This was absolutely the best course I have ever taken, and Professor Gondek was the best professor I have ever had. I recommend this class to anyone—not even just sustainable development students (though to be honest, I feel that this class should be mandatory in the sustainable development program).
In Ethics of Sustainable Development, you will learn about the ethical fallacies of unsustainable development and their causes, as well as the idea that to be sustainable, development must be ethical. The ethical fallacies include human hegemony, consumerist modernity and utilitarian technocracy. These terms are technical but they encompass concepts that define our lives. You will learn a framework that you can use to judge "why" certain decisions and assumptions in human civilization are ethically problematic, beyond just the gut feeling you get that something is wrong when you hear about a firm displacing villagers from their land or a scientist saying that technology can solve any problem. Everyone would benefit from this course—science, economics, political science, and engineering majors.
Unfortunately this is the only way I can describe this class, as the bulk of the experience you get is from Professor Gondek's unbelievable ability to break down complex issues in a comprehensible and interesting manner; no one ever skipped class, and conversations outside of class always pertained to just how amazing Professor Gondek is. I dare you to go to her office hours just to ask her a simple question; I promise you that you will end up staying with her for hours talking to her about life (such has been the case with everyone who has ever had her as a professor). I even heard a rumor that she is the only Columbia Professor to consistently get 100% ratings every semester on university-wide class evaluations. Take this class!