T CORE 112
Introduces students to university work by focusing on a core curriculum from multiple and interdisciplinary perspectives. Emphasizes learning in the sciences, including computer science, geology, physics, biology, chemistry, and ecology.
This course is about science and the scientific process of learning about how the world (and universe) works. It is an introduction to science as a way of thinking and discovering the rules of how things work, how things got to be what they are as we observe them today, and from both their current state and the rules we derive what things might be like in the future. In this course we will examine the scientific basis for the concept of sustainability by applying systems thinking.
What does it mean to have a sustainable community? The term ‘sustainable’ is often invoked to suggest that some particular practice or economic condition will last indefinitely into the future. It is used by environmentalists to describe a state of nature in which, for example, species of plants and animals will be able to thrive in harmony with human economic activities. Unfortunately the term is much overused, and very poorly defined in most of these instances. In this course we will take a critical look at the concept of sustainability from the perspective of qualitative* systems science. A prime example of the application of systems thinking to sustainable living conditions is Permaculture (permanent culture). A permaculture community design starts with the notion of treating the community as an ecological system embedded in a larger system – the rest of the environment. We will explore the ways in which the general principles of systems science are applied to a permaculture community in order to achieve true sustainability. Along the way the student will learn how to use these principles to think about many different kinds of systems in the world. * Some simple algebra will be required, however.
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