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University of Washington

Introduction to Sustainability, Resilience, and Society

University of Washington via Canvas Network

This course may be unavailable.


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.

Taught by

Stevan Harrell, PhD


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