Prospectus

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Environment & Development

Course 2017-2018

Tags

EES, GED

Admissions requirements

An interest in exploring humanity's pursuit of development and the Earth's biosphere as a habitat for life. Awareness of global environmental and development challenges and how these intersect ecological, social and economic dimensions. Being open to new ways of thinking about how humanity dwells on planet Earth.

Description

Environment and development have increasingly come to be about the fundamentals of dwelling in the 21st Century. In this era of limited natural resources and global, instantaneous and high speed connectivity and technology, issues of peace and security, social and ecological rights and justice, mobility, risks and hazards, ethics, active citizenship, identity and diversity overlap with people's pursuit of their socio-economic development and ecological relations. There is compelling evidence to support the contention that humankind has entered a new Anthropocene era, where humanity is frequently the main driver of change in the physical environment, challenging planetary limits to the point of climate change, biodiversity loss, dryland expansion and nutrient loading of aquatic ecosystems. On the upside there are opportunities to halt this unsustainable progression (to some extent) through innovative ecological and socio-economic practices that facilitate sustainable development, to the benefit of all, within planetary resources. Progress and prosperity for all, where the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable are amply addressed, underpins the present day development perspective. This is epitomised in the Sustainable Development 2030 agenda's commitment to 'leave no one behind' whilst transforming the world. Address of social and ecological justice is clearly also part of the 'sustainable development' narrative. How we live in the environment and what we know about it and humanity's development, extends beyond individuals and communities to the agendas of civil society organisations, researchers, an array of institutions, public and corporate policy, legislation, market dynamics and international agreements. As such studying environment and development requires an holistic approach.

This course focuses on human development, the non human environment and the ecological relations therein. It will cover key ecological concepts and models, sustainable development and nature conservation. Global environmental and development challenges and solutions thereof will be explored. This will encompass traditional and more recent ways of thinking about development and the environment e.g. modernity, risk society, development aid, 'the doughnut', regulation and policy including lifecycle assessment, social and ecological justice, cradle to cradle/circular economies, Sustainable Development Goals 2030, active citizenship, transformed global institutions and the dwelling perspective.

Course objectives

On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  • List, critically evaluate and discuss key global environmental and development concepts, perspectives and challenges as well as the efforts to address these challenges. This includes Global North and South perspectives, risk society and the Sustainable Development Goals (2030).
  • Describe and interpret methods of environmental impact assessment including State of the Environment Reports and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).
  • Describe and discuss the circular economy including cradle to cradle design.
  • Meaningfully interpret scientific data with a focus on those which inform key debates on planetary limits and realising human well being for all.
  • Be able to construct concise, persuasive and meaningful arguments within the academic tradition.

Timetable

Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

This course is taught through a series of lectures and possibly an excursion. Lectures will comprise instruction, pop-quizzes, discussion and debate. Students are expected to participate as individuals and as members of small and large groups. Prescribed reading and viewing of multimedia must be done prior to each class period.

Assessment

Class participation: 15%
Individual essay: 35%
Group assignment: 15%
Final exam: 35%

Blackboard

There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

The main textbook for this course is:

  • Block II: Kopnina, H & Blewitt, J. 2015. Sustainable Business: Key Issues. New York: Routledge.
  • Block III: Blewitt, J. 2017. Understanding Sustainable Development. New York: Routledge. (3rd edition available from Amazon.co.uk in December 2017)

Please ensure you have the correct textbook for the relevant semester. Additional readings and audiovisual materials will be provided during the course and made available via Blackboard.

Registration

This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact course.administration@luc.leidenuniv.nl.