Sustainable Development Theory, Policies and Practice

2 credits / 6 weeks weeks
7 Nov 2022 - 7 Nov 2022

Professor Alonso Muñoz

What is now generally defined as “development” has not come without a cost. The industrial model standing at the roots of our current standards of living has been based on a linear system of production, where natural resources are extracted from the Earth; processed in manufacturing plants, used by consumers around the world; and finally get either incinerated or discarded as waste in landfills or in Nature. The current system, which relies on large quantities of cheap, easily accessible materials and energy, is coming up against constraints on the availability of resources, and our capacity to manage its huge amounts of waste. Raising awareness of the environmental hazards, resource constraints, and the increasing volumes of waste and pollution compounded by the rising demand from the world’s growing and increasingly affluent population, are likely to impose mounting threats to welfare and wellbeing. All the key indicators confirm that the problems of a linear economy are grounded in a global economy we need to reconsider.

This course is a broad examination of sustainable development: its theory, practice, policies and principles. It will offer an opportunity for students to get familiar with the international processes that were initiated with the Brundtland Commission report Our Common Future in 1987. It is also an introduction to the Circular Economy concept. It provides an array of case examples, a solid framework, and guiding principles for implementing it. The transition towards a circular economy offers an opportunity to reduce our ecological footprint by lowering raw material consumption and minimizing waste generation. This, no doubt, is a major prerequisite to stay within the Planetary Boundaries.

Alonso Muñoz

Alonso Muñoz is Instructor in the Department of Environment and Development at the University for Peace, where he coordinates the Master of Arts (MA) degree in Responsible Management and Sustainable Economic Development (RMSED). He holds a BSc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Costa Rica and a Msc. in Business Administration. He has worked in the private sector as a consultant and as an entrepreneur, and has volunteered on various national and international projects regarding peace education, migration, environmental impact of systems and Social Enterprises. His most recent work revolves around Circular Economy, a field that he feels passionate about, and for which he has high expectations. He is a novelist, a blogger, a peace advocate, an entrepreneur and passionate about social and environmental development.

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