The spring semester 2021 will certainly take place online until Easter. Exceptions: Courses that can only be carried out with on-site presence. Please note the information provided by the lecturers.

402-0742-00L  Energy and Environment in the 21st Century (Part II)

SemesterSpring Semester 2019
LecturersM. Dittmar, P. Morf
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


AbstractDespite the widely used concepts of sustainability and sustainable
development, one remarks the absence of a scientific
definition. In this lecture we will discuss, based on the natural laws and the scientific method, various proposed concepts for a
development towards sustainability.
ObjectiveA scientifically useful definition of sustainability?
Unsustainable aspects of our lifestyle and our society?
(unsustainable use of ressources, environmental destruction
and climate change, mass extinctions etc)
How long can humanity continue on its current unsustainable path,
what are the possible consequences? Historical examples of society collapse. What can we learn from them.
Existing Gedanken models/experiments (like Permaculture) promise to transform the human society into the direction of sustainability.
If these ideas would theoretically transform our global society
into a sustainable one, what are the large scale limitations and why
do we not yet follow these ideas?
ContentIntroduction ``sustainability" (22.2.); Population Dynamik (1.3.);
finite (energy)-resources (8.3.); waste problems (15.3.);
water, soil and industrial agriculture (22.3.); biodiversity (29.3.); (un)-sustainable development (5.4./12.4./3.5); example for sustainable systems (10.5./17.5.); human nature, Ethics and earth-care(?) summary (24.5./31.5.)
Lecture notesWeb page:
http://ihp-lx2.ethz.ch/energy21/index.html
Literaturefor example:
Environmental Physics (Boeker and Grandelle)
A prosperous way down: Principles and Policies (H. Odum and E. Odum)
Prerequisites / NoticeBasic knowledge of the ``physics laws" governing todays energy
system and it use to deliver ``useful" work for our life
(laws of energie conservation and of the
energy transformation to do work).

Interest to learn about the problems (and possible solutions)
related to the transition from an unsustainable use of renewable and non renewable (energy) resources to a sustainable system
using scientific method.