Dr. Shirley Thompson -Natural Resources Institute
204‑474‑7170  |  s_thompson@umanitoba.ca
Reading Course for Sustainability and Environmental Justice - Course Outline (*.PDF)

Topics: Sustainable Development, Aboriginal Community Development, Environmental Health, Environmental Justice, Aboriginal Resource Use and Land Use, Cultural Landscapes,

Course Description:

Sustainability is, at its most fundamental level, about sharing the planet's resources with the future in equitable ways. This distributive justice, when extended to present generations, recognizes that the costs of resource development and technological expansion should be born by those who reap its benefits. Choosing between environment and inequality, rather than seeing these issues as integrated, separates issues from lived realities. To drink deeply from the well of sustainable development, to realize both its possibilities as well as its barriers in society, both these issues must be viewed in tandem.

The definition of sustainability will be expanded to include land distribution, traditional ecological knowledge, social impacts and the many stories of people's relationship to the land. These stories often tell of struggles with resource alienation, loss of subsistence economies and destruction of cultures. In looking through the eyes of the poor and marginalized we realize that humans cannot live apart from the rest of nature, which is our life-sustaining context. After all, the poor and marginalized of the world are the ones who bear the brunt of pollution, resource degradation and dislocation, whether as a result of a dam, toxic waste, lack of arable land, ozone depletion or global climate change, simply because they are more vulnerable and lack alternatives.