Sustainability and Humankind’s Dilemma 2023

Sustainability and Humankind’s Dilemma 2023

Sustainability and Humankind’s Dilemma:

Life on a Tough New Planet

Spring 2023, 12-2 pm ET, Fridays from April 21 – May 26

Approached from a Social Science perspective, this 6-week course provides a broad overview of the multiple crises confronting humankind: climate change, peak oil, resource depletions, ecological deterioration, and societal collapse.  It focuses on the current dilemmas in which humankind finds itself; how we have arrived at this moment; the resulting psycho-social-economic impacts; and several socio-economic-ecological regenerative strategies for mitigation. 

Areas included in this survey course are issues affecting falling water tables; eroding soils and desertification; rising temperatures and aridification; food politics and food insecurity; environmental dislocations and refugees; and societal stresses leading to failing states.  Emphasized is the need for a fundamental paradigm shift from a system of continued growth and ecological deterioration to a system of steady state economics and ecological restoration.


This is a 6 week course that meets every Friday starting April 21st and running through May 26th, 2023. Sessions will be held from 12 – 2pm ET.

Join our live class each Friday to discuss readings, share relevant insights and experiences with each other, and consider some challenging questions about the way our social systems are organized and might be changed! By enrolling in this course, you will join a friendly community of interesting people addressing a new range of ideas about how we can improve our society and blaze a better route to ecological health and happiness.

Your instructor

nancy lee wood - 2021 web

Nancy Lee Wood, Ph.D. is Professor of Sociology at Bristol Community College (BCC) in Fall River, MA.  She is a life-long activist, participating in the anti-Vietnam War/Peace Movement, the anti-Nuclear Movement, the anti-Apartheid Movement, the International Women’s Movement and most recently, the Climate Change/Peak Oil Movement and has taken leading roles with many other peace and sustainability organizations. 

Since 2007, she has organized numerous local sustainability events and has given many presentations and lectures regarding the impacts of fossil fuel depletion on industrial society. Currently she is developing an Associate Degree major in Sustainability for BCC as a model for other community colleges to adopt.  In her spare time, she is training to become a Master Gardener.

Books used in the course:

  • The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, David Wallace-Wells
    Download PDF
  • Local is Our Future: Steps to an Economics of Happiness, Helena Norberg-Hodge
    Available on AbeBooks or Chelsea Green

Recommended Readings:

  • Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know, Joseph Romm
    Available on AbeBooks or Goodreads
  • Water for the Recovery of Climate: A New Paradigm, M. Kravčík, J. Pokorný, J. Kohutiar, M. Kováč, E. Tóth
    Download PDF