During the Winter term, 2016, I will be teaching two courses:

ENV 2002H – The Development of Sustainability Thought

This course examines how attitudes towards human nature and non-human nature have changed over the period from Mesolithic times until the present in Western society. By reading and discussing historical arguments and contemporary documents we will attempt to uncover the underlying assumptions about the world that were characteristic of different periods in the history of Western culture. The underlying question is whether contemporary concerns about sustainability require fundamental changes in the way we conceive of ourselves or our environment.

GLA2000Y Capstone Seminar (Toronto Transformations module)

This seminar provides an opportunity for MGAs, in their final year of study, to undertake a consulting assignment that addresses a real global problem, for a client whose organization is currently seeking in-depth analysis and recommendations. These are not simulated problems, nor organizations. Students will apply the skills they have acquired throughout their degree to define the problem, assemble evidence, construct alternatives, select criteria for evaluation, project outcomes, confront trade-offs, decide and recommend courses of action that address a given global issue. The goals of the class are to develop your innovative and professional thinking, policy analysis, project management, teamwork, written and oral presentation skills.

Transformation Toronto 2050 Module: Learning from Global Best Practice

Client: City of Toronto 

Each group of students will be assigned to one of the major sectors being worked on by the City as part of the Transformation Toronto 2050 program (e.g. energy supply, buildings, transportation; specific sectors to be defined by City staff) and, in consultation with a designated staff member from the City, will pick one or two cities around the world that are felt to offer useful examples of climate action in that sector. The students would identify best practices in those cities for that sector, and, based on a review of activities and policies in the City of Toronto in that sector, develop proposals for how the lessons learned from the cities they examine might be implemented in Toronto. This will entail some discussion with and direction from City staff to ensure that the work being done is relevant and connects usefully to the City’s priorities and program development activities.

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

John Robinson
Associate Provost, Sustainability
Professor, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability and Department of Geography,
2260 West Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada

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