Course Code: ASD
Open for Enrollment
“The Age of Sustainable Development” gives students an understanding of the key challenges and pathways to sustainable development – that is, economic development that is also socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable.
By joining the global student community that makes up the Age of Sustainable Development, you are also becoming part of a global movement of practitioners committed to achieving sustainable paths to development. The success of the course depends on an active student base representing a diversity of experiences, geographies, and perspectives, so add your voice to the global discussion by registering today.
This course provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of sustainable development, drawing on the most recent developments in the social, policy, and physical sciences. Sustainable development is the most urgent challenge facing humanity. The fundamental question is how the world economy can continue to develop in a way that is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable. The course describes the complex interactions between the world economy and the Earth’s physical environment. Ecological processes and constraints (climate, disease ecology, physical resources such as soils and energy sources, topography and transport conditions) significantly shape the patterns of economic development, demography, and wealth and poverty. At the same time, human activities (farming, land use, urbanization, demographic change, and energy use) change the physical environments, increasingly in dangerous ways. The course offers a broad overview of the key challenges and potential solutions to achieve sustainable development in the 21st century.
Throughout the course, Professor Sachs will hold live google hangouts to answer all your questions about the course and sustainable development issues, in addition to discussion forums where you can engage with fellow students and course staff. And this Fall there will be a special bonus for students – all registered students will receive access to a free e-Book that Prof. Sachs written for the course, The Age of Sustainable Development, which will be published by the Columbia University Press. The book will be available for purchase in bookstores and online in early 2015, but will be available to view for all students who register for the Fall Semester; those students who complete the course will be able to keep the book free of charge.
We have indeed entered the Age of Sustainable Development, and this coming year and a half, till the end of 2015, will be a pivotal year in the history of sustainable development. The world has undertaken to conclude negotiations on three great topics by the end of 2015: the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a new framework for global sustainable development financing, and a new climate change agreement! During the Fall course, we will discuss all of these major negotiations, and have several opportunities for live web chat interactions, including Q&A.
The course is structured around a series of pre-recorded lectures, readings, quizzes, discussion forums, and other activities. Each of these course components can be completed at a time that is convenient for the student, and most quizzes and timed activities are given a two-week window for completion. The material for each week is made available each Tuesday, and once the material has been opened, it remains open for the duration of the course. There are no written assignments for this course.
In addition to the asynchronous components of the course, the instructors will hold 8-10 real-time Google Hangouts to encourage students to ask questions and engage directly with the instructors. These Hangouts will be announced 1-2 weeks in advance. The estimated time commitment to complete all course components is 4-6 hours per week, though this depends heavily on the student and his/her objectives in taking the course.
All students who successfully complete the course will receive a digital certificate of completion, signed by the instructors. In order to successfully complete the course, students must score an average of 70% or higher on the quizzes and final, all of which are multiple choice. Students that score 85% or higher will receive certificates of completion with distinction. While this course is not credit granting, we encourage students to work with their own institutions to explore the option of granting credit for online coursework.
If you have any additional questions on the course structure or requirements, please email the SDSN Education Initiatives Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. For technical questions about the platform, please email email@example.com.
Lecture 1: What is Sustainable Development?
Lecture 2: Economic Development – How we measure it, how it varies around the world
Lecture 3: A Short History of Economic Development
Lecture 4: Why Did Some Countries Advance While Others Remained in Poverty?
Lecture 5: The MDGs and the End of Extreme Poverty
Lecture 6: Growth within Planetary Boundaries
Lecture 7: Human Rights and Gender Equality
Lecture 8: Education
Lecture 9: Universal Health Coverage
Lecture 10: Sustainable Food Supply and the End of Hunger
Lecture 11: Sustainable Cities
Lecture 12: Curbing Climate Change
Lecture 13: Saving Biodiversity
Lecture 14: The Sustainable Development Goals
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Age of Sustainability Development