The course is On Demand, therefore all material is made available to students upon enrollment. The success of the course depends on an active student base representing a diversity of experiences, geographies, and perspectives, so add your voice to the global discussion by registering today.
“Planetary boundaries and human opportunities” gives students an overview of a range of emerging concepts within sustainability science, like the Anthropocene, planetary boundaries, and resilience. These concepts are at the core of contemporary research and debate on global sustainability. They are key to frame and understand rapidly changing trends in global environmental change caused by humans, and to assess responses that aim at reversing global environmental change. They also help exploring pathways for ensuring safe and just human wellbeing for present and future generations.
A thriving global society, now and in the future, depends on the stable functioning of the Earth System and its resilience – including the atmosphere, oceans, forests, waterways, biodiversity and biogeochemical cycles. Unfortunately, scientific evidence indicates that human influence has altered Earth System processes to a point that we have begun transgressing planetary boundaries that have kept civilization safe for the past 10,000 years. Humans are now the most significant driver of global change, potentially propelling the planet into a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. In this new situation, unsustainable patterns of production, consumption, and population growth are challenging the resilience of the planet to support human activity. The fundamental question is how our societies can develop in a just and safe way within the planet’s boundaries.
This course aims at expanding and updating participant’s ‘conceptual toolbox’ in matters of global sustainability. Upon successful completion, a participant will be able to demonstrate a clear understanding of key concepts on global environmental change and their theoretical underpinning, as well as an up-to-date understanding of current debates in the global sustainability arena and emerging examples of approaches and solutions currently being developed.