Rethinking Our Place in Nature

Social Sciences

Course Description

We cannot win this battle to save species and environments without forging an emotional bond between ourselves and nature as well—for we will not fight to save what we don’t love.—S. J. Gould 

Human activity is having a devastating impact on the Earth that now poses an imminent threat to the survival of all its life forms, including our own. Many voices have called for substantive transformation of dominant social, economic, and political systems. But what about a transformation of our values and worldviews? R. W. Kimmerer argues that “It is not just changes in policies that we need, but also changes to the heart.” 

In this course, we will consider the dominant values and narratives that drive our current relationship with the earth and the consequences of continuing to hold on to them. How do our ways of thinking of ourselves in relation to nature influence the way we interact with the non-human world? Does nature have intrinsic value regardless of its utility for humans? Should we hold dominion over nature? What are our rights and responsibilities toward other animals, species, and ecosystems? What are the ethical frameworks that have led to our current environmental crisis? What alternative ecological, Indigenous, legal, and environmental frameworks could provide us with ways to develop a more nurturing and reciprocal relationship with nature?

Books to Purchase (will be available at Argo Bookshop during the weeks prior to the course beginning):

    • Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer (9781571313560)

Please note that this course has a maximum enrollment of 14 students.

NEW PAYMENT POLICY: Participants must pay the course fees in order to be considered registered for the course. 

For fully registered courses, a waiting list will be created. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please note that we do not allow participants to audit courses for free.

Course Details

Location: Atwater

First Session: Thursday 22 September 2022

Course Length: 12 weeks, Thursdays, 6:15 to 8:15 p.m.

Discussion Team: David Dussault, Claire English, Mariela Tovar

Degree Credit: 3.0 credits

Course Fee: 

$150.00 (standard tuition)

$100.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$185.00 (standard tuition)

$135.00 (promotion for new students)


Course fees are refundable in full before the second session. After the second session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the third session. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Students pursuing studies for credit are encouraged to consult with their advisers as they register for courses.

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

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