Issues in Sustainability
Early paradigms of environmental and ethical debate centered on issues related to wilderness areas and human-nature and human-animals relationships. The development of eco-philosophical discourse, including the concept of sustainability, placed questions regarding the social aspects of resources and the environment at the center. Environmental justice and social equality, democracy, human rights, the rights of future generations, and more, came in focus. Thus, the environment becomes a prism enabling critical review of a wide range of issues, including criticism of contemporary life style, consumerism, advertising and globalization, the role of the state in an era of multi-national corporations and powerful global institutions, and their impact on the environment, nature and humans.
In the background of the seminar is the question of the "Death of Environmentalism", a debate following the perceived failure of environmental NGO's in America to promote sustainable agenda in the USA, and attempts made by the environmental movement to develop alternatives. Such alternatives include radical ecology (dark green), new social ideas and concepts (the commons, degrowth, transition, resilience...), discussion on food and agriculture, and attempt to recruit other publics to the agenda of the environmental movement (e.g., trade unions). These are part of the attempt to define and redefine the concept of sustainability, including in the context of planning and environment, which will serve as the axis of the seminar.
The course will focus on the discussions of environmental disputes and controversies, as controversies show differences in perceptions of the world, and allow to understand different paradigms of the environment and of sustainability. Efforts will be made to address controversies that take place in Israel, or the Israeli angle of global controversies on the environment and sustainability.