TPFH Part 1: Introduction to Sustainability and Technology

Mandatory course introduction & roll call: January 23rd, 13–16, Norrland 1, Geocentrum, Villavägen 16, Uppsala

At the course introduction, we will introduce the key course themes and the course process.

Welcome to the Technology, Future and the Future of Humanity - distance course. Below are the readings, videos and tasks for part 1, which runs January 19th-23rd.


CEMUS Annual Spring Semester Start-ut Lecture: Karen O’Brien "Transformation in a Changing Climate: Revolution or Evolution?"

Donna Haraway, "Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene: Staying with the Trouble", 5/9/14 from AURA on Vimeo.

Dougald Hine, "A Storm is Blowing from Paradise"

Hans Rosling, "The magic washing machine"

Tasks for Part 1

Watch the online video lectures and read the readings.

As preparation for the discussions at the course introduction on Friday, Jan 23rd, reflect on how technology relates to sustainability challenges (as outlined by O'Brien, Haraway, Sachs, Revkin and others)? How and in which contexts can technology contribute to sustainable development, and how can it be part of the problem? (1 page). 

Email your assignment to jakob.grandin [a] at Thu, Jan 22nd at the latest.


Nye, D. (2006) Technology Matters. Cambridge: The MIT Press, ch. 1: Can we define technology?, pp. 1-15.

Revkin (2015). Can Humanity’s ‘Great Acceleration’ Be Managed and, If So, How?

Introductory texts to sustainability

The readings below introduces key sustainability concepts and tensions. They are not mandatory reading, but useful to get up to speed on important sustainable development themes.

O'Brien, K. (2013) What's the problem? Putting global environmental change into perspective. In World Social Science Report 2013: Changing Global Environments. (2013). Paris: UNESCO and ISSC. Available here:

Sachs, W. (1999) Sustainable Development and the Crisis of Nature: On the Political Anatomy of an Oxymoron. In Fischer, F. & Hajer, M. A. (red.) (1999). Living with nature: environmental politics as cultural discourse. New York: Oxford Univ. Press. Available here: (available through Uppsala University Library)

Heinberg, R. (2010). What Is Sustainability? In: Heinberg, R. & Lerch, D. (eds) The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century’s Sustainability Crises. Healdsburg, CA: Watershed Media.