ENVS 682 660
MES Concentration in Environmental Sustainability
Sustainability presents both a challenge and an opportunity for society. Issues like climate change, pollution, resource depletion, and population imbalance are stressing the planet's capacity in ways that threaten our ability to sustain thriving and just societies. At the same time, these systemic problems are unfolding too slowly to prompt most of us to take serious and significant action, or to trigger meaningful responses from our political and business leaders. People equate sustainability with efficiency, waste minimization, and pollution prevention - all worthy goals - but at the current rate of consumption and growth these approaches alone will not create the future of abundance and equity that we desire. To quote author and MIT professor John Ehrenfeld, "Reducing unsustainability - although critical - will not create sustainability." What will it take to extricate us from the current predicament and forge a new path? In this class, we will examine underlying psychological and cultural barriers to sustainability and discuss strategies for surmounting them. Students will learn leadership competencies and practices to help them more effectively lead change efforts for sustainability. Readings and discussions will explore the application of positive psychology to leverage the human technologies of creativity and collaboration in the pursuit of a more balanced and sustainable relationship with others and our ecosystems, and to shift the sustainability dialogue from the current problem-oriented approach to a vision of human wellbeing and planetary flourishing.
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