HON 310 - Honors Global Ethical Inquiry: Nine Billion People, One Damp Rock
HON 310 - Honors Global Ethical Inquiry: Nine Billion People, One Damp Rock S’13 [artz, 1/7/13]
Fulfills USM Core requirements of 1) Ethical Inquiry, Social Responsibility and Citizenship1 and 2) International.2
CRN 9587: Tu/Th 11:45am - 1:00pm, 237 Luther Bonney
Professor: Nancy Artz, Ph.D.
email@example.com, 207-780-4321(work) 829-6594 (home – ok to call evenings or weekends)
Office hrs. (Honors Ctr., 250 Luther Bonney): Tu.10-11:30am, by appt., or drop-in. Available for walks in Deering Oaks.
On-line availability: e-mail rarely checked on weekends or evenings. Best to phone at those times.
Prerequisite: honors student status (or permission) and 39 credits.
COURSE CONTENT, FORMAT, AND OBJECTIVES
Garret Hardin’s 1968 essay, "The Tragedy of the Commons," asks you to picture shepherds grazing their sheep in a shared pasture. Imagine plentiful grass. Sharing the land is not a problem. Now consider what happens when each shepherd adds more sheep each year to increase income. Eventually, overgrazing occurs. The pasture deteriorates, providing less grass than before. Everyone suffers.
As this parable illustrates, what is good for the individual may not be good for society. Seemingly rational actions by self-interested individuals in a free market can deplete or damage natural resources, including the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we rely upon for our food.
We all rely on the limited natural resources of one damp rock – planet Earth. Resource limits prevent the unlimited growth of human population and consumption. Yet world population has doubled in my lifetime. Population reached seven billion in 2012 and is likely to peak at nine billion within the lifetime of a typical USM student. Moreover, individual consumers use more natural resources than their ancestors did. The average house in the U.S., for example, has doubled in size from what it was in 1950. And as affluence grows in China, India, Brazil, and other emerging economies, consumption is increasing globally.
Imagine nine billion consumers vying for Earth’s resources. Will there be enough food, water, and energy for all? To what extent can resource limits be avoided by using resources more efficiently? Can we prevent climate change and other global tragedies of the commons? What does it take to get individuals, organizations, and nations to act for the good of all? When resource limits are reached, what is an equitable distribution of resources across individuals and nations? What changes in our economic and political systems are needed to produce an equitable distribution of resources? This course examines these questions, especially those relating to energy use and climate change.
Students who successfully complete this course will be able to …
recognize and use basic terms and concepts related to sustainable use of natural resources: sustainability principles, tragedy of the commons, externalities/external costs, ecological footprint, I=PAT, systems thinking, climate change, The Natural Step, ecosystem services, life cycle analysis, sustainable development and alternative models of economic progress, international climate treaties, UN Millennial Development goals;
characterize global use of natural resources and recognize concerns related to equity and sufficiency;
appreciate how assumptions and values -- often culturally derived – underlie a person’s use of natural resources as well as their views on the responsibility of consumers, organizations, and nations to move toward sustainability;
1 The course focuses on a theme that “engages students in critical reflection on their responsibilities for informed decision making and action in their public and private roles. It requires students to frame, analyze, and evaluate ethical issues, as well as to articulate and evaluate their own viewpoints and actions in relation to the ethical frameworks introduced.” Students are expected to engage in co-curricular experiences and engage in action that is meaningful, possibly public, such as service learning, sharing knowledge through public presentations, organizing and participating in co-curricular activities and events, writing a letter to the editor or legislator, or otherwise intentionally acting in their public/private roles.
Common texts selected for use: 1) Garrett Hardin's “The Tragedy of the Commons” and 2) Rushworth Kidder’s How Good People Make Tough Choices.
2 This course helps students become world-minded learners who are knowledgeable about and have a comparative understanding of international social, political, economic, or cultural issues in context. Courses that satisfy this requirement develop students’ knowledge and skills in relation to international issues of relevance to the course topic and focus.
describe values, perspectives, and ideas emanating from other countries and how they represent alternate ways to organize society and guide resource use;
employ a deliberative process for informed, ethical decision-making (e.g., combining Wolcott’s model of reflective judgment with the Rushworth Kidder ethical framework), and use the results to advocate for a specific, more sustainable action; and
Use high-level cognitive skills -- application, analysis, contrast/juxtaposition/integration, and evaluation -- to develop ideas and effectively communicate those ideas orally and in writing.
This course also relates to the broader goals of general education reflected in the USM Core:
General education at USM is a coherent, integrative and rigorous liberal education that will enable our graduates to be world-minded, intentional, life-long learners. General education engages the academic community in substantive learning experiences that both illuminate and transcend the perspectives of various disciplines, and systematically fosters the values and dispositions, knowledge, and skills essential for students to demonstrate…
1. informed understandings of interrelationships between human cultures and the natural world;
2. analytical, contextual, and integrative thinking about complex issues;
3. effective communication using multiple forms of expression;
4. critical reflection upon, and informed action in, their roles as participants in multiple communities; and
5. ethical action to contribute to the social and environmental welfare of local and global communities.
REQUIRED BOOKS: bookstore out of used books? try bookfinder.com
Kidder, Rushworth (2003), How Good People Make Tough Choices, NY: Quill/HarperCollins.
Robert, Karl-Henrik (2002), The Natural Step Story, BC, Canada: New Society Publishers.
All other readings are available for free via e-reserves or the web, including…
selected articles in The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century's Sustainability Crises (2010), edited by R. Heinberg and D. Lerch, Healdsurg, CA: Watershed Media.
excerpts from Larson, Andrea (2011), Sustainability, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. http://catalog.flatworldknowledge.com
GRADES: End-of-semester point totals of 90/80/70/60 guarantee grades of A-/B-/C-/D-, respectively.
Attendance and class preparation/participation (includes informal written reflections on assigned readings that may or may not be collected and graded on a check/check plus basis) 10
Written reflections on assigned readings (~5 formally-graded responses to instructor-provided prompts) 11
Service Learning Fact Sheet for Casco Bay Estuary Partnership 25
Op Ed assignment 11
End-of-semester essay on sufficiency 13
Miscellaneous assignments including ….
footprint calculation (2%)
carbon footprint calculation and offset assignment (1%)
carbon reduction assignment (2%)
co-curricular event (2%)
consumption log (3%)
interview someone from another culture (3%)
Assignments weights may be tweaked if assignments are added or deleted from the list. 20
Oral final exam (questions to be posted on Bb; sign up at http://doodle.com/z25rhzn5kttq5q42) 100 TOTAL POINTS
ATTENDANCE/PREPARATION/PARTICIPATION, SUBMISSION OF WORK, and MAKEUP POLICY
You are expected to attend every class from beginning to end, and attendance is loosely monitored. Because ‘life happens,’ an occasional absence can be offset by exceptional participation when you are in class.
You are to prepare for each class discussion by informally writing an assignment-related question or reflective comment. Please write on a separate piece of paper since the instructor may occasionally collect what you have written (graded on a check / check-plus scale as part of your class preparation/participation grade). Students will also be asked to volunteer in advance to provide an oral two-minute summary of one or two assigned readings to refresh our memories before we start class discussion.
Approximately five times during the semester the instructor will provide a specific prompt for your reflection and formally grade your response. (Look for the assignment heading of “Graded Reflection”)
Submission of work & Make-up Policy: Unless noted otherwise, work is to be physically submitted during class period when it is due (no e-mail or under office door, although you can have another student submit your work). Minor assignments (i.e., <10% of course grade) are not accepted on a trickle-in basis. That said, the last week of class is “partial amnesty week” in which late assignments (labeled by due date) can be submitted in a single batch. One minor assignment will be graded for full credit and the remainder can earn a maximum possible grade of C- (70%). This is true even if you swear you did the homework before class, because in-class submission is a proxy indicator of attendance and participation.
Extreme extenuating circumstances: If -- for reasons beyond your control such as lengthy hospitalization -- you miss a substantial number of classes and assignments, see me about the possibility of a make-up plan, including extra-credit.
ASSIGNMENTS – see Bb for details
SERVICE LEARNING: You are to write a “fact sheet” for the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership. A CBEP staff member will propose topics from which you can choose and provide a style template.
OP ED: Write an “op ed” for the Portland Press3 or The Free Press4 recommending a particular action to foster sustainable use of a globally-limited natural resource. I recommend that you address the problem you examined in your service-learning project. You might encourage consumers to modify their behavior in a specific way or you might advocate a particular public policy. Your recommended action should address an ethical dilemma (trade-off between values or stakeholder interests) rather than an action that everyone agrees should be done. The op ed should 1) make clear how action -- or maintenance of the status quo – meaningfully reduces/internalizes externalities – although that term needn’t be used explicitly, 2) explain why your action is best given the likely alternative(s), 3) acknowledge key trade-offs of accepting your position and limitations of your arguments, 4) be extremely well written. I encourage you to actually send your letter and share responses you receive.
You will also submit a self-assessment of your use of Wolcott’s thinking steps in the development of your position and an ethical analysis of your position using the values and ethical principles outlined in Kidder’s book. (3-5 pages)
OPTION: see me if you wish to testify to the state legislature in lieu of the Op Ed and Service Leaning assignments
END-OF-SEMESTER ESSAY (4-6 pages): reflect on Princen’s sufficiency principle (as it relates to natural resource use) and the implications for you personally and for American society. Start by “locating common ground and locating conflict” among the concept of sufficiency, the system conditions of The Natural Step, Kidder’s ethical framework, and various approaches to societal organization (market-based capitalism, social democracy, corporate social responsibility, and sustainable development, including Shiva’s alternative approach to sustainable development). Then integrate your thoughts into your personal vision of an ethical way for individuals and nations to operate in a world of nine billion people sharing one damp rock. Your essay should address how course concepts, activities, and reading have changed you or your approach to thinking.
MISCELLANEOUS MINOR ASSIGNMENTS: At various points during the semester, you will be asked to complete an online exercise or engage in a small activity such as...
Footprint calculation: use a footprint calculator to quantify your resource use, report your footprint size, and interpret how your resource use compares to that of others in the world and to the total available on the planet.
3 “Maine Voices” (650-750 words), http://www.pressherald.com/opinion/
4 Free Press guest commentaries (<750 words), http://usmfreepress.org/letters-to-the-editor/
Carbon footprint calculation and offset assignment: use a carbon ‘calculator’ to convert your annual direct use of gasoline, electricity, and heating fuels (dorm students can use estimates for electricity and heating fuel) to tons of CO2e emitted and then determine the cost to offset that amount given the price of carbon in the current carbon market.
Carbon reduction assignment: what specific actions (other than RECs) would reduce your GHG emissions 20%?
Co-curricular activity: attend an event related to sustainable resource use and post a course-related observation in the co-curriculum section of Blackboard. You are to 1) indicate the event you attended and 2) state something you learned at the event – or had reinforced – that is important for world-minded citizens to know. Your grade depends on the relevance of the event and the quality of your remarks. Those with logistical constraints may seek permission to substitute a webcast for a face-to-face event. See Bb’s co-curriculum section for suggestions on finding an event.
Consumption log: throughout the semester, periodically record personal consumption decisions, including decisions not to consume. The instructor will explain the format of the log, which asks you to note if you are aware of any supply chain efforts to reduce GHG emissions or other environmental impact, improve social conditions, or otherwise meet the Millennium Development Goals.
Interview someone who has recently lived in another culture: Instructions will be provided on complying with standards for human subject research. You can interview another student, a USM employee, or someone from the community. Reflect on how the values and practices of another culture differ from the U.S. (in the eyes of the informant) and how what you have learned about another culture affects your understanding of U.S. culture. .
OPTION: consider volunteering at the Parkside Neighborhood Center during a ‘Give Away’ day or for several community dinners as a way to meet someone to interview. Your service learning project could also be converted to one in which you develop educational material for the Parkside community.
STUDENT SUPPORT: Please contact me if you encounter difficulty with the course or wish to perform at a higher level.
For problems with writing skills, general software/technology, and study skills visit USM’s Learning Commons (tutors available at USM libraries and at http://usm.maine.edu/library/learning-commons). For emotional support, see Counseling Services, 105 Payson (780-4050). Accommodations are available if you are registered at the Office of Support for Students with Disabilities, 242 Luther Bonney (780-4706; TTY 780-4395).
ACADEMIC INTEGRITY POLICY: see USM’s academic integrity policy at www.usm.maine.edu/ocs/policy.html
TENTATIVE ASSIGNMENT SCHEDULE
See Blackboard for the official assignment for each class. Assignments are posted by Friday night for the following week – any revisions after Friday are emailed to your @maine.edu address.
Unless you are instructed otherwise, prepare for in-class discussion in each class session by informally writing an assignment-related question or reflective comment.
Due in class that day (PLUS IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES) Topic & class goal
Read syllabus & bring questions, if any, to class
IN-CLASS ACTIVITY: making consumption log entries INTRO TO COURSE Introduce 1) concept of sustainability and 2) how natural resource limits are linked to global growth in population and consumption (I=PAT)
Chp 1 in SIE5: “History” of U.S. environmental movement
Chp 7 in Post Carbon Reader: “Water: Adapting to a New Normal” by Sandra Postel, p77-94. www.postcarbon.org/Reader/PCReader-Postel-Water.pdf
[Reminder: always check Bb for assignment revisions] NEED FOR SUSTAINABILITY Reinforce need for sustainable natural resource use by reviewing eco/social concerns. Consider how resource use is intertwined with societal organization (market-based democracy), Use water as an example of a problematic global resource limit and possible solutions.
UN Millennium Development Goal Report (2012), 67 pgs (www.un.org/millenniumgoals)
Due: 1st ten entries in your consumption log (baseline) U.N. MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS (MDG) Examine global sustainable development concerns (often relate to resource use equity/sufficiency) and international response orchestrated through the U.N.
5.pdf posted on Bb; original source: Larson, Andrea (2011), Sustainability, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. Flatworldknowledge.com
Due in class that day (PLUS IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES) Topic & class goal
Chp 12 in Post Carbon Reader: “Population: The Multiplier of Everything Else” by Wm. Ryerson, p153-175. POPULATION Explore global population growth, relationship to resource limits, and solutions/responses.
Chp 1 (& Forward) in Post Carbon Reader: “Beyond the Limits to Growth” by Richard Heinberg, p xix-xxiii & 3-12
Due: Ecological Footprint assignment ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT (CONSUMPTION) & LIMITS TO GROWTH Further examine global resource limits, relating them to differences in per-capita resource use across nations and to the student’s personal resource use. Consider resource-related assumptions underlying societal organization in developed economies. Introduce the consumption log assignment.
SIE excerpts on “Framing Sustainability” & “Systems Thinking,” including Paradigms & Mindsets, Carrying Capacity & Equity, Changed Understanding, Sustainable Development.
video on UT Nursing School’s use of the Natural Step SUSTAINABILITY PRINCIPLES & SWEDISH APPROACH TO RESOURCE USE Examine principles of sustainability, including the model of natural resource use embodied in The Natural Step.
“Parts 1 & 2 (pg 1-74), The Natural Step Story by Karl-Henrik Robert (2002)
Graded Reflection: Reflect on why TNS emerged and was adopted in Sweden, not the U.S. THE NATURAL STEP & SWEDISH APPROACH (CONT.) Students read about the development and implementation of The Natural Step in Sweden and the instructor lectures on Sweden’s approach to sustainability. This provides insight into Swedish culture and alternative models of societal organization (social democracies and socially responsible corporations).
“Parts 3-5 (pg 76-87, 101-204), The Natural Step Story by Karl-Henrik Robert (2002)
“Tragedy of the Commons” by Garrett Hardin (EISRC common text)
“Debunking the `Tragedy of the Commons'” by Ian Angus (2008, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal blog entry) http://links.org.au/node/595
overview of ecosystem services (SIE? instructor?) TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS & EXTERNALITIES Consider how societal organization (free markets) can lead to the external cost of a deteriorated natural resource, and thus the loss of societal benefits (ecosystem services).
“A New World”, by Bill McKibben (2010), pgs 1-5, 13-21 in Eaarth, NY: Times Books (chp 4 Post Carbon Reader)
overview on energy & climate (SIE? TNS? instructor?) EXTENDED CASE STUDY: CLIMATE CHANGE Begin extended examination of climate change as a way to explore the tragedy of the commons and equitable, sustainable use of natural resources. Start with causes and consequences of climate change. vacation week (no class on Feb. 19 & 21)
overview of LCA (SIE? instructor?)
“Full Cost Accounting for the Life Cycle of Coal” (2011), P.R. Epstein et al., Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. pg 73-98
Due: Carbon Footprint & Offset Assignment MEASURING RESOURCE USE IMPACTS (C.C. cont.) Examine external costs of energy from a tragedy of the commons perspective. Explore quantitative measurement of ecological impacts (LCA & carbon calculators)
Due: Carbon reduction assignment (propose actions you could take to reduce your GHG emissions 20 %.)
IN-CLASS ACTIVITY: TOUR? PERSONAL ETHICAL ACTION (Climate change cont.) Employ quantitative analysis & consider personal action relating to responsible use of climate-change-related natural resources. Learn how USM ~walks the talk on climate change.
Chp 5 in Post Carbon Reader: “The International Response to Climate Change” by Richard Douthwaite, p53-62.
Chp 6 in Post Carbon Reader: “The Ecological Deficit: Creating a New Political Framework” by David Orr, p63-73. PUBLIC POLICY (Climate change cont.) Consider societal action for responsible use of climate-change-related natural resources. Specifically examine international climate treaty efforts and political processes.
“International Climate Change Politics” K. Rietig (8/12) www.e-ir.info/2012/08/01/international-climate-change-politics-challenge...
“Chp 15: Equity, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Global Common Resources,” Paul Baer, in Climate Change Policy, D.C.: Island Press http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/15-Ch15%283...
Graded Reflection: reflect on conflicting positions in int’l negotiations on climate change treaties GLOBAL NORTH & SOUTH: CONFLICTING VIEWS (Climate change cont.) Consider conflicting perspectives of the global north and south, which have stalled progress in international climate treaties.
Due: Service Learning Fact Sheet for CBEP IN-CLASS: INTRO TO WOLCOTT RUBRIC
Due in class that day (PLUS IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES) Topic & class goal
pgs 1-45 and 77-126 in Rushworth Kidder’s How Good People Make Tough Choices (2002)
Due: 2nd ten entries in your consumption log ETHICAL DECISION MAKING– PERSONAL LEVEL Learn a model for ethical decision making that can be applied to resource use. Students reflect on the extent to their consumption choices are intentional and consistent with the principles of sustainability.
pgs 127-187 in Kidder’s book
excerpts from Wolcott working paper (2009) “A Developmental; Approach for Teaching Ethical Reasoning Skills” (www.WolcottLynch.com)
IN-CLASS ACTIVITY: APPLY KIDDER & WOLCOTT MODELS TO A PERSONAL CONSUMPTION DECISION & PUBLIC POLICY. ETHICAL DECISION MAKING (CONT.) -- IN -CLASS APPLICATION OF KIDDER & WOLCOTT MODELS Engage in metacognition about higher-order cognitive thinking and ethical decision making. Engage in an in-class application of the Wolcott & Kidder models to a climate change-related consumption decision (e.g., green power) and to the U.S. & Global South positions on climate treaties.
pgs 202-207in Kidder’s book
IN-CLASS ACTIVITY: INTRODUCE OP ED WRITING. Consider action you recommend to foster sustainable global use of a natural resource. ETHICAL DECISION MAKING (CONT.) Wrap up discussion of moral reasoning. vacation week – no class on March 26 & 28
Drafts Due: 1) summary of action to be recommended in Op Ed, 2) self-assessment of your use of Wolcott thinking competency steps, 3) ethical analysis of action.
IN-CLASS ACTIVITY: PEER CONSULTATION OP ED WRITING: GEN ED GOALS 4&5 (CONT.)
Due: Op Ed and companion assignments (plus oral summary)
Vandana Shiva on Capitalism, Sustainability, and the Environment [75 min video]
Read one of Vendana Shiva’s Op Eds @ http://www.ipsnews.net/author/vandana-shiva/
Graded Reflection: using Kidder’s model, how does Shiva’s vision differ from that of free-market capitalism? What role might culture play? ALT. MODEL FOR ORGANIZING SOCIETY: VENDANA SHIVA & INDIA Consider Vendana Shiva’s critique of economic globalization, privatization of water, and patenting nature (i.e., analyze equity in global resource use)
Preface & chp 1 (p1-19) in Princen’s Logic of Sufficiency (2005)
Graded Reflection: tba ALT. MODEL FOR ORGANIZING SOCIETY (CONT.) SUFFICIENCY IN PRINCIPLE & PRACTICE CASE STUDY: TORONTO ISLAND SUFFICIENCY ACROSS THE WORLD Multi-week exploration of the principle of sufficiency (in terms of using resources and ecosystem services) and the implications for societal organization. Class format: students bring to class questions they have about this challenging text and write an essay about the personal or societal implication of the material. Instructor provides lecturettes on key concepts from sections of the book that students do not read. In class discussion of how personal consumption (as reflected in consumption logs) is intentional and/or embodies the sufficiency principle. A panel discussion & an assignment for students to interview someone from a different culture provide cross-cultural insight. A field trip or a guest speaker will illustrate a community example of sufficiency. The unit ends by tying the course elements together.
Chp 2 in The Logic of Sufficiency: “Ecological Rationality: Mgmt & Self-mgmt in an ecologically constrained world”
Chp 8 in The Logic of Sufficiency: “Toronto island: resisting Automobility”
Informal Reflection Prompt: “What Canadian values are presented as enabling residents to resist American car culture? Are these values evident in American micro cultures?
Chp 9 in The Logic of Sufficiency: “Making Ecological Sense”
Due: 3rd ten entries in your consumption log
Deadline: co-curricular activity
IN-CLASS ACTIVITY: panel representing different cultures compares America and other cultures on values and practices related to sufficiency, consumption, and sustainable use of natural resources.
Graded Reflection: Interview someone from another culture.
Due: End-of-semester essay on sufficiency principle Finals week: Individual oral exams scheduled throughout the week (see Bb and http://doodle.com/z25rhzn5kttq5q42 )