Sustainable development is arguably the most urgent challenge facing humanity. The fundamental question is: how we could continue to develop in a socially just way within the boundaries of our planet? The aim of this module is to get a systems perspective on the society-environment-economy nexus, wrestle with complexity, and develop student insights into ideas, visions and strategies towards sustainable development.
The module provides a broad overview of the concept of sustainability – its rationale, theory, ethics, evolution, critique, and use in contemporary policy. Students will examine concerns related to population, consumption, pollution, resource use, impacts and implications from a wide range of perspectives during the first four sessions. Then, we will get familiar with new ways to measure progress, as well as processes of visioning, goal setting and strategy development with an explicit link to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (SDGs). Conceptual points will be illustrated with practical examples, interactive games (including a 2-hour social simulation event), micro-exercises and an overarching analytical assignment in which students have to apply the UN SDGs framework in real-life country contexts through the development of an implementation plan.
The course is especially useful for students interested to dive deeper into global issues, geography, development studies, environmental science, policy, international relations, and economics.