Rebeca F Rivera
Examines topics in sustainability. Includes social, political, historical, cultural, artistic, economic, or scientific explorations of sustainability issues.
BIS 396 A: Consumption and Sustainable Development
Consumption, or over-consumption, is the elephant in America's living room. Even with the advent of the environmental movement our use of resources keeps increasing. For example, according to the University of Michigan's Center for Sustainable Systems between 1970 and 2000 our material consumption increased 57% and by 2000 American's consumed 23.6 metric tons--twice as much as the average European.
The impacts of American consumption are linked to environmental problems and increased social inequality on a global scale. At the 1992 Earth Summit countries of the global South gained enough political power to bring Northern over-consumption to the forefront of the global environmental agenda. However, in the United States and other Northern countries sustainable consumption initiatives have not lived up to the expectations of the 1992 Earth Summit. This course will examine some of the reasons why over-consumption has been difficult to address and how we might develop more sustainably.
This course will investigate why we consume the way we do, the environmental and social impacts of consumption, and examine possibilities for change and sustainable development. This course will be a holistic and interdisciplinary survey of the study of consumption including work from anthropology and sociology, economics, marketing & advertising, and ecology. At the end of this course you will have an understanding of the theory, issues, and practices related to consumption and sustainable development.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Small and large group discussions Short lectures Small and large group in-class activities Student led facilitation and presentations Students will conduct qualitative research on consumption practices
Class assignments and grading
Weekly reading responses, short assignments, research project