Contact FutureLearn for Support
Skip main navigation
We use cookies to give you a better experience, if that’s ok you can close this message and carry on browsing. For more info read our cookies policy.
We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.
Online course

Introduction to Sustainability and Development

Explore the impact of human activity on our planet, and what we can do to ensure a sustainable future for everybody.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Introduction to Sustainability and Development

This course is part of the program ADS717: Sustainability And Development, which is one of the building blocks that leads to a Development and Humanitarian Action degree. Find out more.

How can we create a more sustainable future?

As extreme weather events continue to hit the headlines, it is clear that environmental issues are on the rise across the globe.

Get an introduction to sustainable development, and find out what we can do to help our environment, with this online course from Deakin University.

You’ll explore the different ways in which sustainable development can be understood, and examine the true impact of human activity on our planet.

You’ll find out about recent actions that have been taken to achieve sustainable development, and the solutions that we may need to implement in the future.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsHave you ever felt bombarded by bad news? Climate change stories hit the headlines daily, from extreme weather events causing floods, fire, and drought, to the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef here in Australia. Other significant environmental issues range from the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch to the health issues associated with air pollution in places such as Lagos, Karachi, Beijing, and of course, even in Los Angeles. It's clear that human impact on the planet is immense, and in some cases, it is irreversible. However, it's only half the story. Sustainable development is about what we have done, but it's also about what we can do as individuals, as communities, and as nations to change the path of human development.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 secondsIn this course, you'll learn about sustainable development in terms of decisions we can make today to positively affect the future. We will learn about development. We'll learn about sustainability and sustainable development. We'll look at the different ways in which sustainable development can be understood. We'll investigate the impact that we as humans have had on our environment. We'll explore the ways in which the future may be different if we act now in the present. We're expecting people from all over the world with very diverse perspectives. This should make for a fascinating two weeks of study I'm looking forward to working with you on this FutureLearn course.

What topics will you cover?

  • diverse understandings of sustainability and development
  • changing planetary conditions and the growing human population
  • what the future might look like, and the potential for technology to save us

When would you like to start?

  • Available now
  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Critically review diverse perspectives of sustainable development
  • Investigate how interactions between human development and environmental life support systems are/have been managed in real world cases
  • Identify the characteristics and be able to differentiate between development, sustainability and sustainable development

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at anyone interested in social and environmental issues, but may be of particular interest to those looking to enter, or currently working in the field of international and community development.

Who will you learn with?

Max Kelly

Max Kelly has over 15 year’s experience teaching and researching issues in sustainability and development. Max has experience across Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

Who developed the course?

Deakin University is Australia’s eighth largest university with more than 53,000 students from more than 100 countries studying online and on-campus!

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $74 you'll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

Image access mobile

  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Access to tests

When you upgrade you’ll have access to any tests during the course.

Image tests mobile

  • Validate your learning
  • Ensure you have mastered the material
  • Qualify for a certificate

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to take any tests and score over 70%. You don’t get access to tests if you choose to take a course for free.

Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

Image certificate mobile

  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your LinkedIn or CV
  • Includes free shipping

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete, and score over 70% on any course tests.

Upgrade


Still want to know more? Check out our FAQs

Advance your career with a degree

This course is the first step to a degree in Development and Humanitarian Action.

What's different about this course?

Since 2017 you have been able to take a degree on FutureLearn. This free course is a bit like a starter course for a degree — it should give you a flavour of the degree subject but can also be your first step towards a degree qualification.

If you enjoy this course you can apply to join the program it’s part of to start working towards a degree on FutureLearn.

Don’t worry, you can still take the course without doing a full degree!

How do degrees work on FutureLearn?

Do the free course
+
Join and complete the program
=
Get academic credit for an online degree from Deakin University

Which program and degree is this course part of?

This course is part of the program ADS717: Sustainability And Development, which is part of the degree Development and Humanitarian Action.

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join:

  • Human development at odds with our environment
    Human development at odds with our environment
    video

    Watch an animation to understand climate change and ocean acidification. Examine the ideas of planetary boundaries and planetary squeezes.

  • Wind turbines behind a modern farm with solar panels Group of wind turbines behind a modern farm with solar panels on the roofs, group of cows in the foreground; northern Germany.
    Tomorrow's world
    article

    Investigate the contribution of new and innovative technology to possible futures. Share your research and learn from others via Padlet walls.