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Specialization in Sustainable & Regenerative Living

The following is projected for students entering the university in 2020-21 and is subject to change.

To graduate with a Bachelor of Applied Arts & Sciences with a specialization in Sustainable & Regenerative Living, students must complete:

  • the required courses for the Bachelor of Applied Arts & Sciences
  • 32 additional credits of Sustainable & Regenerative Living courses, which may include:

There can be little doubt that we are living in a time of unprecedented crises. As never before, we as a global civilization are facing the possibility of societal and environmental collapse, leading to untold suffering for both human and non-human species. The problems we face are tightly interlocked; no problem can be viewed—let alone solved—in isolation. While efforts are underway to address these complex, systemic problems at high levels of governance and administration (UN, IMF, WTO, World Bank, etc.) these “solutions” embody a Western management outlook. In this positivist framework we can manage our way out of crises; all we need to do is more of the same.

But evidence suggests otherwise, and these efforts often backfire, with dire consequences for those affected. As Einstein famously said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” However well intended, the “management” worldview does not adequately address underlying, paradigm-level causes of violence, poverty, and environmental destruction. From a darker perspective, international attempts at betterment are, in fact, mere extensions of globalized neoliberal/colonial regimes, and thus represent not “solutions” but reproducers and amplifiers of the very problems they profess to solve. In either case, a new way is needed.

Using a “toolbox” of practical means (Critical & Systems Thinking, Sustainable/ecological Literacy, theories of consciousness and social change, etc.) we will develop new theories on how to view and understand global problems, and to affect change-for-the-better. And we will test our theories in real-world projects in our local and regional settings. The project-based approach we adopt in this course grounds our theories in praxis, and, if successful, will offer living proof of the potential for local solutions, when documented, contextualized, and openly disseminated, to have lasting positive effects on a global scale. This course covers the MIU general education requirements for Critical Thinking, WTG 191 (College Composition l), and Health-related Fitness. Course fee: $50 (8 credits)

Our health as individuals and the health of the planet reflect and influence one another. To manifest a thriving planet, earth’s people must also be thriving. In this course, we examine what it means to be healthy and thriving from a holistic point of view, using life’s principles and nature as our guide. We integrate our health as spiritual beings and human beings. We investigate foundational elements of individual holistic health such as nutrition, herbalism, essential oils, homeopathy, vibrational medicine, spiritual practices, indigenous knowledge and practices, movement, social connectedness, meaningful livelihoods, service, creativity, happiness, connection to nature, and healthy environments (including the built environment). We apply our learning to ourselves throughout the course, engaging with what resonates and feels right for us. We explore our connectedness to the rest of life and Earth, investigating how individual health and planetary health depend on one another and are mirrors of one another. We explore the implications for regenerative sustainability and set intentions, followed by actions, to manifest a thriving self and thriving planet. Course fee: $45 (4 credits) Prerequisite: an open mind and heart. (2 credits)
A 360-degree exploration into the challenges of our global food systems, from field to plate. A food system comprises a complex set of interactions in getting food from ground to gut. In this transdisciplinary course, we will explore four themes: a) Introduction to a 360-degree view on the current food system and its complexity, particularly the interconnectedness of public health, public policies, agro-economics, and environment; b) How does our decision of what we choose to eat impact i) the food production and distribution practices, ii) overall short and long term health implications, and iii) natural earth systems; c) How can we achieve our highly aspirational vision of a food system which creates a win-win-win opportunity for public health, business, and environment at the local and global level? (Inspiring examples of the cross-sector collaboration); and d) Whether the ultimate answer to this complex challenge lies within our own state of consciousness? (Final debate) Each theme will be concluded by an analytical memorandum, engaging debate, analysis, and feedback. There will be expert guest lecturers from a variety of disciplines, including public health, policy, business, and regenerative agriculture. (4 credits)
If one wants to change the world, what better way than to start with oneself? This is the simple premise of the course. It is part study and part personal challenge. We will learn about the science of well-being, health, and wholeness from modern science and Vedic Science, and about the dynamics of behavioral change. We will then apply what we learn to our own lives. For the challenge part of the course, students will select two or more behaviors they wish to change. With the support of a small team, you will try to make these changes, applying the lessons of the course. (2 credits)
The built environment consists of all the things that humans build: buildings and the rural, suburban, and urban context in which they are placed. Buildings, the cities they are placed in, and the transportation systems that connect them are the biggest things that humans build. Designing and building them sustainably is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. This course gives an overview of issues of sustainability in the built environment and the developing solutions – high-performance solar-powered buildings, natural building, the ecocity movement, reuse of existing structures, urban agriculture, managing water in the urban landscape, turning wastes into resources. We’ll also explore how we can use the ancient ideas about orientation and placement of buildings and the design of cities from Maharishi Sthapatya Ved in the design of the contemporary sustainable built environment. The goal is to create a built environment that, like the natural environment, is regenerative, giving back more than it takes. (4 credits)

Module: Sustainable Energy Technologies

How do we set about structuring a sustainable and regenerative living environment that can be maintained on a global scale for all future generations? This course is about the big picture that drives the global sustainable and regenerative living agenda. It provides a broad perspective on the problems we face as a species. We study what can and should be done to transform the current trends affecting population growth, biodiversity, climate, energy supply and consumption, food and water security, cybersecurity and other threats to sustainability. We explore the shift in mindset or consciousness that is needed to take us from regarding the environment as an expendable resource to treasuring it as an entity with which we must live in harmony. Lab fee: $65 (4 credits)
This course will help students understand the basic engineering of different energy technologies such as solar, wind, hydropower, and bioenergy systems. Students will also be able to estimate how profitable these technologies are in a given location. The class also looks into the costs from energy extraction all the way through end uses. We will also be exploring the latest energy technologies topics such as space-based solar power, third generations biofuels, and thermal storage to just name a few. Course fee: $65 (4 credits)
This course helps students to better understand the use and integration of renewable energy sources in eco-communities. Topics include: 1) Localized group of electricity sources and loads, sizing cables, and selecting over-current devices to supply power to the users from sustainable sources such as a solar array; 2) The EV as a movable microgrid; an expose of micro-grid principles; and 3) Common features of energy storage 2019/20 338 mechanisms between EV and micro-grid/off-grid systems (à la Amory Lovins-RMI). Course fee: $50 (4 credits)
Science of solar energy and solar PV and applications. Theory and laboratory skills are emphasized. Topics include: 1) Math and physics that are suitable and understandable to those without an engineering degree but necessary for understanding solar PV; and 2) PV module fundamentals. 3) Safety fundamentals, 4) System sizing principles, 5) System mechanical design, 6) System electrical design. Three types of solar energy applications will be covered: conventional social thermal, solar thermal ported heat pump CHP applications, and solar PV. Prerequisite: SLE-101 Energy and Sustainability. Course fee: $50 (4 credits)

Module: Regenerative Organic Agriculture

Horticulture represents the foundational knowledge of the Regenerative Organic Agriculture Program. Students will learn basic botany related to plant physiology and seed production along with strategies for farm layout, land preparation, plant propagation and soil and nutrient management. There will also be fieldwork sessions on planting systems and irrigation methods. Other topics include strategies for building soil organic matter, composting, basic entomology and pest management methods. (4 credits)
Permaculture Design is an attempt to rethink and redesign every aspect of human endeavor in terms of sustainability. In this course, you will learn about the principles, ethics, and scientific reasoning that guides permaculture design, along with how to apply it to homes, cities, and natural landscapes. Students will engage with concepts and strategies for building soil health, maximizing water efficiency, and increasing biodiversity through integrated plant dynamics and agroforestry. There will also be workshops related to mushroom cultivation and fermentation sciences. The course will culminate in a final comprehensive design project involving a real client, where you will work to perform site analysis and develop practical solutions for real-world design challenges. This course includes a weekend field trip and an internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certification. Course Fees: $100 (4 credits)
This course focuses on the study and management of soils as natural bodies, as media for plant growth, and as components of the larger ecosystem. Students learn basic concepts regarding all aspects of soil science including factors and processes responsible for soil development; physical, chemical, and biological properties; soil water; classification and mapping; and soil fertility. Students are also introduced to the broader relationships of soil and current concerns of environmental quality and non-agricultural land use. This course involves fieldwork related to soil testing, preparation strategies, and will instill awareness of soil as a basic natural resource, the use or abuse of which has a considerable influence on human society and life in general. (4 credits)
This course involves fieldwork where students will be engaged in the basics of greenhouse management and transplanting the seedlings into their fields. Differences in succession planting for cold and warm season crops will be highlighted, along with technical applications for irrigation and crop fertility. Students will also engage in the process of sales, marketing, and inventory management for the local Farmer’s Market. (3 credits)
This course involves fieldwork where students will continue transplanting and direct seeding crops. They will also be exposed to methods of pest scouting and weed management. Daily field surveys will take place with specific guidelines on how to inspect crops and apply weed management strategies. Students will also be taught how to keep proper harvest records to comply with the National Organic Program (NOP). (3 credits)
This course involves fieldwork and will focus heavily on harvest and post-harvest efficiencies, including cleaning, storage, and washroom policies. Students will also be preparing succession plantings and cover crops as spring crops begin to be terminated, along with continuing to engage in the general sales of produce through the CSA, farmers market, and Annapurna. (3 credits)
This course involves fieldwork and will focus on planting cold season crops such as spinach, kale, carrots and beets. Students will also be exposed to season extension methods like row covers, low tunnels, high tunnels, greenhouses, cold frames and mulching along with continuing to engage in the harvest of crops, sales, and general marketing strategies. (3 credits)
This block will involve a combination of fieldwork and independent study with an emphasis on the full scale development and strategic approach to starting a farm enterprise. Students will develop an in-depth understanding of land acquisition, crop planning, and enterprise budgeting. This final block of fieldwork will also involve a capstone project. Student capstone projects are subject to faculty approval and should explore an issue related to food, agriculture, or anything else deemed appropriate by faculty. Emphasis is placed upon project management, the application of technical skills and technical creativity to specific projects, informal communication skills, formal written report, and formal oral presentation. (3 credits)
Sustainable business management is an attempt to execute triple bottom line performance in business through social responsibility, environmental stewardship, and economic viability. In this course, students will develop an understanding of the basic concepts associated with aspects of business management including economics, operations, finance, and marketing. Students will also learn about issues related to sustainability and how to identify economic trends that influence general business strategy. The course will involve practical applications in performing cost analysis, financial modeling, digital marketing, lean management, and how to write a business plan. (4 credits)

Module: Natural Building

Students will learn why natural building is a desirable method for sustainability compared to conventional building, exploring topics such as ecology, economics, toxins, indigenous knowledge and practices, holistic thinking, consciousness, and conscientious building practices. Students will discover the benefits and challenges of natural building as well as how to combine traditional materials with contemporary ideas about sustainability and regenerative living. Students will participate in designing and planning a project in addition to some hands-on work with materials. Field trips may include visits to natural building sites, First Nation historical sites. Topics will also include: the design and planning process, materials and methods (straw/fiber, clay, earth, stone, wood and their combinations), building science for natural building, air and moisture flow, energy considerations, siting, and zoning. Course fee: changes yearly. (4 credits)
This course follows Natural Building Exploration with more practical application of knowledge gained. Students will learn regenerative design through natural building. Emphasis is on site analysis (utilizing ecological and regenerative design techniques), natural building material identification and acquisition, estimating, designing synergistic regenerative systems, and building/constructing structures. Students will learn how to design, plan, and construct a natural building through hands-on experience. Course fee: $100. (4 credits) Prerequisite: SL–B201

Module: Regenerative Living Systems

Ecosystems are living systems comprised of human, more-than-human, and biogeophysical components. Understanding and living in alignment with living systems principles is essential for regenerative, thriving societies. In this course, we explore living systems principles through the lens of ecology and ecosystems sciences. We apply those principles to how humans have and could live as powerful agents of change. We look at ecosystem components, dynamics, processes, and systems across scales. We examine living systems along a spectrum of less influenced by humans to human-dominated, considering how human consciousness and actions influence ecosystems. We consider how understanding and living in alignment with ecosystems and living systems principles supports thriving planet + people. We explore indigenous cultures, knowledge, and practices; societal development; governance; economics; the built environment; food systems; water systems; energy systems; equity and justice; human psychology, consciousness, and happiness; and more. You will explore concepts in self-designed and assigned field trips. (4 credits)
While understanding and acting in alignment with living systems principles is essential for regenerative sustainability (i.e., thrivability), the consciousness we hold individually and collectively is foundational to this alignment. Through the lens of living systems, we see consciousness organize itself as communities of communities. In this course, we explore regenerative community development and design as technologies to develop consciousness and guide human actions to be in alignment with living systems principles, co-creating thriving living systems. Regenerative community development and design integrate contemporary understandings in ecology, complex adaptive systems science, quantum physics, sustainability science, psychology, planning, and design with more ancient wisdom from indigenous cultures. We explore the theoretical and practical aspects, case studies, and apply regenerative development and design through personal experience and projects. You will explore concepts in self-designed and assigned field trips. (4 credits) Prerequisite: RL-F201 Ecosystems & Regeneration

Module: Global Solutions

The Global Solutions course explores the world’s economic systems, political institutions, transnational bodies, and globalized economy. We examine if, in combination, they perpetuate a situation of fundamental global inequality and unequal access to the vital prerequisites for living a healthy and fulfilled life? Is a situation where so many people are living in poverty, lacking access to education, clean water, and sanitation, an inevitable result of the global and regional political and economic systems? Are there alternatives that provide self-determination, resource sufficiency, the regeneration of natural systems, and just and sustainable practices at every level of society? This course provides a critical understanding of the pressing issues of our world and its people, and the current and potential solutions that are regenerative for people and the planet. (4 credits)
The world needs changing, and fast. The current situation should not be tolerated. We invite you to join us, be a force of positive transformation and find your path on this project. There are many and interconnected vectors of transformation that operate at different levels of society: a single person, a community, group, government or nation. The global society, in all its parts, social, economic, political and cultural, must be aligned to push in the same direction, in a manner that will not necessarily be clean and tidy, or completely coordinated. A key feature of this course is engaging with outside partners, organizations, and businesses that are working with transformational models. We offer the opportunity to be with a cohort of like-minded people who seek the good of the world and its citizens, their health, happiness and wholeness, their capacity for self-determination and the potential to lead fulfilled lives. (4 credits)