Introduction to Sustainability

5 h
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  • 5 Sequences
  • Introductive Level

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Week 1: Disruption: Reorienting our thoughts

Using your current thinking as a starting point we will explore a range of contemporary definitions and perspectives. By sharing and discussing our experiences we will broaden our collective understanding of the range and scope of 'sustainability', and address this as a ‘contested concept’. We will introduce the fundamentals of ‘how the planet’s global systems work’.


Week 2: Thinking deeply: Local issues and personal reflections

This week we will begin to contextualise our discussion by asking you to introduce some local sustainability issues. We will then discuss our personal responses to these and consider how we can draw on local matters as drivers for change.


Week 3: Understanding broadly:  Global issues and wider positioning

This week we will widen our discussion to consider how local issues are related to and nested within wider, global contexts. We will discuss how these problems relate to global systems and introduce concepts such as systems thinking and complexity as frameworks to help position our thinking. We will use a range of case studies to exemplify these global connections. 


Week 4: Implement: How do we take action?

Drawing on the knowledge gained in previous weeks we will consider how we can turn our thoughts into action. We will discuss what that ‘action’ would look like at a personal, local and global level, and what impacts we can expect to have.  We will also consider how we could measure and evaluate ‘success’ across those domains.


Week 5: Learning for sustainability: How can we inform and educate others?

Finally we will offer ‘learning for sustainability’ as a strategy for future action. We will discuss how ‘education’ taken in its broadest sense (to include our daily interactions with others, in our homes, in workplaces, and for some in more formal educational settings) can be used to encourage others to develop a personal ethic of sustainability, encourage a value shift at a wider societal level and engender transformational change.     



Learning objectives

By the end of this course you will have:

  1. gained a better understanding of the concept and practice of sustainability.
  2. understood the complexity and range of definitions and responses to the issue of sustainability between and within communities, societies and cultures at local and global levels.
  3. analysed your own situation and considered the manifestation of sustainability within your local space and its connection with the global visioning of sustainability.
  4. developed a personal response to the issue of sustainability and imagined how you could positively respond to local sustainability challenges.
  5. considered the role of education (in its broad sense) and communication as a way to encourage a deeper understanding of sustainability and as a process for positive change.
  6. become more informed, confident and able to encourage others within your family, community and workplace to develop their own understanding of sustainability and to become ‘agents of change’ themselves.  




  • Betsy King - Scotland's UN Regional Centre of Expertise on ESD, Learning for Sustainability Scotland
  • Beth Christie - School of Education
  • Pete Higgins - Moray House School of Education


L'université d'Édimbourg est une université britannique, fondée en 1583 au cours d'une période de développement rapide de la ville d'Édimbourg. Elle est considérée comme l'une des universités les plus prestigieuses au monde.

Après avoir compté parmi ses étudiants des inventeurs de la Révolution industrielle, elle possède plus d'étudiants que n'importe quelle université écossaise et fait partie des plus grandes universités du Royaume-Uni.


Coursera - это цифровая компания, предлагающая массовые открытые онлайн-курсы, основанные учителями компьютеров Эндрю Нгом и Стэнфордским университетом Дафни Коллер, расположенные в Маунтин-Вью, штат Калифорния.

Coursera работает с ведущими университетами и организациями, чтобы сделать некоторые из своих курсов доступными в Интернете, и предлагает курсы по многим предметам, включая: физику, инженерию, гуманитарные науки, медицину, биологию, социальные науки, математику, бизнес, информатику, цифровой маркетинг, науку о данных и другие предметы.

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