• Part 5: Planetary Boundaries and Resource Politics

    Planetary and social boundaries diagramThis part of the course explores some of the most prominent emerging discourses around the environment and sustainability.

    The first section examines the concepts of 'planetary boundaries' and the 'Anthropocene', demonstrating how these ideas have been presented in ways that ignore the political and contested nature of the problems that these ideas seek to explain and solve. The second section looks more deeply at the political nature of sustainability, looking specifically at the politics of resource management.

    Both parts of the module foreground the importance of such a political reading of sustainability if socially just and environmentally sound pathways to sustainability are considered desirable.  

    Learning outcomes

    At the end of this module, a successful participant should be able to:

    1. Describe what is meant by the idea of “planetary boundaries”.
    2. Describe why some commentators argue we have now entered a new geological epoch, the 'Anthropocene'.
    3. Articulate how these concepts have been criticised for not attending to politics, social justice and international development concerns.
    4. Describe why natural resource management is inherently political.
    5. Define how various environmental policy processes entail the financialisation of nature.
    6. Apply these concepts to concrete examples of policy processes.

    This part is split into two sections:

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