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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Introduction to Sustainability

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign via Coursera


This course introduces the academic approach of Sustainability and explores how today’s human societies can endure in the face of global change, ecosystem degradation and resource limitations. The course focuses on key knowledge areas of sustainability theory and practice, including population, ecosystems, global change, energy, agriculture, water, environmental economics and policy, ethics, and cultural history.

This subject is of vital importance, seeking as it does to uncover the principles of the long-term welfare of all the peoples of the planet. As sustainability is a cross-disciplinary field of study, this foundation requires intellectual breadth: as I describe it in the class text, understanding our motivations requires the humanities, measuring the challenges of sustainability requires knowledge of the sciences (both natural and social), and building solutions requires technical insight into systems (such as provided by engineering, planning, and management).

Taught by

Jonathan Tomkin


4.4 rating, based on 16 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Introduction to Sustainability

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Complex subjects such as Malthusian thinking, Tragedy of the Commons, Milankovitch cycles, climate vs. weather, greenhouse gases, and many others were very well explained by Prof. Tomkin. Now I'm able to understand sustainability discussions as well as possible ways of keeping our planet healthy.
  • Profile image for Claire B
    Claire B

    Claire B completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    I completed this course in Nov 2013 so it may have changed. It was quite interesting, easy to understand and pretty complete. Be prepared though: it took me a lot of time, especially since the assignments were real pieces of work if I remember well. In the end, a greater understanding of the theme and definitely the feeling of deserving my certificate (free at that time btw).
  • Md. Arefin Hossain

    Md. Arefin Hossain is taking this course right now.

    It is quite good. And i tried to learn about it. It should be for free of cost and it is possible by coursera to make some free cost of certificate courses. They have ability to do it.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Certificate should not be paid. Because all we don't have the ability to pay for a certificate. But if we complete the course than I deserve a certificate.
  • Patrick E.

    Patrick E. completed this course, spending 10 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Very interesting! Course was well-setup. I was a bit reluctant to participate in the discussion forums at first (as this was my first MOOC), but once I did I learned a lot from it.
  • Gy Ng completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    The course is easy to follow and provide basic information for sustainability in various aspect. However, the flow of the course seems not very organised.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    Few days I have covered in Module 1 have opened my mind for instance, Malthusian theory on Population Growth. Interestingly, how modern technology suppressed his predictions.
  • Michael King completed this course.

    A great course, very well organised. Highly recommended. Quite a bit of work, I spent around 9 hours per week on it. Feel like I have earned my certificate.
  • Paul

    Paul is taking this course right now, spending 2 hours a week on it.

  • Delphine Courtin completed this course.

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  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

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    Michael Mazzola

    Michael Mazzola completed this course.

  • Nathalie Roc

    Nathalie Roc completed this course.

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