#NA-03-22 Concepts in Sustainable Development: An Introduction to the Key Issues

  • Categories Nature
  • Duration 18h
  • Total Enrolled 0
  • Last Update July 26, 2021

About Course

University of Leicester


Get an introduction to the key issues in sustainability

In this course you will study the conceptual foundations of sustainable development, and discuss the issues around sustainability as a complex problem.

We’ll look at the flow of energy and materials worldwide; social and political issues; wealth inequality; the impact of geography, history and culture on sustainability today; and the problems of collective action. Finally, we’ll conduct a SWOT analysis, looking at our resilience and prospects in the face of climate change and other global issues in sustainability. We’ll ask: are we doomed?


Who will you learn with?

Derek Raine

Derek Raine MBE is emeritus professor of interdisciplinary science at the University of Leicester and the recipient of several awards for novel approaches to science teaching in higher education.



Who developed the course?

University of Leicester

The University of Leicester is a leading research led university with a strong tradition of excellence in teaching. It is consistently ranked amongst the top 20 universities in the United Kingdom.


What Will I Learn?

  • Explain what is meant by a complex system and its relevance to sustainability
  • Evaluate the Brundtland definition of sustainable development
  • Explain how economy and ecology work together as one system
  • Summarise the prospects for a circular economy
  • Identify the effects of the agricultural and industrial revolutions
  • Identify and discuss the practical and moral issues around inequality
  • Evaluate the difficulty in assigning causation in complex systems
  • Discuss the implications of past actions for current generations
  • Describe what is meant by the term 'tragedy of the commons'
  • Explain what is meant by globalisation, and its implication for sustainability
  • Discuss the major problems of sustainability and the prospects for solutions
  • Discuss the range of views on approaches to development

Topics for this course

16 Lessons18h

Welcome to the course?

An introduction to what we will cover in the course and a chance to build a community with fellow learners.
Welcome to the course ARTICLE
Structure and study techniques ARTICLE
Our international community DISCUSSION

Sustainable development?

What do we mean by sustainable development?


What does complexity mean and how this relates to sustainability.

Issues in sustainable development?

Problems in defining sustainable development.

Summary of the lesson?

What we have covered this course.

Material Includes

  • Official Certificate

Target Audience

  • This course is open to anyone interested in exploring the general technical and social issues around the concept of sustainability and sustainable development. The course explores the theoretical basis of sustainability from the natural sciences, political and economic perspective. This course is aimed at learners who wish to engage with the challenges and potential solutions to sustainability at a conceptual level.