This is one of the most important and most comprehensive reading assignments of this course, so please read this chapter carefully and learn from it.
Answer these questions (I gave you these already):
1. How has the human capacity for normalization both helped and hindered social development, and what are its implications for sustainable reform of our industries, infrastructure, and way of life?
2. Take an everyday consumer item-running shoes, or a cup of coffee-and briefly chart its course through the global consumer economy from the production of its materials to its disposal. What are its environmental impacts, and how might they be reduced?
3. What are the major technological and economic developments since 1500 that have placed an increased strain on the planet’s ecosystem services? What is the role of carbon-based energy systems in that history?
4. What is the so-called Great Acceleration of the 20th century? What were its principal social features and environmental impacts?
5. What is the Green Revolution? What were its successes, and what problems has it created?
6. What are synchronic and diachronic views of time, and how does the distinction help us to understand the relation between human and natural systems, and to potentially rewrite history from an environmental point of view?
7. How is a bio-complex view of the relations between human and natural systems central to sustainability, in both theory and practice?
8. Define the Anthropocene.
9. What is the long history of the human relationship to bees, and what radical changes in that relationship have occurred over the last fifty years to bring it to the point of collapse? What are the implications of bee colony collapse for the global food system?
10. In what ways is the BP Oil Disaster of 2010 an example of complex human systems failure, and what are its longer chains of causation in the history of human industrialization?
11. What does it mean to say that global environmental problems such as climate change and ocean acidification represent a “tragedy of the commons?” How are global solutions to be tied to local transitions toward a sustainable society?
12. How does sustainability imply an “ethics of the future?” And in what ways does sustainability ethics both borrow and diverge from the principles that drove the major progressive social movements of the 20th century?
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