Introduction to Sustainability Science, 7.5hp

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An introduction to the social and ecological aspects of suststainability science

Applications for VT21 are open now until 15th October!

A lot has happened since 1987 when the concept of sustainable development was first introduced in the “Brundtland report”. The situation has since become more severe, new threats are now on the agenda and the complexities of the solutions have become more apparent. However, with better understanding of the problems, the solutions have also become more clear. A fundamental insight is that human development and the health of the environment are interlinked and inseparable.

This course gives a deep introduction into the social and ecological aspects of sustainability science. From understanding the challenges of the human-dominated geological epoch we call the Anthropocene, to understanding the governmental aspects of creating opportunities for sustainable living on a planet under continuously increasing pressure. In this course, students are guided through the complexities of social-ecological systems, looking at several case studies to exemplify the core concepts and how they fit together.

Managing the environment involves the people living in that environment, their needs, goals and livelihoods. Thus, different forms of governance are the key for sustainable use of resources. In this course, students will become familiar with adaptive management, co-management and stakeholder participation. They will also learn about the role of economic incentives and how markets can be both a solution and a problem.

The course is transdisciplinary covering aspects of food web ecology, governance, economic decision-making, and social network theory among others.

The course instructors are researchers at the Stockholm Resilience Centre and have many years of research and teaching experience in both the specific topic they teach as well as in practical application of the concepts in a transdisciplinary setting. The overall goal of the course is to provide students both with a deeper insight into today’s emerging sustainability challenges as well as the solutions that can be applied in everyday work and life.

This course will run online at 50 % of full time during the first period of the spring semester. It can be studied from any time zone as students work through the material in their own pace and each part of the course is released successively. The two home exams have each a window for submission (mid time and at the end) while required involvement in discussions for each part can be done at any time during the course.

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