• University of Bristol

Unleash Your Potential: Sustainable Futures

Learn about the sustainability challenges of the modern world, and make a positive contribution to society.

19,681 enrolled on this course

Hands holding the world
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Find out how to deal with world sustainability issues

United Nations (UN) countries have adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.

On this online course, you’ll learn about these UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the different roles people can play in creating a sustainable future.

You’ll get an introduction to the sustainability challenges the modern world is facing, and gain the skills to play a part in solving them.

You’ll learn how to make a positive contribution to society on a local and global scale, and create a happy and fulfilling sustainable future for everyone.

Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds We all want to live happy and fulfilling lives, and we have a duty care towards humanity and to our environment, both on a local and a global scale. However, this course isn’t just a lesson about global warming, or just about recycling, nor is it meant to be a guilt trip. This course was made to help you think about what motivates you. In what ways do you enjoy working? What makes you happy? What gives you a sense of purpose? And in what ways can you make a contribution? This course will also explore the many ways in which people can change the world around them, both in small and in large ways.

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 seconds We will hear stories from people who are doing exactly this, from promoting positive mental health and happy communities to tackling local homelessness and working with large corporations to reduce microplastics, and in doing so inspire you to learn more or even become involved yourself. But even if this isn’t what you’re into, our exploration of motivation, purpose, and ways of influencing the world around us will be useful, whatever you choose to do.

Skip to 1 minute and 11 seconds Whoever you are, life has its ups and downs, both personally and professionally, and our aim throughout our four weeks together is to motivate and inspire you, to look after your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around you, whilst trying to live life with a greater purpose and make a difference.

What topics will you cover?

  • Happiness and Purpose, and their links to Sustainable Development.
  • Responsibility, Purpose and Foresight in response to Sustainability challenges.
  • How different individuals and organisations take different roles, and work together, to tackle sustainability challenges, explored through a number of case studies.
  • Making a difference at the local and regional level: Case studies in Food Waste, Energy and Homelessness.
  • Making a difference at the global level: Case studies in Microplastics, Industrial Greenhouse Gas emissions and Sustainable Tourism.
  • Understanding the challenges and obstacles those ‘making a difference’ face, and how they find support.
  • Approaches to personal self reflection on the path to ‘make a difference.’

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

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

  • Identify diverse ways to achieving a sense of purpose
  • Explore different approaches to making an impact at a local scale
  • Explore different approaches to making an impact at a global scale
  • Reflect on an individual's role in a big system
  • Identify ways to make a difference

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at anyone interested in sustainability in a broad sense, but may be of particular interest to students who are looking to develop their transferable skills for the workplace and general day-to-day life.

Who will you learn with?

Lecturer, University of Bristol

Lecturer, Cultural Heritage Institute, Royal Agriculture University

Lead Assessor, Office for Students

Research: archaeology (Albania), sustainability, higher education

Chris is Academic Head of Sustainability, and Professor of Sustainability and Computer Systems in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bristol.

Eleni is a Research Associate with the Stockholm Environment Institute of the University of York and is a member of the Cabot Institute and the Department of Geography of the University of Bristol.

Who developed the course?

University of Bristol

University of Bristol is one of the leading institutions among the UK’s Russell Group of universities and is recognised for its research and academic excellence.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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Get a taste of this course

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