Virginia Tech®home

AAEC 3324: Environmental and Sustainable Development Economics

This course examines sustainable development through an exploration of hard and soft green schools of thought. Students will compare hard green strategies, such as reliance on markets, technology, property rights, and human ingenuity to increase production efficiency, versus soft green strategies, such as adoption of simpler lifestyles, government subsidies, natural design of buildings (biomimicry), and urban infrastructure. Other topics will include: agricultural systems; global warming; climate change impacts on migration (human and wildlife); connecting the influence of place in personal and group identity; an interdisciplinary examination of environmental justice among poor and minority U.S. communities; the social equity distribution of the economic costs and benefits of natural resources management policies; and the roles of property rights, economic incentives, religious values, and political power in determining local communities’ capacity to control their environmental destiny.

Why take it?

This course encourages students to apply economic principles in assessing the effectiveness of various U.S. and state environmental policies, and to apply economic realities to complex environmental problems. Students interested in upholding democratic principles and distributive justice will develop their ability to assimilate multiple perspectives regarding the interface between natural resources, economic welfare, and political power.

AAEC 3324 fulfills an elective in the following Pathways minors:


Prerequisite: AAEC 1005, AAEC 1006, or ECON 2005

This course fulfills Pathways requirements in Reasoning in the Social Sciences, Critical Analysis of Identity and Equity in the United States, and Intercultural and Global Awareness.