Introduction to Sustainability

This course introduces the academic discipline of sustainability and explores how today’s human societies can endure in the face of global change, ecosystem degradation and resource limitations.

About The Course

This course introduces the academic approach of Sustainability and explores how today’s human societies can endure in the face of global change, ecosystem degradation and resource limitations. The course focuses on key knowledge areas of sustainability theory and practice, including population, ecosystems, global change, energy, agriculture, water, environmental economics and policy, ethics, and cultural history.

This subject is of vital importance, seeking as it does to uncover the principles of the long-term welfare of all the peoples of the planet. As sustainability is a cross-disciplinary field of study, this foundation requires intellectual breadth: as I describe it in the class text, understanding our motivations requires the humanities, measuring the challenges of sustainability requires knowledge of the sciences (both natural and social), and building solutions requires technical insight into systems (such as provided by engineering, planning, and management).

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What resources will I need for this class?

    Got an up-to-date browser and a decent internet connection? You’re good to go!

  • How can I pass this class?

    We want to give you multiple ways to pass, tailored to your educational needs. You can score well on the quizzes, participate substantially in the forums, or compile a project that encompasses the topics of the course. The choice is up to you!

  • What is the coolest thing I'll learn if I take this class?

    We’ve just passed 7 billion people on the planet – but population growth isn’t the biggest threat to a prosperous global future.

  • What do other people say about the course?

    Check out comments from folks of the independently organized Facebook page:

    • Thank You Prof. Tomkin Wow!!

      We are on the home stretch and it will be sad to see our final week now finish . . . . I have really enjoyed my learning experience and yes, altered some of my previously held ideas have evolved . . . for the better! :) This was my first Cousera and I know am inspired to go further - thanx soo much to you and the tech team!!

      Anne-Marie Seve

    • Dear Mr. Tomkin,

      thank you for your time, encouragement and devotion! It was a pleasure to participate in your class and meet the people from all around the globe.

      Course materials and the topics helped me rethinking many issues. I hope that such efforts supported by millions of individuals around the world will lead to the sustainable future where traditional values and modern technologies will go hand in hand to create a better world.

      With best wishes from Tajikistan,

    • Dear prof. Tomkin

      I would like to thank you and whole your technical staff for this amazing course. It was an incredible opportunity for widening my knowledge in some emerging issues and a great starting point for some deeper consideration to the ones that I have never thought of before.

      I hope you will continue this great work in the future Coursera courses. I wish you lot of patience and persistance in changing people's minds and behaviours.

      Kind regards,
      Barbara Piotrowska/ Gdańsk, Poland

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