Ecological Economics and Degrowth Principles - Online

UAB Barcelona Summer School

Ecological Economics and Degrowth Principles - Lecturer Claudio Cattaneo

Number of credits: 6 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)
Price: 840 € / Price for UAB students: 200 €
Teaching Language: English
Place: UAB Campus Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), Barcelona
Teaching Period: 22 June to 10 July
Schedule (First period):

  • 9-10h Lecture class with professor
  • 10-11h Interactive seminar
  • 11-12h Organised tutoring sessions

Professor: Claudio Cattaneo


Enrolment guidelines

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Claudio Cattaneo holds a PhD in environmental science is associate professor of ecological economics at UAB and director of the ICTA-UAB master in Political Ecology Degrowth and Environmental Justice. He is a member of Research and Degrowth and of the Can Masdeu eco-community, in the hills of Barcleona. His research interests are related to social metabolism, agroecology, energy-landscape integrated analysis and analysis of the squatters movement. He his author of several papers in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters and editor of the book “The Squatters Movement in Europe, Pluto Press”. He has a 15 year teaching experience in ecological economics.



Contents overview

The conventional economic model is based on the hypothesis of infinite monetary growth, made of virtual bank money. Nonetheless it also requires considerable inputs of energy and materials, which are not infinite and have an impact on our planet. Environmental signals show us we are on the edge of a crisis and the uncertainty about our future environment relates to the development of a new discipline: ecological economics.

The course aims at presenting a new perspective in the economic field by relating it to the environment: it will consider the possibility of green economic growth, the main dilemmas and implications for the environment; students will be able to contrast two economic visions, that of growth-based economics and of ecological economics and the real-world implications of each one: the trade-off between economic growth (and job creation) and environmental protection and social justice. As well it aims to re-embed economic analysis with social and human dimensions.

The course will adopt Team-Based Learning a novel teaching method in which the students have to read and watch compulsory material prior to the class, and will be evaluated with a closed-answer quiz, presentation of video or book extracts or brief reports done at the first hour of some classes. Other days, the first hour will be dedicated to interactive discussions based on the assignments given in preparation to the class.

The second hour will normally consist of a taught class. In the third hour a tutorial will be offered to each student, individually or in a small group, on a weekly base. A couple of hours of guided activities will follow, mainly related to watching videos or learning about the environmental justice atlas, or the social multi-criteria evaluation. Homework assignments will mainly consist of reading written documents (books and papers) and the preparation for the group presentations of the next morning, or the writing of short reports based on the activities and exercises done in class.

The final mark will be based on the results of one closed- answer test (10%), one group presentation of a video (15%), one group presentation of book extracts (15%), two individual reports (15%+15%) and two team reports (15%+15%)


Week programme

Week Contents Teaching / lerning activites
1 Foundations of Ecological Economics, filed visits Monday: presentation of the course. Tuesday to Friday: compulsory home readings, quiz, short class, video watching, team work, class presentation and discussion. 
2 Applications of Ecological Economics Compulsory home readings, quiz, short class, video watching, team work, class presentation and discussion
3 Degrowth principles, field visits Monday and Tuesday: compulsory home readings, quiz, short class, video watching, team work, class presentation and discussion. 



Outputs and exercises that the student is going to do to have the qualification. Including deadlines. NOTE that one day before the end of the period the student’s performance must be completely evaluated and communicated to Class attendance, with signature sheet, 35% of the final mark, with 100% attendance = 10, 50% = 5 and so on.

  • From day 2 to day 13 of the course: 5-6 closed-answer quizzes , based on the compulsory readings in preparation to the class. [Contributing to 35% of the final mark].
  • From day 2 to day 12 of the course: group video presentations –depending on the size of the team and the number of enrolled students, each team will present once in class. [Contributing to 15% of the final mark].
  • By the beginning of week 3 prepare a report based on an environmental conflict that the team has analize, for uploading in the EJatlas. [Contributing to 15% of the final mark] It is expected by the end of the class on day 13 (Wednesdayof week 3) the student evaluation will have been completely evaluated and communicated.


Links and references

Basic and advanced bibliography including books, articles and internet links. 

Week 1: Foundations of ecological economics.

Week 2: Applications of ecological economics.

Week 3: Degrowth principles 5-6 activities from this website (those that follow “The story of stuff”):