Self Paced

The Science and Practice of Sustainable Development (edX)

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Learn the science and policies that drive sustainable development and how leaders can work to achieve UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This course introduces the origin and key concepts of sustainability and how to apply those to sustainable development practice.

Sustainable development will be explored through theories and case studies from a range of Disciplines. You also will learn about planetary boundaries, urbanisation and growing inequality, to show how integral sustainable development is to our everyday existence.

This course will attempt to provide key content knowledge to bridge the science and the practice of the application and enhancement of sustainable development. The course draws on contemporary examples from both The University of Queensland (UQ) and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to address the world’s most urgent challenges, with emphasis on the linkages between science and policy.

What you'll learn:

- To understand the practice and policy of sustainable pathways to development

- To appreciate some of the scientific underpinnings of sustainable development practice and how policy-makers are trying to apply it for better governance of scarce resources

- To understand how various attributes of sustainability (environmental, economic and social) can be applied by development practitioners and other stakeholders

- To gain scientific knowledge regarding planetary boundaries processes and their influence on international economic development

- To be aware of the current international policy landscape for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Course Syllabus

Module 1: What is Sustainable Development?

Introduction to key concepts and challenges to sustainable development.

Module 2: Drivers of Inequality

Why do some countries advance while others stay poor?

Module 3: Ending Extreme Poverty

Considers strategies for addressing extreme poverty and the impact of the Millennium Development Goals.

Module 4: Growth within Planetary Boundaries

How can we ensure we grow sustainably and remain within the planetary boundaries?

Module 5: Sustainable Development Goals

The future of sustainable development requires a global approach. Considers the strengths and weaknesses of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Module 6: Human Rights and Gender Equality

Introduction to the challenges around equality, equity and fairness to all.

Module 7: Education and Sustainable Development

Introduction to a life-cycle approach to development, and the role of education in sustainable development.

Module 8: Environmental and Human Health

Exploration of how primary health care systems are linked to poverty, and the interaction between the environment and human health.

Module 9: Sustainable Food Supply

Discusses food and water security, and how we can work towards a sustainable global food supply.

Module 10: Sustainable Cities

What makes a city sustainable? Introduction to the influence of increasing urbanization.

Module 11: Curbing Climate Change

Introduction to the science of climate change and how we can mitigate its effects.

Module 12: Saving Biodiversity

Exploration of the threats to biodiversity, from oceans to forests, and the need for international cooperation.

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