Simply put, economics deals with the material world, and ecology is concerned with the living world. How do the two worlds meet and interact? This seminar explores this intriguing question. This broad question can be analyzed in terms of more pointed queries: What are the feedbacks between the economic and the ecological systems? How do markets and incentives affect people’s behavior and decisions regarding nature? How do people’s behavior affect the changes in hydrological, nutrient or carbon cycles? How do the changes in climate and hydrological cycles bring about changes in economic production and consumption? What does environmental sustainability entail? Can egalitarian values like fairness and justice, and care values such as concern for living organisms and future- mindedness form the basis for the preservation and quality of human and nonhuman life? We will seek the answers to these questions in terms of analytical models drawn from the field of Ecological Economics, and in terms of case studies and illustrative examples drawn from real life practices of people.
This is an introductory course and it has no prerequisites.