New course for 15W: ENVR 430, Ecological Dimensions of Sustainability

Here is a great new course being offered in 2015W, particularly for GRS and Food and Envrionment students! You can find this course on the UBC Course Schedule and register through your SSC.


Have you ever noticed that environmental management and sustainability initiatives often seem to work against the logic of ecology and evolutionary biology? Have you wondered how many contexts suffer from such misalignment? And have you ever wondered what role you might play in contributing to a better alignment between laws, policies, and management, and what we know about ecology? If so, consider this new course:

ENVR 430, Ecological Dimensions of Sustainability

Location and Time: FNH 60, Fridays 1030-1330 (10:30am – 1:30pm), starting Sep 11.

Prerequisite: One of ENVR 300, BIOL 230, fourth-year standing in the BSCN program, or other demonstrated ecology background.

Instructor:Kai Chan, CHANS Lab (Connecting Humans and Natural Systems), Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES)

A. Expanded Course Description

When students have completed this course, they will be able to consider and critique the interacting roles of numerous sustainability initiatives in relation to their scientific basis, with a particular focus on biological conservation, spatial planning, ecosystem services, ecosystem-based management, complex systems analysis, corporate social/environmental responsibility, footprint analysis, product certification systems, environmental impact assessment and life-cycle assessment. Whereas many supposed sustainability ‘solutions’ are doomed to fail because of naïveté about ecological and social contexts and dynamics, students will adeptly navigate and integrate learning of environmental sciences with insights from social sciences to pinpoint critical obstacles and design work-arounds. And, applying this scientific understanding, students will plan and critique integrative initiatives intended to foster sustainability.

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