Related Online Courses from the Past

Since September 2001, semester courses have been offered in the Harvard University Extension School on the problems of environmental ethics.  Over the years the initial course in environmental ethics expanded to cover three basic questions — each of which is represented with an introductory course in the subject concerned.  The three basic questions are these:

  1. First, what is the human role in the global ecosystem? (addressed in the “Global Climate Change…” course).
  2. Second, how does our understanding of the human role in Earth’s ecosystem inform us about how ought we to behave as conscious citizens in Earth’s complex and evolving ecosystem?  In short,what kind of environmental ethic must we learn to devise and abide by to assure human sustainability? (addressed in the “Environmental Ethics & Land Management” course).
  3. and third, from our understanding of an environmental ethics of sustainability, how should individuals and communities behave toward one another for a sustainable future in our common world?  (addressed in the “Introduction to Environmental Justice” course).

A fourth realm of concern focuses now on how to develop effective transition strategies for our modern industrial culture to move beyond a world that has become dependent upon non-renewable fossil fuel consumption to one that can become sustainable instead on the basis of throughput solar energy and closed-loop materials cycling.  These questions have been addressed in courses under the general category of “Transition Studies.”

Why transition studies?

Transition Studies:

The Science, Social Impact and Diplomacy of a World Environmental Crisis:

Environmental Ethics and Land Management:

Introduction to Environmental Justice:

All three of these courses draw for their reference and research material from, among other sources, EcoJustice.TV…A Clearing House…,” and students are urged to make full use of this facility and the links posted on it to help integrate and enhance the cumulative nature of their work throughout whatever other courses or professional work they pursue.

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