Buddhism, Environment and Sustainability

Key Information

Lecture dates: 28 Sep - 2 Oct 2020

Census date: 28 Sep 2020

Lecturers: Professor Bee Scherer

Duration: 5 weeks (including 5 days on-campus)

Delivery: On-campus

Subject Code: ABS921/ABS721 

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


Subject Structure

This subject runs for five weeks, with the following structure:


Week 1: Pre-reading of prescribed texts
Week 2:  Five lecture days on campus (9am - 5pm)
Weeks 3 - 5: Submission of assessments online