Sustainable Development: An Introduction
Full course description
Today it is acknowledged that achieving sustainable development at the local, regional and global scale is one of the greatest challenges for the 21st century. But in many cases the term ‘sustainable development’ functions as little more than a vacuous buzzword. So what does sustainable development actually mean? How unsustainable is our global society at the moment? Are we contributing to irreversible climate change? Are we already passing dangerous global environmental tipping points? Why are humans acting in such unsustainable ways? And, of course, what are sustainable ways forward?
This course aims to enhance student’s understanding of ‘sustainable development’, based on the notion that human development can only be sustainable when environmental boundaries are respected. The course introduces the main concepts, ideas and theories related to the term sustainable development. Students will gain insights into (the limits to) humanity’s immense impact on the earth’s systems and the underlying drivers of these unsustainable trends. Furthermore, sustainable development requires an understanding that inaction has consequences. Students will learn about some of the contemporary ideas about how to achieve a more sustainable society. As part of the examination students will link theories/concepts/ideas discussed in the course to a self-selected case study (a promising way forward towards sustainability) in a poster presentation.
- To gain a basic understanding of the (various perspectives on the) concept of sustainable development and some of the main related ideas, concepts and theories.
- To gain insights into (the limits to) our immense global human impact on the earth’s systems and the underlying drivers of these unsustainable trends
- To explore ideas about how to achieve a more sustainable society.