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Module Two
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Shaping a Green, Sustainable Society

Six hours – Class Time

This module explores practical challenges of being sustainably green in urban America. It presumes the importance and necessity of moving toward a society that is committed to minimizing destructive environmental impacts and shaping sustainable economic and social processes. It will explore energy initiatives, recycling programs, popular education, etc., from a community perspective (in contrast to a more typical governmental or corporate perspective).

The module will examine neighborhood engagement and empowerment; developing the political will to shape relevant policy initiatives at the city, county and state levels; building supportive infrastructure (such as city-wide recycling programs); and engaging schools (public and private), non-profits, and community organizations in the effort. It also examines, briefly, the challenge of shaping neighborhood level recycling programs that are economically viable.

The broader context for exploring these practical challenges is that of living in a time of global economic stress, dramatic transition in energy production and consumption, changing consumption patterns and their impact on the production of goods and services, the impact of digital technology on life style and organizing the support of corporate America beyond public relations campaigns.

Learning Objectives/Outcomes

  • Students will gain a clear grasp of some of the practical challenges associated with "going green” in urban America;
  • Students will develop a sense of personal agency regarding "making the case” and facilitating/organizing the change process at the local level;
  • Students will gain a deeper understanding of and skill at framing issues as practical challenges rather than ideological debates.