This module explores how new relationships to nature are required to underpin the prosperous future of the planet. In order to achieve this, it will begin by introducing students to key intellectual debates around prosperous human-environment relations and, in the process, scrutinise existing ideas supporting the current politics of ecology, climate and sustainability. This will include critically examining a range of models for the future that are often implicit in global political and scientific thinking (progress, directionality, development, growth, evolution, equilibrium, conservation, optimisation, nature vs culture) and challenging these with newer emerging ideas about the future of ecological systems and their inseparable entanglement with human economic, social and political systems. In order to do so, it will combine various forms of Future and transitions thinking (such as the 3H and MLP model), ideas about complexity, resilience, emergence and non-linear dynamics with approaches to knowledge rooted in non-western ontologies and decolonial design. These will be used to develop original ideas around the concept of natural prosperity and the ecologies of the future. In particular, the module introduces students to a range of emergent ideas around regenerative ecologies and the reproduction of resilient and adaptive socio-natural systems as the basis for prosperous peoples and planet. The module will introduce these key concepts through specific global case studies selected to illustrate transitions from both the global south and global north. The module also draws on leading-edge research into inclusive and pluralistic forms of prosperity and their future production through inclusive co-design developed at the IGP, uniquely applying this research to the future of ecological systems.
The module is taught through ten core learning topics including asynchronous material and synchronous/live classes and five seminars. Students are expected to complete the set key readings and tasks prior to the commencement of the class session and to come ready to discuss key topics and issues arising from the reading. Students may also be asked to submit basic non-assessed material for discussion in class. In addition to the standard module classes, additional departmental seminars given by leading academics and practitioners help to advance and embed students in a leading-edge academic community and culture.
Illustrative module outline
- Prosperity, Ecological Crises and the New Public Consciousness
- Political Ecology, Sustainability and Environmental Accounting
- From Equilibrium to Uncertainty: Time, Conservation and Resilience
- Pluriverse, Ontology and Decolonising the Design of ‘Good’ Ecologies
- Regenerating Social and Natural Prosperity: Participation, Diversity and Co-Design
- Case 1: Science and Citizens - Inclusive Ecosystem and Scenario Modelling for the Future
- Case 2: Regenerative Food Systems
- Case 3: From Green to Regenerative Energy
- Case 4: Circular BioEconomies and Regenerative Societies
- Case 5: Regeneration, Pollution and Ecosystem Services
- How Do We Transition to a New Politics of Ecology?