We’re excited you’re here! This course, “Beyond the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Addressing Sustainability and Development,” is the first course in the upcoming Sustainability and Development MasterTrack Certificate program (Fall 2020), but you can also take this course as a stand-alone learning opportunity.
Sustainability and development pose unprecedented challenges as human societies grow and seek to ensure future wellbeing and prosperity. In this course, we’ll focus on addressing the twin challenges of sustainability and development with actionable knowledge for innovating solutions to the world’s most pressing problems like climate change, poverty and inequality, and biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. Rather than sustainability being a qualifier for development (e.g. sustainable development), we conceptualize Sustainability and Development as co-equal fields of inquiry and action that seek to build bridges between the natural, social and applied sciences and the humanities. When sustainability and development are placed on an equal footing, it requires us to think more explicitly about the trade-offs, co-benefits and synergies between them, which we will be exploring in depth in each week. Throughout the course, you will be introduced to the theoretical currents in Sustainability and Development, and will garner an in-depth understanding of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We will also consider the methods and skills necessary for designing innovative solutions to sustainability and development problems through the emerging field of Sustainability Science. In this course, we will explore three of the most pressing challenges undergirding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including climate change, poverty and inequality, and ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss, with case studies to guide and challenge our thinking. In the final week of the course, we will discuss the trade-offs, co-benefits and synergies between these challenges, especially as they relate to designing innovative solutions for achieving our sustainability and development goals. By the end of this course, you will be able to: 1. Understand and explain the world’s most pressing problems with a specific focus on poverty & inequality, ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss, and climate change. 2. Critically analyze the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their relationship to the world’s most pressing problems. 3. Use frameworks and evidence necessary to develop solutions. 4. Assess relevant solutions that would help realize the SDGs and at the same time solve the pressing problems. 5. Apply skills learned to implement solutions.