Sustainability and Civilization (POLISCI 35)
Scheidel, W. (PI)
Anderson, R. (PI)
Stearns, T. (PI)
Grzymala-Busse, A. (PI)
Our civilization faces enormous sustainability challenges, and meeting them will require all of the considerable talent and vision of the rising generation. The unsustainability of the carbon-based energy regime underpinning the global economy has become increasingly apparent, and much of the biological world, as well as our own species, is at risk from human activity. The international political order has proven less stable than many twentieth-century observers expected, and both economic and cultural systems have suffered increasing shocks in recent decades. Science and technology have made enormous advances, but the resulting increases in our power to affect the world carry risks, as well as potential solutions. Some of these properties of modern societies, moreover, have contributed to the rise of the global pandemic, whose widespread effects remind us of the fragility of our knowledge-dependent civilization. This one-unit, online course will bring together faculty from across the entire University to address sustainability broadly conceived. Speakers will survey the range of threats facing us, explore potential solutions, and engage our next generation of future leaders in live discussion about these pressing issues.