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SDG Academy

Planetary Boundaries

SDG Academy via edX


A thriving global society relies on the stability of the Earth and its resilience across oceans, forests, waterways, biodiversity, the atmosphere and more. So how do we shape sustainability at a global scale? The boundaries set by the planet’s natural resources, the resilience of those resources, and the human activities that impact sustainability all come into play.

In this massive open online course, see the rapidly evolving trends in global environmental change and the responses aimed at slowing or eliminating these changes. Get an overview of what is seen by some scientists as our current geological epoch – the Anthropocene, or an age of global change driven most significantly by humans. Learn how unsustainable patterns of production, consumption and population growth have challenge planetary resilience, all in support of human activity – and how our societies can develop in a just and safe way within the planet’s boundaries.

This course is for:

  • Anyone new to the concept of sustainable development who wants to understand the interplay between human actions and what the planet can support.
  • Graduate students and advanced undergraduate students interested in the key concepts and practices of sustainability, environmental science, responsible consumption and related topics
  • Sustainable development practitioners – as well as private-sector actors, such as those who work in corporate sustainability and responsibility – who want a concise overview of the latest developments in the field


Module 1: Introduction and the Big Picture

Module 2: Welcome to the Anthropocene

Module 3: Social-Ecological Systems and Resilience Thinking

Module 4: Planetary Boundaries Framework – Part 1

Module 5: Planetary Boundaries Framework – Part 2

Module 6: Planetary Boundaries and Global Equity

Module 7: Moving towards Global Sustainability within Biophysical and Social Boundaries

Module 8: Conclusion

Taught by

Lisa Deutsch, Johan Rockström, Sarah Cornell, Garry Peterson, Carl Folke, Kevin Noone, Victor Galaz and Thomas Elmqvist


5.0 rating, based on 5 Class Central reviews

4.9 rating at edX based on 21 ratings

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  • The course has simply made a difference in my perspective about the world. It taught a lot of learning I haven't learned in school. If one really is apathetic about what is happening around, then this course will really help! It truly opened my mind to see what humans must see and it puts me in a position where I feel responsible of my own actions. Great course! Everyone should try it.
  • A real gem! This should be a required course for any human being! It explains the state of the earth in a comprehensive and understandable manner and presents a real holistic view of what it means to live in this planet!
  • A very good course for those who want to know the problems in Anthropocene. The lectures provide a new aspect to look into the problems. The concept of planetary boundary is clearly illustrated in the course.
  • D C
  • Tim Tröndle

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