HU2506 | Summer 2008 | Science & The Public Sphere: The Example of Biochar | Terra Preta Nova

More Context: “Sustainability”

All of our work in this course is in the context of sustainability and how the humanities, society, and technology can function in this domain — the spring section spent 14 weeks trying to define the concept — and our readings toward that end this summer include texts on faith and ecology, grassroots sustainability initiatives in Central America, poetry, and other explorations in imaginative, scientific, environmental, and technical communication. Today’s New York Times article on sustainability at Stony Brook University is therefore timely:

Sustainability is one of those fuzzy academic areas that varies in what it encompasses, even what it’s called. But on its philosophy there is consensus: it takes a multidimensional approach to understanding man’s interactions with the natural and man-made world, with a strong social-justice component (something environmental studies has traditionally lacked).

Across-the-curriculum sustainability was once the exclusive province of eco-colleges like Prescott in Arizona, which offers a Ph.D. in sustainability education, and the College of the Atlantic in Maine, where all students major in human ecology. But the subject has spread to mainstream colleges, as an end in itself (usually as a minor) or wrapped in another discipline (sustainability design, say, or economics).

The article appears in a “Green Revolution” special section of Education Life.

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