Schedule: ENST305: Ecology, Economics, and Ethics | Fall 2014

Summary: This is the schedule for ENST305, Ecology, Economics, and Ethics, offered at Ramapo College by Professor Wayne Hayes in the fall 2014 semester. This page will guide the sequence of events in ENST305.

Syllabus | Bulletin Board || TOC: Key Dates, Intro, economics, closure

Important Dates ^

The Academic Calendar for the Fall 2014 semester displays important dates to keep in mind. Please note the due dates for ENST305 below, listed in chronological order. All documents must be submitted as attachments to The documents are due on Wednesdays by class time.

Introduction to ENST305 ^

This section initiates the course and introduces each other and the material of the course. Expectations and time lines are established early.

September 3: We will confirm the class roster. I will introduce and explain Ecology, Economics, and Ethics, ENST30501. I will suggest how to do well here. I will distribute the Hitana Bay simulation game, a significant learning exercise that initiates the course. We will do in class:

  1. Roster check and introductions, yours and mine. Align goals. Discuss seminar format.
  2. Examine the syllabus, this schedule, and the Bulletin Board. Give attention to assignments and grading. I will explain the origins, curricular role, and mission of Ecology, Economics, and Ethics. I will respond to questions.
  3. Set up and distribute role-playing game on sustainable development, Hitana Bay
  4. Inventory students' personal goals and aspirations in relation to Ecology, Economics, and Ethics.

To help introduce the important themes of ecological economics, we will peruse these essential web sites. Please follow-up our class discussion with perhaps an hour breezing through these sites:

  1. Herman Daly tells us about an economy for a full earth in an article published in Scientific American.
  2. Another approach to sustainability and economics is presented for kids but worth a look.
  3. The new economics foundation provides an important online book, The Great Transition, that defines a path to a sustainable future.
  4. The Center for the Study of the Steady State Economy (CASSE) provides leadership in re-defining economic growth. See their Briefing Papers.
  5. The Post Carbon Institute coves limits to growth. The Low Carbon Economy takes a more technical approach.
  6. The Land Institute, founded by Wes Jackson, covers sustainable agriculture. Its home is Salina, Kansas.
  7. The venerable Club of Rome has continued its legacy interest around the theme of Limits to Growth.
  8. The Dictionary of Sustainable Management offers a dictionary of supportive concepts for sustainability and business.
  9. Examine the recent sustainability coverage at the Bloomberg news web site.
  10. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development is a pioneer. their Vision 2050 report and summary resulted from a dialog of over 200 global companies in over 20 nations and carries commitments of support from Alcoa, Syngenta, and PriceWaterhouse, among others. The Vision 2050 report envisions how to get to a high level of human development as defined by the U.N. while remaining within the shrinking biocapacity of the Earth. The report carries a stern warning but also a commitment from large corporations.

September 10: Our class joined the screening of the film, Disruption, and subsequent discussion.

We will form teams to play the Hitana Bay role-playing simulation game on sustainable development. The class will report on a sustainable development plan for Hitana Bay and discuss the results. Study closely the Hitana Bay narrative, distributed on September 3.

September 10: Last day for Schedule Adjustments (drop/add). Last day to withdraw with 100% tuition refund.

Economics and Sustainability ^

Tip: For your Course Enrichment Component, consider adopting a theme from either the Anthropocene or The Story of Stuff that continues into the present, unfolding around us. The material of Ecology, Economics, and Ethics provides a dynamic insight into how sustainability unfolds around us. Supplement this material through your Course Enrichment Component.

September 17, Part I: We will hold a workshop on framing the term paper proposal, based on the explanation of the term project and its preliminary draft.

We will review the seminal article by Steffen, Will & Paul J. Crutzen & John R. McNeill. 2007: The Anthropocene: Are Humans Now Overwhelming the Great Forces of Nature?, Ambio v36n8 (December 2007): 614-621. This helps to historically frame how economics intersects with sustainability. We will visit the Living in the Anthropocene web site. Note the video. See my PowerPoint presentation.

Tip: The Anthropocene provides a foundation and the context for how we will approach Ecology, Economics, and Ethics. You must grasp the concept and the Age of Acceleration. I strongly encourage you to use the theme of the Anthropocene throughout the course.

Note: September 30 is the last day to submit applications for January graduation.

October 1: The Brundtland Commission Report and the sustainable development process. This U.N. report provided the seminal grounding of sustainable development. The language of the report lives on but its concrete response to the prevailing orthodoxy of neoliberalism has been lost. We will recover the perspective of the original text.

  1. Browse the Brundtland Report and sample its findings and logic. This is the seminal historical document that defined
  2. Read the important Overview, noting the way that sustainable development was framed and the language used to define sustainable development, quoted below. Read the Brundtland section on sustainable development carefully. Note the Report's succinct working definition of sustainability: "Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

The following will be discussed in class. They are recommended but not required for you to read in advance of our class:

  1. See Professor Hayes's overview of Brundtland and the origins of Sustainable Development, which lays out important concepts for the course. See also my background notes on Brundtland: part one and part two.
  2. Wiki presentation on Brundtland as a paradigm shift away from neoliberalism by Professor Hayes
  3. Wiki on Intergenerational Concerns
  4. Wiki on Triple Bottom Line

The Intersection of Economics and Sustainability

October 8 & 15: We review Annie Leonard, The Story of Stuff. We will set up the discussion of The Story of Stuff with the companion video. A new video on game-changing economics will also provide context.

I have prepared extensive supplementary notes to guide a class discussion. Use these notes to amplify and extend the substance of the text. Please see my presentations on the Introduction, Extraction, and the rest of the materials cycle. My method is to expand on themes of sustainability as we review and discuss the chapters of the book.

We will engage and discuss this provocative and straightforward book, The Story of Stuff. The book is a readily available and highly accessible explanation of substantive aspects of the intersection of economics and sustainability. Be prepared for a lively discussion in class. We will also view the Story of Stuff video. Note that this book encompasses the life cycle of the production of goods (less so services), introduces in context many important concepts, and includes but surpasses the simplistic focus on markets. The book is grounded on the materials cycle. Consumers may be regarded as co-producers --- I will explain why.

October 15: Term paper proposal is due by class time.

October 22, Part I: We will end The Story of Stuff. We will discuss what the book and the support material has meant to us, what you find significant, perhaps deficient, and how the materials cycle perspective enriches our grasp of the world around us. We will review how each of your chosen Course Enrichment Component themes relate to Ecology, Economics, and Ethics.

October 22, Part II: We will review the term paper proposals and plan how to implement the first draft.

I will distribute print copies of my article, Economic Strategies for Sustainability, in class on October 22.

Note: October 23 is the last day to withdraw from courses with a "W" grade. Students considering withdrawing should consult with the instructor in advance.

October 22 & 29: Economic Strategies for Sustainability. My article on Economic Strategies for Sustainability provides an overview of economic theory for sustainers. You must study this article closely. I will supplement the article with lecture notes and web pages.

  1. As promised, we will view The Story of Cosmetics
  2. Read the Summers memo at the World Bank on exporting polluting industries to Africa for a sample of economic analysis in action.
  3. Wayne Hayes, Economic Strategies for Sustainability. A copy will be distributed for class use. The article is also available as MS Word download. I will use this image to set up.
  4. Please see my presentation: The Economics of Sustainability
  5. Brief discussion: Prof. Hayes's lecture notes on approaching economics for sustainability. See also a working definition of economics and my lecture notes on the economic strategies for sustainability.
  6. Recommended: Read the original statement on the stationary state economy defined in 1848 by the great classical economist John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy with Some of Their Applications to Social Philosophy, 1848. See especially section IV.6.9 for the ends of political economy.
  7. Recommended: Please examine Davis S. Pena, Commodity Fetishism, Sustainable Development, and Marx's Capital, Political Affairs, November 15, 2007.
  8. Recommended: Peter Montague: Sustainable Development in Six Parts: Part I, II, III, IV. (We will skip Parts V and VI.) Note, for the pitfalls of emissions trading, see Annie Leonard, The Story of Cap and Trade. See Daly's empty world versus full world diagram.

November 5: Report on Annie Leonard, The Story of Stuff, and the accompanying support materials and assignments is due by class time.

November 5 & 12: Economic globalization:

  1. DVD: Economics of Happiness: see the web site.
  2. Wayne Hayes, Statement of Concern.
  3. Wayne Hayes, economic globalization presentation.
  4. Daly, Herman: Globalization and Its Discontents.
  5. Discuss Wolfgang Sachs, Fairness in a Fragile World: A Memo on Sustainability. Recommended: the full version of Wolfgang Sachs, Fairness in a Fragile World: A Memo on Sustainability. For context, view the short video: Bhutan's Gross National Happiness.
  6. Professor Hayes, presentation: Fair and Fragile.

Part II November 12: Class will include a workshop in seminar format devoted to the preparation of your preliminary draft of the term paper. Please be prepared to present a five-minute overview of your progress. You are encouraged to pose questions concerning your preliminary draft.

Papers and Presentations ^

November 19 by 5:00 P.M.: The preliminary draft of your research paper counts 16 points. I intend to browse the papers prior to class.

November 19: We will hold an organizational meeting to discuss closure of ENST30501. At this point, Ecology, Economics and Ethics pivots to the implementation of your term paper and its oral presentation. We will assess your progress and set up for the implementation of your project and its presentation.

Part B: Workshop on term papers. Please be prepared to offer a five-minute overview of the highlights of your project. Indicate in your presentation your concerns and gaps. Use of presentation tools, such as PowerPoint, is encouraged.

November 26: No class. Thanksgiving break provides a great opportunity to work on the term research paper. Class time after the Thanksgiving break will be devoted to finalizing the students' papers and preparation for the final presentations.

December 3: Workshop on term research papers and presentations. Review of progress reports on drafts of term paper: tips and traps. Your term paper drafts will be reviewed. In seminar format, we will discuss each student's project and the theory and substance contained within it to draw out its potential. The discussion provides a group learning opportunity.

Part B: Each student will orally rehearse a preliminary presentation of the final work. PowerPoint slide shows are welcome but not required. We will constructively critique each others' work.

December 10: Presentations of term paper.

December 17: The experiential learning log is due.

December 18: Term paper due by the end of the day. This is a firm deadline. Points will be deducted for late papers.

©Wayne Hayes, Ph.D. | Initialized: 7/20/2011 | Last Update: 12/09/2014 | V. 14.7, Build #94