Life in the land of “le Swiss”

Giorno numero tre (Day Number 3)

Yes, they speak Italian in Switzerland, well at least where we are located. The rain showers from last night dissipated and today began with an array of sunshine. At least after the daily local alarm clock of church bells finished ringing slightly after 8:00 AM.

Class today was a slight break from the norm, as we spent the day divided into pairs researching and exploring different theories behind sustainable development. The topics of study covered the three main aspects associated with sustainable development: economics, the environment, and social equity. Each group was responsible for presenting their topic to the class and did so successfully. I know you are on the edge of your seat wondering what these topics were, so here you go:

  1. Externalities
  2. The precautionary principle
  3. The Environmental Kuznets Curve
  4. Weak sustainability vs Strong sustainability
  5. The five capital model
  6. The steady-state economy (SSE)
  7. Decoupling (My presentation, probably the best!)
  8. Closed-loop thinking
  9. Equity (Rawlsian vs. utilitarian thinking)
  10. The importance of integrated thinking/decision-making

These presentations took up the afternoon and then a few of us took some time to enjoy the sunshine and weather. We went down to the lake that is about a 5-minute walk from the villa for a swim, came back for dinner, and then took advantage of the impressive athletic facilities that surround the Villa Maderni. An intense game of 2 vs. 3 and 3 vs. 3 volleyball was followed by an even more intense 2 vs. 2 game of badminton. The night was capped off by a trip to the local gelato shop; if you haven’t had gelato in Europe, quite frankly you are missing out.

That about wraps up the day at Villa Maderni. A large majority of the class is heading to Cinque Terre this weekend for a relaxing trip to the beach for some sun and fun before returning and figuring out how to celebrate July 4th in a small European town … errrr I mean writing our final paper for the end of the first module.

Well that’s all for now, hope everyone is enjoying the blog and following our daily activities. Ciao!

Author: Adam Lind, Graduate, Urban Affairs and Planning, VT.

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