Population and the Environment: From Population Bomb to Environmental Justice (ENV2172.01)

David Eisenhauer

What is the connection between human population and environmental change? This seemingly simple question is one with a long and complicated history that is filled with inequality, violence, and suffering as well as with cases of justice, inclusion, and hope that demonstrate the real possibilities for positive and transformative change. This course will explore exactly what is really being discussed when people talk about population and environmental change. We will examine questions such as: What contributes to some areas having higher population growth rates? Who has contributed the most to global environmental changes, such as climate change and species extinction? Why has population so often been framed as the most important problem? Further, we will explore the question of: How can a planet with up to 10 billion inhabitants thrive in a sustainable and equitable way? We will discuss how a focus on environmental justice opens up new possibilities for understanding the relationship between population and the environment in ways that imagine a world where everyone can meet their needs while protecting the natural world. For the final project, students will work in small groups to research an environmental challenge or problem and explore who is most responsible, who is experiencing the most harm, and who might solve the problem.


Learning Outcomes:
-To critically analyze various discourses regarding the connections between population and the environment;
-To understand broad global demographic trends;
-To examine emerging efforts to integrate justice within environmental movements;
-To explore the potential for sustainable and equitable futures in which both people and the environment thrive;
-To research the political economy of an environmental problem and examine potential solutions.



Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 10:00AM - 11:50AM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 22
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: All courses , Environment , Updates , Fully In-Person
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