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Introduction to Sustainability, Resilience, and Society is a Course

Introduction to Sustainability, Resilience, and Society

Ended Mar 30, 2015

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Full course description

February 23, 2015 - March 30, 2015

Examine the complex but critical concepts of sustainability and resilience, including a self-analysis of your environmental impact.

What is sustainability, and how are we active participants in it? How does our individual ‘ecological footprint’ matter among the billions of humans’ footprints on earth? How are we alike and different in our impacts, depending on where we live; and how does civic and governmental attitude impact sustainability and resilience in the future? These questions will be explored on a global, local and personal level in this introductory course. Students will compare and contrast case studies from suburban Seattle to rural, mountainous China and consider their own significant impacts on ecology.

Course Objectives:

  • Utilize both ecological and cultural concepts to understand sustainability in our society while becoming aware of their role as local and global environmental citizens.
  • Analyze how science and the political realm interact to shape our views of sustainability
  • Apply critical thinking to evaluate and participate in dialogue that influences our environmental practice
  • Apply newly discovered self-knowledge about personal environmental impact to his or her place in a global community
  • Analyze video case study of ecological impacts in China to make inferences about one’s own community
NOTE: The first five weeks of the course will be led by the instructor, after which enrollees can access all content and self-direct their learning through the course.

S Harrell

Stevan Harrell, PhD

Professor of Anthropology, Environmental and Forest Sciences

Stevan Harrell is an anthropologist of China and Taiwan and has taught at the University of Washington since 1974. His interest in ethnic identity led to further interest in ethnic arts, and from 1999-2007, he was Curator of Asian Ethnology at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.

Working in Liangshan, Stevan became interested in environmental sustainability and community development through education. He helped found the Yangjuan Primary School in 2000. At the same time, he became active in educational exchange programs. He now heads the UW Worldwide Program, exchanging undergraduates with Sichuan University and involving many of them in ecological fieldwork and community service at the Yangjuan School. In 2005, with a group of students, he founded the Cool Mountain Education Fund, a small NGO that gives scholarships to graduates of the Yangjuan School.

Stevan plans to devote the rest of his professional career to international scholarly and educational exchange and to research on human-environment interactions in the US, China, and Taiwan.