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Half-filled glass of water on table.
Perceive and act to create the future.

The story so far

Is the glass half empty or half full?

In this short course we have:

  • explored global challenges including the key concept of boundaries within which the planet can still operate safely

  • investigated the combination of the human impact on the environment and the ever increasing human population.

Climate change is probably our greatest challenge because human-induced climate change is already manifesting in everything from extreme weather events to rising sea levels. Mitigating actions now can, however, reduce the magnitude of the changes.

Views of the future

Although it would be possible to take the ‘glass half empty’ view of our future, an emerging awareness of the scale and extent of the problem is one cause for optimism.

The linking of human development and environmental sustainability for the whole planet in the Sustainable Development Goals is another.

However, given the nature of our economic systems that have promoted a growth paradigm over sustainable human development, the benefits of which are only realised by about 20% of the humans on the planet (and a lot less benefits to the plants, animals and non-human planetary occupants) action is essential.

Perhaps now is time to abandon the glass-half-full or glass-half-empty thinking on the future of humanity and look for a different size glass – one that is designed to achieve a sustainable future.

What action can you take?

Thinking about the ideas that you have just shared about work or technological innovations, identify one thing that you will do as a result of this course that will contribute to a sustainable future in your country.

Your task

What are you going to do today? Share in comments.

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This article is from the free online course:

Introduction to Sustainability and Development

Deakin University

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

    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

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