Global Sustainable Societies

Global Sustainable Societies is a survey of the full range of global social, economic and environmental sustainability issues and trends. This course results in significantly increased awareness and understanding of global sustainability challenges and the types of solutions being used to tackle them.

Global Sustainable Societies examines the twenty-five global issues that the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development has identified as the most critical global social, economic and environmental challenges that will drive global change. Having gained a sound understanding of sustainability and how societies are adapting and can adapt to become more sustainable, students learn to conceptualize approaches to address the challenges.

Using an internationally peer-reviewed four-step process, participants will develop a systemic understanding of the issues as well as acquire a practical methodology for assessing sustainability issues and what challenges and opportunities the need to become more sustainable creates. Through case study analysis and group exercises, students practice the critical-thinking, problem-solving and decision-making skills necessary to conceptualize strategies to address such challenges. Students learn to recognize and understand issue interrelationships and consequences by using a methodology that prepares them to mainstream sustainable principles and practices in their personal and professional lives .

The Global Sustainability Challenge is one of most pressing problems that society faces today. Human life, along with all of our economic and societal activities, is inextricably dependent on adequate and healthy biophysical systems. However, the scale of human activities and factors, such as continuing population growth, growing social inequalities, and environmental degradation, are placing tremendous stress on the Earth’s biosphere inhibiting sustainable development.

In order for society to be truly sustainable, ongoing resource demands must be less than, or at least in balance with, natural resource supplies. This means that society not only has to learn how to use resources more efficiently, but also stipulates that society considers the issue of resource sufficiency.