Environment and justice program

Environment, justice and sustainability

Sweden is an exciting and progressive place to study environmental issues and policies. The concept of sustainability was embraced by government and society very early on, and today Sweden’s prominence in the European Union (EU) as a leader in sustainability is evident in many ways. If you’re interested in studying in a beautiful and sustainable place in Europe, then we have just the opportunity for you!

The Newman Institute is a Jesuit college in Scandinavia, rich in the teaching tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola. We offer bachelor degree programs in theology and philosophy, as well as the new program in Environment and Justice. Our academic programs are small and flexible and provide a personalized learning experience.


Andreas Carlgren, the Swedish Minister for the Environment between 2006 and 2011, joined the Newman Institute in 2012 to develop the new program. His experience from politics and his close contact with leading experts in environment and sustainability in Sweden contributed to a rich and exciting educational program.

Course offerings

Courses in Environment and Justice Program spring 2019

International Climate Change Negotiations
Why are there such great difficulties in negotiating comprehensive international agreements which would reduce greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently? On the issue of climate change, what has happened globally? How have countries’ positions changed over time, and why? During this course we will follow the developments of climate change negotiations in recent times. Students of this course will learn the history of the UNFCCC’s work, in an attempt to understand the complexities of negotiation and implementation. Aspects of climate justice and global equity will be studied. The interaction between political process and scientific research will also be investigated.

Swedish Environmental Policy and Praxis
How does the Swedish government work to create sustainable and ecological development in Sweden? In this course you will explore this question through discussions about various policy tools and by examining concrete examples of action. You will also learn about the role that the state government, local municipalities and business communities play.

Human and Social Development Within Planetary Boundaries
In this course you will visit both the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Stockholm Resilience Center, which will give you an understanding of the concepts within sustainability science. You will discuss pathways for ensuring safe and just human development for present and future generations, and see trends in human-caused global environmental changes. After having completed the course, you will be able to understand key concepts in global environmental change and their theoretical underpinnings.

Sustainable Democracy 
Democracy means rule by the people and a central trait of democracies is majoritarian decision making. May a minority, nonetheless, be allowed to prevent the majority’s will? Should long-term interests sometimes overrun the will of the people? This course puts a normative lens on the challenges that democracies face, with regard to respecting ethnic minorities as well as securing a sustainable environment. The course is divided in three parts. The first part introduces democratic concepts and different normative models of democracy. The second part treats minority concerns as a challenge for democratic systems. Principles alternative to majority rule, based e.g. on the idea of human rights, are discussed. The third part of the course treats the challenge to safe-guard the environment in a democracy. Students discuss different ways to handle environmental issues, such as introducing new rights, setting up new institutions or civic engagement. 

The Philosophy of Money 
Money is one of those things that we tend to think we understand. That is, until we actually look at it. What is money? And why is money so important to us? In this course we will try to answer these questions, and more, by approaching money from a theoretical standpoint. 

Money is a piece of technology designed by human beings for human beings. Consequently, money has more in common with the drill press and the written word than with the canary and the tides. In contemporary society the implementation of this technology is all-pervasive. Today, money structures the presuppositions and practices of nearly all areas of human interaction, cooperative as well as combative, domestic as well as international. But while we all seem to able to use money effectively, few understand how it works. 

The course is an introduction to approaching the phenomenon of money philosophically. Is money real? Is money evil? What is the relation between money and political power? What is the relation between money and consumer culture? By reading and discussing texts selected from the great thinkers of the Western tradition, we trace the theoretical underpinnings of a human institution which is now so ubiquitous as to seem to withdraw into the very fabric of reality, becoming transparent as it were. Special attention is given to questions about the (in)stability of the monetary system, and to questions about the sustainability of the social practices that make it up. How will the switch to a digital currency affect life and societal development in a society like Sweden, where such a transformation is expected in the near future, and what will the effects be on the environment? Besides classical texts of Western thought, the material studied is drawn from several different disciplines, in particular anthropology and economics.