Rationale and Objectives

The aim of this unit is to introduce students to the challenge of living sustainably within planetary limits. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and conflicts between unequal social groups raise complex and interrelated issues. Higher education institutions have an important role in developing critical and creative thinking about such important issues – the meta-narrative of the supposed anthropocene  epoch.

Sustainable thinking requires us to engage with ‘wicked problems’ which although connected, involve complex feedback back loops leading to unpredictable outcomes. In many cases there are no simple solutions and as such students will need to be able to tolerate uncertainty and ambiguity as they engage in critical and creative thinking. Difficult thinking is therefore the fundamental stance from which to make wise decisions for a sustainable future.

In the development of a deeper understanding of sustainability and sustainable development students will become more aware of the contested nature of sustainability. This will include encountering, within cultural contexts, terms and concepts derived from ecology, economics, social and political theory.