While sustainability is generally seen as the work of government (policymakers) and technologists (scientists or engineers), and thus a top-down endeavor in which citizens or communities are seen as "adopters" (as in, how can we get people to retrofit their homes? or turn off their lights when they don't need them?), the field is slowly starting to recognize the key role that people and communities need to play, not only as trusted messengers in getting people to engage in sustainability and climate actions, but also in deliberating about the challenges and creating new innovative, community- and culturally-based solutions. Within sustainability studies and in practice, there are increasingly theories and examples of participatory processes that lead to new types of sustainability practices. When these processes involve collaborations between communities and government, they are known as "collaborative governance."
Nature, Governance, and Sustainability in Costa Rica
This study abroad program will provide a unique opportunity for students to learn and live in the tropics of Central America. Students will take two classes, BIOL 4813 Tropical Biology & Sustainability and PHIL 3127 Science, Technology, and Human Values, that will introduce students to biological, governmental, and societal interactions that help communities protect natural resources, preserve biological diversity, support local innovation, strengthen societal ties, and bolster human capital.
In the past decade Atlanta has undergone phenomenal changes in infrastructure, and food culture because of two things: being a beta-hub in the tech industry, and tax credits that have cultivated a thriving film industry. This influx of people, money, and innovation, restaurant culture has seen tremendous growth. This Serve-Learn-Sustain (SLS) course encourages students to learn the story of Atlanta through its food history.
This course - taught on the Pacific Program - will develop a theoretical understanding of sustainability, from a bottom-up perspective that considers ecological outcomes as a function of human institutions. It begins with defining and understanding the tragedy of the commons, and develops an understanding of why we might not be doomed to this tragedy. While exploring broad themes in environmental ethics, philosophy, and management, it will explore cases in the Pacific context, and will include a service-learning project in Fiji.
This course will introduce the sociology of medicine and health (also known as medical sociology or sociology of health and illness), which is a broad field examining the social production of health, wellness, illness and mortality. This sub-discipline of sociology starts from the assumption that we cannot understand the topics of health and illness simply by looking at biological phenomena and medical knowledge.
Policy Tools for Environmental Management constructs a general framework for analyzing environmental issues, and develops concepts and techniques for managing environmental systems, within the context of environmental planning and policy within sustainable communities.
Vertically Integrated Project: Civic Data and Design
The purpose of this course is to research and develop information, communication, and media systems to address regional civic issues, using techniques from design, computing, and social sciences, in collaboration with government and community partners. These systems will have real-world impact, and promote social sustainability, equity, and justice.
This Honors Program section of Chemical Principles II differs from traditional large lectures in two key areas: First, core chemical concepts are introduced by considering "big questions" in chemistry, typically pertaining to the challenge of powering the planet with clean energy. For instance, how do catalytic converters mitigating transportation emissions, and what are the impacts on pricing and availability of precious metals?
The search for life beyond the Earth is reaching new heights. So what are we looking for, and how will we know when we find it? This course will explore the history of the solar system and the Earth as the one example of a habitable planet—one that can support living organisms—that we know now. We will consider how the planets formed, the important planetary processes that brought about the Earth as it was when life arose and the planet we live on today.
SLS approaches sustainability as an integrated system, linking environment, economy, and society. As an initiative focused on “creating sustainable communities,” we especially emphasize the role that SOCIETY plays in sustainability – and particularly issues of social equity and community voice. You can see a visual outline of SLS’ approach to sustainable communities here. The purpose of this tool is to help students begin to understand the SOCIETY part of sustainability. It includes two exercises and resources for learning more.