Introduction to Sustainability

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  • Orientation and Introduction
    • In this module, you will become familiar with the course, your classmates, and the learning environment. The orientation also helps you obtain the technical skills required for the course. In the introduction, we will examine some of the central ideas that underpin the Earth as a system, and their consequences for environmental sustainability.
  • Population
    • In this module, we will see how human populations have evolved over time and get a sense of where the next century of change will take us.
  • Ecosystems and Climate Change
    • In this module, we will see that the Earth faces many environmental pressures that result from human exploitation of natural resources. We will also look at the issue of climate change.
  • Energy
    • In this module, we will look at energy use. We will also consider what the trend of energy use means for the planet, and how we might transition to a more sustainable pattern of use.
  • Water and Agriculture
    • In this module, we will explore the connection between water and food, and see what will be required to feed the planet over the course of the century.
  • Environmental Policy
    • In this module, we will examine some of the common tools used by policy-makers, and some of the forces that shape (or misshape) policy.
  • Measuring Sustainability
    • In this module, we will examine what tools are available to measure sustainability. Finally, I will make some predictions on global sustainability for the 21st century, based on the models we have spoken about in this course and the trends that have been observed in the early part of this century.
  • Conclusion
    • Welcome to the end of the course! This module has a final, comprehensive quiz that covers all of the topics that we’ve seen in the previous seven modules. You’ll want to be familiar with the goals and objectives, key phrases, concepts, and guiding questions from the earlier modules to do well on this final quiz.