How can we build a just, sustainable, healthy and resilient Aotearoa New Zealand?

Dr Manuel Vallee (right), Lecturer, Environmental Sociology, with third year undergraduate students Injara Heller and Rebecca Goddard, Sociology, Faculty of Arts.

Our Environmental Sociology course provides deep insight into the complex social processes that define, create and even threaten our natural environment, thereby empowering students to think critically and productively about our relationship with the natural environment. For example, the course illuminates economic, political and cultural factors that are contributing to Aotearoa New Zealand’s marine dead zones, degrading water systems, and biodiversity loss.

Of particular interest is the allocation of power, how it is used, and the deep ideological frameworks that contribute to the problems. While identifying the source of the problem is the first step towards enacting social change, the next step is envisioning alternative ways of organising societies. The course does this by identifying cities that have enacted bold and transformative change, and discussing what it would take to adopt similar changes in Auckland and Aotearoa New Zealand.