This free course tackles head-on the hypothesis proposed in this block linking reductionism with unsustainable practices. Reading 3.1 looks at the philosophical roots of reductionism and provides an example of the 'tragedy of the commons' – a familiar outcome of this way of thinking.
Reading 3.2 opens the debate with regard to what all of us are concerned with: how do we characterise and measure the quality of our lives? While most of modern society has been obsessed with the reductionist isolation of quality of life indicators to economic and material-based measurements, readings 3.3–3.5 refocus the quality of life debate within the context of finite resources of a small planet. Reading 3.6 introduces you to the need for a 'reality check' – a requirement to collect evidence to validate and optimise your models. The development of indicators and indices, such as the ecological footprint index described in Reading 3.7, are powerful tools in creating crucial information flows between our day-to-day lives and our environmental impacts.