional Information

The course is taught in English. The course is coordinated by
Dr. Jampel Dell'Angelo - Assistant Professor of Water Governance -
Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM)

General Information

Course Code AB_450258
Credits 3 EC
Period P5
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. J. Dell'Angelo
Examiner dr. J. Dell'Angelo
Teaching Staff E.A. Velazquez Hernandez

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture
Target audiences

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