Course Syllabus

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Semester & Location:

Spring 2023 DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Core course 3 credits

Study Tours:

Short study tour in Denmark, long study tour Seville, Spain

Major Disciplines:

Environmental Studies, Sociology, Political Science



Faculty Members:

Carlos García-Robles

Time & Place:

Mondays and Thursdays 8:30-9:50 V10-D11


Course Description

This course explores some of the key issues and themes of sustainable development based on Environmental and Climate Justice. It focuses on analyzing the different ideologies in the sustainability spectrum to try to understand how and why some policies have different results, expected or unexpected and its consequences. One of the main objectives will be to reflect analytically on some of the consequences of human activity through philosophy, ecology, sociology, economics and postcolonial theory.  

We will work with futures thinking and applicability for planning. We will approach this with a critical lens to the Western ideas of progress, development and economic growth and will focus on how current civilization paradigms, ideologies, and perceptions led to the current environmental crisis. We will aim at understanding the root causes of environmental degradation and will explore the potential solutions from a cultural, social, and historical perspective.


Learning Objectives

By the end of this course you will:

  • Understand how implementing creative future scenarios using different environmental ideologies can give us broader planning and policy alternatives.
  • Understand the consequences of choosing specific tools for sustainability.
  • Learn how to connect concepts such as risk perception, development, environmental stewardship, resilience, reflexivity, etc., and have a critical awareness of their significance and applicability.
  • Understand the different ideological elements contested in international agencies, businesses, civil society and various other actors, how these elements collide or converge in applicable policies and decision making processes.
  • Critical analysis of the SDGs.


Cand.techn.soc. (Environmental, Technological & Socio-Economic Planning, Roskilde University, 2009). B.A. (International Relations; International Environmental Regimes and National Security, National Autonomous University of Mexico, 2004).  Worked extensively on environmental and sustainability related projects, campaigns and conferences for more than 12 years with a variety of grassroots organizations. External advisor for Mexican political parties, government agencies and for members of congress. Involved at the UN WSSD and CSD process as a civil society representative for more than 5 years. Worked during the COP15 process with Friends of the Earth Denmark as project coordinator for the Flood for Climate Justice. With DIS since 2011.


  • Dryzek, John. The Politics of the Anthropocene. Oxford 2019.
  • Mann. Charles. The Wizard and the Prophet- Science and the Future of Our Planet.
  • Escobar, Arturo. Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World: STU - Student edition, Princeton University Press, 1995.
  • Sunderlin, William D. Ideology, Social Theory, and the Environment. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003
  • Jameson, Fredric. Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions. New York: Verso, 2005. 
  • Sheer, Hermann. The Solar Manifesto, Routledge; 2nd edition 2005.
  • Tabachnick, David E. The Great Reversal,  University of Toronto Press 2013.
  • Ropenus, Stephanie. A Snapshot of the Danish Energy Transition: Objectives, Markets, Grid, Support Schemes and Acceptance. Agora Energy.  2015.
  • Hickel, Jason. Less Is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World, Penguin books, 2021.
  • Hickel, Jason. The contradiction of the sustainable development goals: Growth versus ecology on a finite planet, 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
  • Eisenmenger, Nina. Pichler, Melanie. Krenmayr, Nora. Noll, Dominik. Plank, Barbara Schalmann, Ekaterina. Wandl, Marie‑Theres. Gingrich, Simone.The Sustainable Development Goals prioritize economic growth over sustainable resource use: a critical reflection on the SDGs from a socio‑ecological perspective. May 10, 2020 Springer.
  • Lila Warszawski et al. All options, not silver bullets, needed to limit global warming to 1.5 °C: a scenario appraisal. 2021.
  • Giorgos Kallis,Vasilis Kostakis, Steffen Lange. Research On Degrowth. Annual Review of Environment and Resources. May 2018.
  • Nick Fitzpatrick, Timoth ́ee Parrique, Ines Cosme. Exploring degrowth policy proposals: A systematic mapping with thematic synthesis. Journal of Ecological Production. Elsevier 2022.
  • Biermann, Frank. Hickmann, Thomas. Sénit, Carole-Anne. The Political Impact of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Cambridge University Press 2022.
  • Niinimäki, K. (2018). Sustainable Fashion in a Circular Economy. In K. Niinimäki (Ed.), Sustainable Fashion in a Circular Economy (pp. 12-41). Aalto ARTS Books.
  • Walker, B. and Salt, D. (2006) Resilience Thinking: Sustaining Ecosystems and People in a Changing World. Island Press, Washington, D.C. 

Field Studies


Approach to Teaching

This course has critical thinking and a hands on approach, sessions will be based on the readings, students will develop mind maps as graded assignments.

Expectations of the Students

  • Active and voluntary participation in class discussions
  • Preparing thoroughly for every class, i.e. doing all of the required reading and research
  • Being able to address the readings critically during class, thus displaying a good understanding of the subject matter
  • Being analytical and concise in oral interventions, i.e. backing up arguments by facts and references
  • Being able to collaborate well with your assigned group


In-class participation will be graded according to individuals being present and on-time (excepting cases of reasonable absence such as illness, with notice). All course meetings (classes + field study trips) are included in this assessment. Final mark for in-class participation will be averaged and will consist of 25% of total final grade. A lack of notification of absence results in a half-grade deduction from your total final grade. After two 'excused' absences, academic affairs and/or a doctors must be involved.

A group case presentation will count for 25% of the grade. Mind maps and will cumulatively account for 25% of final grade. Grades are allocated by group.  An essay exam will be individual and will account for 25% of the grade. 


Group Weight
Essay exam 1/ mind map 20%
Essay exam 2/ mind map 20%
Group´s utopic future story 20%
Study tours reports and presentations 20%
General participation 20%
Total 100%

Policy on late assignments and laptops

  • Late papers will be accepted, but your grade for the paper will be reduced by half a point for each day that it is late.
  • Use of laptops or phones in class –use of laptops is allowed as long as you are using them for class. 

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on: 

DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -

Course Summary:

Date Details Due