Buddhism, Environment and Sustainability


Key Information

Lecture dates 2020: 28 September - 02 October 2020 (9am-5pm)

Census date 2020:  28 September 2020

Lecturer: Assoc. Prof. Michael Adams Duration: 5 weeks (incl. 5 days on-campus)*
Location: NTI Wollongong Campus, 231 Nolan St, Unanderra, NSW 2526, Australia
Subject Code: Postgraduate: ABS921 / Undergraduate: ABS721 (Cross-institutional Study)

Subject Overview

Buddhism, Environment and Sustainability examines the relationship between Buddhist traditions, including contemporary Buddhist practice, and global issues in sustainability and environment. It explores both classic and new sources of Buddhist environmentalism, as well as the position of environmentalism from other spiritual paths. Spiritual traditions have a key role in engaging creative responses to environmental and associated social challenges.


This subject will analyse scales of Buddhist environmentalism from the global to the personal, and situate them in both local and global geographic contexts. The subject places emphasis both on theory and on practice: apart from the study and critical examination of primary and secondary sources on Buddhist environmentalism, students will participate in field activities examining local environmental issues.

Learning Outcomes

 Demonstrate a critical understanding of global environmental issues and Buddhist environmental traditions
 Critically analyse fundamental issues involved in global and local issues in environment and sustainability
 Understand and situate the role and function of Buddhism in responding to environment and sustainability issues
 Critically evaluate and reflect on the spectrum of attitudes and doctrinal beliefs on the environment which have developed throughout the history of Buddhism in its many schools
 Develop understanding of issues and challenges arising from contemporary applications of Buddhist beliefs and practice to environmental issues in new contexts

* Time structure:

- 1st week: pre-reading

- 2nd week: face-to-face classes at NTI Wollongong Campus
- 3rd to 5th week: time for completing written assessments