Exams

Midterm Exam

Please answer two of the four questions below—with no more than 5–6 pages for each question—spaced at 1.5. Each answer is in essence an ’essay’ on the topics you have selected. (Note that you have choices for question 3). If relevant, feel free to use subtitles.

  1. The terms “sustainability” and “environment” are closely connected, and often used interchangeably in the context of ‘sustainable development’, but they are not identical. Given that each is in the nature of a ‘moving target’—in the sense that we are in the process of obtaining more knowledge and greater understanding - please:
    1. Review the differences and similarities between these two concepts
    2. Summarize key issues pertaining to an economist’s view of the environment
    3. Indicate similarities and / or differences with a biogeo-chemical-physical (or ecology-centered) view. Where do the “politics” fit in?
  2. “The Tragedy of the Commons” is often used as a conceptual devise through which to articulate key sustainability dilemmas. What is the ’tragedy’? What are the commons? What are the issues? What does this representation mean for sustainability conditions within countries? Is the ’tragedy’ relevant to actors and units other than the state? If so, how? If not, why not?
  3. What is the relevance of population (and population issues) to the challenges of sustainability? How do different authors (or analysts) factor in the population variable(s) in discussions of sustainability (in any of the many perspectives or contexts)? What information, evidence, or knowledge would you need in order to better address such questions?

OR

What is the relevance of energy (and energy issues) to the challenges of sustainability? How do different authors (or analysts) factor in the energy variable(s) in discussions of sustainability (in any of the many perspectives or contexts)? What information, evidence, or knowledge would you need in order to better address such questions?

OR

What is the relevance of knowledge (including concepts, data, metrics, etc.) to the challenges of sustainability? What information, evidence, or knowledge would you need in order to better address such questions? How do different authors (or analysts) factor ‘old’ versus ’new’ knowledge variable(s) in discussions of sustainability (in any of the many perspectives or contexts)?

  1. Time and space—along with scale and scope—are key factors or terms shaping our understanding of “sustainable development”. Please write an essay on these factors as they bear on our understanding of sustainability challenges. In this context, be sure to define the terms, provide specific examples, and illustrate their implications. Wherever relevant, please signal where the “politics” might be evident.

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