Course Description

420.612 - Sustainability Science: Concepts and Challenges

Sustainability Science is an interdisciplinary field engaged with understanding the dynamics between natural and social systems and how those interactions challenge the notion of sustainability. This course will start by reviewing the history of the concept of sustainability and will then consider how it has been applied in the environmental sciences. Specifically the goal of the course is to provide a comprehensive, multidisciplinary perspective on this emerging field, understanding its theory, research horizons, and practical applications. Concepts to be reviewed include socio-environmental systems, complex adaptive systems, cross-scalar impacts, tipping points and regime shifts, vulnerability, resilience and adaptive capacity, equity, sustainable development, political ecology, governance, capital assets and livelihoods. In a seminar context this course will consider these and other concepts from a theoretical perspective but will focus on their application in solving real-world problems.