SUS 101 : Introduction to Sustainability

Transcript title

Introduction to Sustainability



Grade mode

Standard letter grades

Contact hours total


Lecture hours



Explores the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of sustainability. Defines and applies basic principles of sustainability to address today’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. Develops an understanding of how individual behaviors affect community and global health. Approaches sustainability from a multidisciplinary perspective by integrating faculty from across the curriculum, including public health, biology, geography, natural resources, sociology, and economics. Includes 4 hours of service learning at an off-campus location.

Learning outcomes

1. Define sustainability and explain the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of the “triple bottom line”.
2. Analyze the major environmental and social challenges of our time using a multidisciplinary, multicultural, and systems thinking approach.
3. Engage in critical discussion about the impact of human behaviors on natural systems.
4. Evaluate the sustainability of individual and collective actions on a local and global scale.
5. Apply principles of sustainability while developing personal values and professional goals.
6. Explain the relationship between human behavior and/or conditions and health. (Dept of HHP learning outcome)

Content outline

I. Foundations of sustainability: defining and measuring sustainability; Systems Thinking; history of the sustainability movement
II. Geographic perspectives: climate change; current status and future predictions
III. Ecological perspectives: the biosphere and natural systems; energy transfer; ecosystem services
IV. Energy issues: fossil fuels; renewable energy; conservation as resource
V. Consumerism: environmental and social impacts; reduce, reuse, and recycle
VI. Food and agriculture: environmental and social impacts of agriculture; food sovereignty
VII. Environmental ethics: the global commons; the Land Ethic; indigenous perspectives
VII. Natural resource management: principles, practices, and policies
VIII. Social justice: Native American assimilation; The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs; connections between social and environmental sustainability
IX. Social perspectives: defining social problems and exploring social movements
X. Economic perspectives: balancing planet, people, and profit; corporate social responsibility

Required materials


Grading methods

Grades will be determined by weekly homework assessments, midterm exam, final exam, and service learning project; class participation activities will include groups discussions and field trips.

General education/Related instruction lists

  • Social Science

Outside of

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