Introduction to the study of economics as dependent on social and environmental systems and to transdisciplinary problem-solving using ecological economics. Prerequisite: Minimum Sophomore standing. Cross-listed with: NR 141.
Dates: June 18 - July 13, 2018; Cross listed w/NR 141 OL1
Ecological economics provides an alternative to mainstream economics that is aligned with a contemporary understanding of earth systems, human biology, and deliberative democracy. While the mainstream is oriented around market efficiency and economic growth, Ecological economics is a transdisciplinary study of the economy with a three-tiered focus on sustainable scale, equitable distribution, and efficient allocation. Human economies are embedded in social systems, which in turn are contained and sustained by ecosystems. Economic institutions are historically contingent on social contracts, resource scarcity, and co-evolution with biophysical systems. The class serves two broad goals: (1) to establish a knowledge base in ecological economics from which to build subsequent problem-based learning courses at the University of Vermont, and (2) acquire problem solving skills to address complex social and environmental challenges. To serve these goals, weekly readings from a textbook in ecological economics will introduce topics, and student groups will then apply course material in a course project.
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