It seems increasingly apparent that mankind's collective future portends significant change in the way humans live on the earth. Although predictions concerning the cause and scope of that change vary, most of the envisioned scenarios involve systemic environmental degradation as a primary and driving force behind social and political change. In this course, students use the archaeological and ethnographic canon to investigate how other societies have - or have not - coped with devastating and significant environmental degradation. With an anthropology informed by political economy as the course's foundation, students focus on the interconnectedness of the social, cultural, political, economic, and environmental arenas of human existence. Students look for glimpses of optimism amidst the dystopic visions of the American and global future.