Resilience in Socio-Ecological Systems

MW 1:30-3:20, Denny 401

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Course Requirements
Class Project
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Discussion Board

1. Key Concepts
2. Key Concepts Cont.
3. Sustainability
4. China Example
5. Commons
6. Anthropology
7. Management
8. Critiques
9. Resonances

The Resilience Alliance
Ecology and Society

Class Schedule: Week 3, Resilience and Sustainability

Monday, April 15: Sustainability is one of the most difficult concepts to define, let alone use in a scientific way, yet it remains essential to our current discourse on environmental and resource problems. Today we will read three divergent approaches to sustainability, and by 10:00 a.m., you should post 200-300 words on what you think sustainability means and why you think it is (or is not) an important concept. In class, I will present a lecture on three ways that sustainability is like both God and a water weenie. We will use my lecture and your postings to discuss whether we can ever get hold of the water weenie that is sustainability. Wednesday, April 17: Today we get into formal definitions and applications of sustainability, from economists and historians, to see if the concept is more than just a signal of hope or a beacon for political activism. By 10:00 a.m., you should post 200-300 words on an example of the ways the authors' definitions of sustainability might be applied to a problem you are personally interested in. In class, we will start with a general discussion of these authors' methods, and then discuss each of your examples until we run out of time.
  • Robert Solow, "Sustainability: An economist's perspective," in Robert Dorfman and Nancy S. Dorfman, eds., Economics of the Environment: Selected Readings (1993), pp. 179-187.
  • William A. Brock, Karl-Goran-Maler, and Charles Perrings, "Resilience and Sustainability: The Economic Analysis of Nonlinear Dynamic Systems," chapter 10 of Panarchy
  • John A Dearing. 2007. Human-Environment Interactions: Learning from the Past. In Robert Costanza, Lisa L. Graumlich, and Will Steffen, eds., Sustainability or Collapse (Berlin: Freie Universitaet), pp. 19-34.