SOCY 305: Scarcity and Modern Society, Fall 2011, T&TH 9:30-10:45, Professor Kurt Finsterbusch
This course assesses the ecological state of the world, predicts the economic, political, social, and cultural consequences of environmental constraints and then explores various proposals for dealing with the situation. It begins with a discussion of the optimistic and pessimistic views of environmental problems both in the United States and worldwide. Environmental problems in the U.S. are more a result of current levels and patterns of consumption than a result of high levels of population. Thus the U.S. production and consumption systems are described and the attitudes, values and choices responsible for consumption patterns are examined.
To this point the focus of the course is on whether there is a need for social changes to preserve the environment and thus make human life sustainable. The remainder of the course analyzes forecasting methods, theories of social change, some of the most important forecasts of the next several decades, and proposals for attaining a sustainable society. Students are encouraged to work jointly with the instructor on scenarios which utilize both current trends and sociological theories in predicting and designing alternative futures.
GVPT 306, Global Ecopolitics, Fall 2011, T& TH 12:30-1:45, Professor Jennifer Hadden.
Why is it so difficult to develop solutions to globalenvironmental problems? There are anumber of potential impediments. Environmental problems often require extensivescientific knowledge, and involve risk and uncertainty. Existing incentives for different kinds ofbehavior can channel individuals and states away from environmental protection.The structure of political decision-making may disadvantage environmentalactivists. In this course, we explorethree processes of environmental policy development – identifying problems,negotiating solutions, and implementing agreements – through a range of casestudies. These include whaling, ozonedepletion, deforestation, acid rain, and especially climate change. We will ask: under what circumstances docountries negotiate treaties to resolve important environmental problems? Howcan future agreements be improved?
For more information, go to the Environmental Science and Policy Program (SNSP)