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Chandrika Jaggia's comments on the book and suggestions for three new sustainability courses

Page history last edited by Steven Marx 11 years, 8 months ago

 Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman and Deep Economy by McKibben

 

By Chandrika V. Jaggia, AIA, LEED AP

 

Review of Book:

 

•    It is an amalgam of information of a newsprint style with opinions that try to appeal to both sides of the aisle.   Not a very clear and consistent analysis, though it has snippets of useful information.

•    This book can definitely not be used directly as a course book.  Nevertheless, it does bring forth the importance of understanding the history of the current ecological crisis and a need for solutions at various levels – local, national, and international.

 

Suggestion for possible courses at Calpoly:

 

As a consequence of reading both Friedman and McKibben the possibility of the following courses comes to mind:

1.    History of the Current Ecological Crisis: This should be a general education course which creates an awareness and understanding of the political, economic, geographic history that has lead to the current and the future difficulties awaiting us.  Here facts like the world population problems, political greediness and lack of political foresight and will, poor resource management, exploitation by corporations, politics of oil, derailment of the electric car, consumerism gone amuck, etc., should all be outlined and discussed.  While many current courses cover these issues individually a consolidated course is in order.

2.    The Ethics of Human Living:  This course should follow the previous one and discuss ways of changing our attitude towards life and its aspirations.  Part philosophy part reality this course should discuss philosophers who have been advising us against consumerist and expansionist pitfalls.  McKibben’s suggestions will be very handy here.  Successful examples of local production and consumption can provide a convincing argument.  For example, Scandinavian and a few other west European countries offer many successful examples of sustainability implemented at a national level.  This course should help establish common goals of human well being at the physical, psychological, and spiritual level.  It should dwell into the inter-dependence of all these goals.  While we as a team here can help establish an outline of ethics that are beneficial for the human race and its survival and which the course can present, students should be allowed to expand and add to these and indulge in discussion.  For them to buy into it they need to feel they helped establish these codes.  This is an old management technique that helps successful implementation.

3.    Methods of Sustainable Human Life:  These should be a series of courses within all departments that tackle the specific sustainable issues applicable to their field.   The first two courses should be pre-requisites for these courses.  Engineering, planning, architectural, financial, economic, journalism, etc. fields should teach about sustainable approaches, methodologies, technologies, and their implementation at the local community as well as the national and international levels as applicable to their fields.  Needless to say the code of ethics outline established should remain the guiding light in all these courses.  Many courses will need to be re-thought and re-formulated to cater to sustainable goals.

More as our discussion continues over the year.

 

Comments (1)

Rob Rutherford said

at 6:07 pm on Mar 10, 2009

Good ideas. History of Ecological Crises must absolutely consider our soils - the only consistent support system of life on the planet. History is laced with prominent individuals up to and including the White House who espoused that without healthy soils, we have no economy, no society, no future.

Rob Rutherford

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