Minor in Sustainability Studies

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."
~Native American Proverb

SUSTAINABILITY: Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.

With approximately 6.7 billion people on Earth now, and 9 billion  projected by mid-century, we must find ways of reducing resource consumption if we are to avoid dramatic environmental degradation and the potential collapse of the global ecosystem. This is a particularly important challenge for Americans who consume more per person than any other people on the planet.  We have the knowledge and technology to change, but we also require the will to make it happen.

Sustainability does not just consider the environmental dimension; but also the social and economic dimensions which, when combined, make up the sustainability model: a standard of ethical responsibility many corporations, institutions, and governments have adopted as set of guiding principles. The fact is, if we want future generations to enjoy a healthy, equitable, and prosperous Earth, then we must modify behaviors and policies now to re-cast the way we live.

As a Catholic institution of higher learning, Villanova University has an obligation and commitment to exercise leadership in promoting and reinforcing environmental responsibility by integrating ethical, social, economic, and ecological values of environmentally sustainable development into its curriculum, research, and institutional policy and practice.

An interdiscplinary minor that examines ways to limit actions that adversely affect the environment:
     -- Improved utilization of natural resources
     -- Options for social, economic, cultural development
     -- Role of Science
     -- Role of Engineering
     -- Role of Business
     -- Role of Government
     -- Role of People

Program Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the technical and social aspects of a commitment to sustainability.
  2. Describe the ethical and philosophical underpinnings of a commitment to sustainability.
  3. Evaluate environmental processes and their nexus with human activity to examine sustainable (or un-sustainable) practices.
  4. Examine and describe the human dimension of global environmental change.
  5. Describe the links between the global economic environment, resource availability and distribution, and their effects on sustainable practices.
  6. Define the linkages between non-sustainable practices, resource shortages, and regional conflict.

Contact Information

Department of Geography and the Environment
Suite G67, Mendel Science Center
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
Tel: (610) 519-3336
Fax: (610) 519-3338

Dr. Nathaniel B. Weston

Undergraduate Program Directors:
Dr. Steven Goldsmith (Environmental)
Dr. Stephen Strader (Geography)

Graduate Program Director:
Dr. Keith Henderson


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