Skip main navigation

Introduction to Week 1

What does sustainability mean to you? Watch this video to hear how University of Nottingham academics answer this question.
Welcome to [INAUDIBLE] house, on the University Park in Nottingham. I’m Sarah Speight. Are we sustainable in the choices that we make? Using some common dilemmas, we’re going to gather some of your opinions before we look a little bit deeper into some of these issues. We’ll get you engaged in some discussions, and we’ll see if we can arrived at a shared understanding of sustainability. But before we get going, let’s find out what sustainability means to some of the academics and other colleagues who have contributed to this course. The concept of sustainability seems to be everywhere nowadays, but it’s such a broad concept that it actually means different things to different people.
For me as an engineer, sustainability is about balancing economic viability with environmental concerns and the social impact of any project. Sustainability, for me, is a proper, inclusive democracy. To me, sustainability is all about meeting the needs of today, without inhibiting the needs of tomorrow. To me, it means making choices for the way that one lives and works. But not only as an individual, but mainly, or more importantly, as part of our communities. What sustainability means to me is finding a way of living that we can all share, and such that the well being of the present generation is not purchased at the expense of the well being of subsequent generations.
Sustainability to me means using the world’s resources in a way that means they can meet the present population’s needs, without compromising those of the future’s. Sustainability to me means using renewable and already-used resources to do our day-to-day activities. Sustainability to me means trying to be cleverer about doing things more efficiently.

Welcome to everyone joining this course. We will introduce ourselves shortly but let’s start by finding out what sustainability means to us, coming as we do from so many different countries, contexts and cultures. Watch our opening video and see whose comments resonate most strongly with you. And then, respond to our ‘Think about’ to start the conversation.

Those of you in China can also view this video on our Tudou channel.

Think about: What does sustainability mean to you? Do you think you have a particular perspective related to your culture, education, job or interests?

Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments here below the opening video.

This article is from the free online

Sustainability, Society and You

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education