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Review and reflect

Reflect and share what you have learnt about sustainability and development.
OK, we’ve reached the end of this open course. We’ve looked at a whole range of issues to do with sustainability and sustainable development. One of the key questions, I think, for me, is that notion of intergenerational equity. Do you think your great-great-grandchildren will ever see a white tiger or a sloth? And, in essence, does it matter? I believe it does. But it’s a question you should probably ask yourself. I think there’s an inherent value of any resource. And we need to work out, for each of us, what that value is. Not necessarily its economic value or its human value, but its value to the planet.
The sustainable development goals are the global goals to set a pathway for a sustainable future. But we should now understand that there are a range of worldviews embedded in those sustainable development goals– technology and innovation that can provide life– life after Earth. We can, perhaps, all be in that Star Trek future. We can have this beautiful vision of the starship. Or perhaps the Captain Nemo version. I’m not sure. Personally, I’d probably prefer the David Attenborough version of Life on Earth. To achieve this, we really do need to look at some of the actions that may be possible. From these two weeks, you should have gained an understanding of what we do mean by sustainable development.
We also hope that you’ve gained an understanding of the imperative to do something. It’s an absolute imperative to do something that will alter the pathway of the current human development on planet Earth– the current trajectory that we’re on. We can sit by and watch the environmental degradation continue, or we can do something to act– to address the disconnect between economic growth, environmental health, and social justice.

Congratulations on completing Week 2.

This week we investigated past events contributing to the environmental issues of today and explored worldviews and visions of the future.

We examined the role of technology and progress towards sustainable development.

We used a case study of agriculture to critically analyse SDG 9 and then considered SDG 8, with a focus on the impact of technology on future work roles.


You have now reached the end of this open course on sustainability and development. In the course, we have asked the question what is the relationship between people and the environment, particularly the negative impact of human activity on the planet, why this is important, and what we are trying to do about it?

It’s been a rich conversation with so many contributors from around the globe. Thank you for your participation and contribution.

Your task

We would love to hear in the comments about how this course has affected your understanding of sustainability and development.

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Introduction to Sustainability and Development

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