Highlighted: IIS elective Rethinking Sustainable Societies: New Perspectives

University of Amsterdam

A new elective on sustainability will start in September, bringing together students from all backgrounds to explore sustainability in innovative ways and from various disciplines and perspectives. Why is this important and what can students expect?

Despite increasingly alarming reports about the environment, the urgency of changing people’s behaviour is still not clear to a lot of people. The consequences of the climate crisis are not yet directly felt and are not attributable to the actions of individuals. The problem is clear; however, there is no consensus on a solution yet. We need to redistribute so that improving prosperity is not accompanied by an increase in climate impact – but how do we get there?

Dr. Mendel Giezen, lecturer in sustainable urban development and coordinator of the course, explains: “In this course, we discuss the failure of the triple bottom line, how the current economic structure doesn’t contribute to improving social and economic welfare in the broad sense and we look at sustainability from different perspectives, such as the Donut Economy, climate justice and technology.”

Active seminars

Each lecture highlights a different perspective on sustainability, followed by a seminar in which the students will actively engage in discussion, both with each other and with the literature. A central feature of the course is the -online and offline- dialogue with peer students and learning from each other’s perspective.

Topics that will be discussed include the rights of non-human actors such as plants and animals, and the legislation against ecocide (crimes committed against the environment, where human action leads to the extinction of animal species). After all, intervention on climate change cannot be seen separately from the economic system and the structural inequality in society, both between countries and groups of people and between people and animals.

Copyright: UvA Academy

We will go beyond the failed people-planet-profit perspective and think in a broader sense than the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. In what ways, for example, can you look at sustainability from an activist perspective?
Dr. Mendel Giezen

Are you the kind of student who wants to have an impact and actively contribute to the changes our society needs? Register now! The course Rethinking Sustainable Societies: New Perspectives starts in September and is meant for second-year and third-year students at the UvA and other higher education institutions. Registration is possible until one week prior to the start of the course in September.

Dr. M. (Mendel) Giezen

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