Political Science | Living a Sustainable Life
T200 | 27992 | Barbour
T-200 Living a Sustainable Life
Sustainability is all the buzz these days and for most of us, in
theory anyway, it seems like a worthy idea. Not using up the planet’s
resources and leaving plenty for future generations certainly sounds
like a good plan.
But as with any fervent popular movement, it’s important to balance
the enthusiasm of passionate supporters with our own critical thinking
by asking some careful questions:
• What does sustainability mean?
• What is the philosophical and scientific case for it?
• Why is the science of sustainability so controversial?
• What are the costs of choosing sustainable lifestyle alternatives
and what are the costs of not choosing them?
• What does it mean to live a sustainable life for the planet, the
nation, the community, and the individual?
• Assuming that the case for sustainable living persuades us, what
does it commit us to?
• How does the goal of sustainable living influence our choice of
where to live, where to work, how to travel, how to play, how to shop,
cook and eat, etc.?
No one person can help us answer all these questions – to tackle them
properly we would need to consult biologists and meteorologists,
philosophers and political scientists, economists and engineers,
architects and anthropologists. Fortunately, at IU, we can do that.
T-200 is a team-taught class, drawing on expertise across disciplines
and schools at Indiana University as well as in the broader
Bloomington community to explore the College of Arts and Sciences 2010
Themester topic, sustain.ability. It will encourage students to think
critically about sustainability and introduce them to the broad range
of sustainability issues with regard to several substantive subjects –
food, transportation, energy, architecture, recreation, computing,
etc. The class will end with a focus on the greening of the IU campus
itself to pull all the themes together and provide students with a
real, concrete example of what green living actually looks like.
After taking this class, students will have an understanding of what
sustainability entails and why it is important, the ability to think
critically about some of the main issues and controversies involved in
debates about sustainability and to understand the political stakes
involved in those debates, an awareness of the various kinds of
resources they personally consume and the ability to see linkages
between the personal decisions they make and the larger consequences
for the environment in which they live, and the practical knowledge of
what is needed to live a sustainable life.
Class meets twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from xx to xx in
Woodburn Hall 100. Grading is based on attendance in lecture, the
keeping of a resource journal (where students will record what kinds
of resources they consume or save as they eat, travel, play, work,
sleep, etc.), online assignments and quizzes, and a service learning
Several rows of seats at the back of Woodburn 100 are reserved for
visitors. Lecture topics and speakers will be posted on line well in
advance and we cordially invite members of the community to attend the
lectures that interest them. We only ask that visitors be “silent
observers” and reserve any opportunities for participation to those
students who have enrolled in the class.