Fall 2019 - LBST 311 D100

Labour and the Environment (3)

Class Number: 3948

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Tue, 11:30 a.m.–2:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 7, 2019
    Sat, 12:00–3:00 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    30 units. Strongly Recommended: LBST 101.



The changing relationships between unions and environmental groups; how work in various industries contribute to climate change; and how climate-change policies affect workers in different ways. The consequences of climate policies for different categories of workers, identified by economic sector, geographic location, gender, ethnicity, and Aboriginal status.


Climate change has significant impacts on the nature of work and working people. Conversely, workers have a vital role to play in determining politically how the issues associated with climate change will be addressed. As the world’s climate goes through radical changes, workers face unprecedented challenges as governments craft policy to mitigate or adapt to the many dimensions of global warming. This course is structured around a reflective reading of Andreas Malm's historical account of how we have arrived at this ecological/economic crossroads. Such an analysis can serve as a framework for evaluating and responding to alternative visions of transition to working in a sustainable world.


By the end of this course, students will have learned:

  • What are the 'system dynamics' of climate change;
  • How are capitalism, labour and fossil fuel consumption related historically;
  • How does the concept of the commons advance our understanding of the issues;
  • How do different types of work contribute to carbon emissions and climate change;
  • What alternatives are there to business as usual.


  • Seminar participation 15%
  • Midterm exam 20%
  • Research essay/annotated bibliography 40%
  • Final exam 25%


Grading: The letter grade N (incomplete) is given when a student has enrolled for a course, but did not write the final examination or otherwise failed to complete the coursework, and did not withdraw from the course before the deadline date. An N is considered and F for purposes of scholastic standing. 

Grading System: Undergraduate Course Grading System is A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D, F, N (N standing to indicate the student did not complete).

A+ 95-100 B+ 80-84 C+ 65-69 D 50-54
A 90-94 B 75-79 C 60-64 F 0-49
A- 85-89 B- 70-74 C- 55-59  

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.


There will be a midterm and a final exam in this course. An annotated bibliography will total approximately 3000 to 3500 words (ten to twelve pages) and critically engage an appropriate range of scholarly publications. The annotated bibliography will be completed in three stages. A topic may be chosen to explore an aspect of the course of special interest to the student not covered in depth in the required readings. Seminar participation is integral to the course and will be based on weekly assigned readings.



Malm, A. (2016). Fossil capital: The rise of steam power and the roots of global warming. Brooklyn, NY: Verso.
ISBN: 978-1-784781293

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html