Coursera – Introduction to Sustainability

Coursera - Introduction to Sustainability

Title: Coursera – Introduction to Sustainability
Video Format: MP4
File Size: 1.22 GB
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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).

Course Syllabus

Week 1: Introduction. Pessimism vs. optimism.
Neo-malthusians, J-curves, S-curves and the IPAT equation

Week 2: Population. Demographics and the disappearance of the third world
Demographics, population trends.

Week 3: Tragedy of the Commons.
Fisheries, pastures, public vs private solutions

Week 4: Climate Change. The climate of the near future: hot, hotter, or hottest?
Weather vs. Climate, Proxy and data climate evidence, Climate projections

Week 5 : Energy. What happens when we reach “Peak Oil” Renewable energy: is there enough to make the switch?
Peak Oil/Fossil Fuel, Energy survey, availability, and density, EROI

Week 6: Agriculture and Water. Is there enough water and food for the 21st Century?
GMOs and the Green Revolution, water stocks and flows – physical and social constraints

Week 7: Environmental Economics and Policy. Can economists lead the way to sustainability?
Environmental Evaluation, project and policy evaluation, Incentive policies

Week 8: Ethics and Culture and Measurement. The long view.
NeCarbon Footprints, Energy and water efficiency metrics, Sustainability Ethics, Environmental ideology and conservation movements

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