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The Age of Sustainable Development

SDG Academy

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Overview

About this Course:

“The Age of Sustainable Development” gives students an understanding of the key challenges and pathways to sustainable development – that is, economic development that is also socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable.

By joining the global student community that makes up the Age of Sustainable Development, you are also becoming part of a global movement of practitioners committed to achieving sustainable paths to development. 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.

This course provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of sustainable development, drawing on the most recent developments in the social, policy, and physical sciences. Sustainable development is the most urgent challenge facing humanity. The fundamental question is how the world economy can continue to develop in a way that is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable. The course describes the complex interactions between the world economy and the Earth’s physical environment. Ecological processes and constraints (climate, disease ecology, physical resources such as soils and energy sources, topography and transport conditions) significantly shape the patterns of economic development, demography, and wealth and poverty. At the same time, human activities (farming, land use, urbanization, demographic change, and energy use) change the physical environments, increasingly in dangerous ways. The course offers a broad overview of the key challenges and potential solutions to achieve sustainable development in the 21st century.

Syllabus

Lecture 1: What is Sustainable Development?

  • Chapter 1: Introduction to Sustainable development
  • Chapter 2: Economic growth and progress
  • Chapter 3: Continuing poverty
  • Chapter 4: Environmental threats hitting the rich and poor alike
  • Chapter 5: The business as usual path versus the sustainable development path

Lecture 2: Economic Development – How we measure it, how it varies around the world

  • Chapter 1: Incomes around the World
  • Chapter 2: Urban/rural inequality
  • Chapter 3: Income inequality within countries
  • Chapter 4: Measuring wellbeing
  • Chapter 5: Convergence or divergence?

Lecture 3: A Short History of Economic Development

  • Chapter 1: Economic development is new, starting around 1750
  • Chapter 2: The industrial revolution starts in England
  • Chapter 3: The great waves of technological change
  • Chapter 4: The diffusion of economic growth
  • Chapter 5: Economic Development Since World War II: The Making of Globalization

Lecture 4: Why Did Some Countries Advance While Others Remained in Poverty?

  • Chapter 1: The Idea of Clinical Economics
  • Chapter 2: The role of physical geography: transport, energy, disease, crops
  • Chapter 3: The role of culture: demography, education, gender
  • Chapter 4: The role of politics
  • Chapter 5: Which countries are still stuck in poverty?

Lecture 5: The MDGs and the End of Extreme Poverty

  • Chapter 1: The Reasons to Believe that Extreme Poverty Can Be Ended
  • Chapter 2: A Strategy to End Extreme Poverty in Africa
  • Chapter 3: South Asia: The Continuing Challenge of the Food Supply
  • Chapter 4: A Closer Look at Official Development Assistance
  • Chapter 5:  Designing Practical Interventions: The Case of Millennium Villages

Lecture 6: Growth within Planetary Boundaries

  • Chapter 1: The Planetary Boundaries
  • Chapter 2: Growth Dynamics
  • Chapter 3: Growth and Planetary Boundaries: The Case of Energy
  • Chapter 4: Growth and Planetary Boundaries: The Case of Food
  • Chapter 5: Growth and Planetary Boundaries: The Case of Population

Lecture 7: Human Rights and Gender Equality

  • Chapter 1: The Ethics of Wealth, Poverty, and Inequality
  • Chapter 2: Major UN Covenants and Declarations
  • Chapter 3: Divided societies
  • Chapter 4: Forces of Widening Inequalities
  • Chapter 5: Gender Inequality and Solutions

Lecture 8:  Education

  • Chapter 1: Life-cycle approach to human development
  • Chapter 2: Early Childhood Development
  • Chapter 3: The rising returns to education and the supply response
  • Chapter 4: Social mobility
  • Chapter 5: The role of higher education in sustainable development

Lecture 9: Universal Health Coverage

  • Chapter 1: The human right to health
  • Chapter 2: Poverty and disease
  • Chapter 3: Designing and Financing a Primary Health System in Low-Income Settings
  • Chapter 4: Ten Recommended Steps to Health for All in the Poorest Countries
  • Chapter 5: The Challenges of Health Coverage in High-Income Countries

Lecture 10: Sustainable Food Supply and the End of Hunger

  • Chapter 1: Malnutrition
  • Chapter 2: Farm systems, ecology, and food security
  • Chapter 3: How environmental change threatens the food system
  • Chapter 4: How the food system threatens the environment
  • Chapter 5: Towards a sustainable global food supply

Lecture 11: Sustainable Cities

  • Chapter 1: The patterns of urbanization around the world
  • Chapter 2: What makes a city sustainable?
  • Chapter 3: Smart Infrastructure
  • Chapter 4: Urban Resilience
  • Chapter 5: Planning for Sustainable Development

Lecture 12: Curbing Climate Change

  • Chapter 1: The basic science of climate change
  • Chapter 2: Consequences
  • Chapter 3: Mitigation
  • Chapter 4: Mitigation Policies
  • Chapter 5: Policies and Global Cooperation for Climate Change

Lecture 13: Saving Biodiversity

  • Chapter 1: What is biodiversity?
  • Chapter 2: Biodiversity under threat
  • Chapter 3: Oceans and fisheries
  • Chapter 4: Deforestation
  • Chapter 5: International dynamics

Lecture 14: The Sustainable Development Goals

  • Chapter 1: The proposal for SDGs at Rio+20
  • Chapter 2: Illustrative SDGs
  • Chapter 3: Goal-Based Development
  • Chapter 4: Financing for Sustainable Development
  • Chapter 5: Principles of Good Governance

Taught by

Jeffrey Sachs

Class Central Charts

Reviews for The Age of Sustainable Development
4.7 Based on 7 reviews

  • 5 stars 71%
  • 4 stars 29%
  • 3 star 0%
  • 2 star 0%
  • 1 star 0%

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  • 1
Ruchika C
5.0 4 years ago
by Ruchika partially completed this course.
Excellent course! The approach taken by Prof. Sachs by taking up topics one by one, starting from scratch and providing a deep knowledge to the subject is truly remarkable. Also, this course contains practical application of knowledge, linking us to the current happenings in the world around us.
3 people found
this review helpful
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Sakshi S
5.0 4 years ago
by Sakshi partially completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
A great course with excellent topics and contents. helps to understand the pressing need for "sustainability" for future. Must learn!
1 person found
this review helpful
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Vishal M
5.0 4 years ago
by Vishal completed this course, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
Sustainable Development makes you come across with each minute matters of the world and gives you a clear picture as of what create differences between a developed country and poverty prone country.. Gives you knowledge on how poor countries can develop themselves .. Must watch for everyone
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Stephan F
5.0 3 years ago
Stephan is taking this course right now, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
This is a fantastic course with excellent topics and contents! The best MOOC I ever had! Prof Sachs is marvellous. No video twaddel - content only and that in a very engaging manner!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Dhananjay C
4.0 4 years ago
by Dhananjay partially completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
Fantastic Course! The Instructor, Course Content, Provider, Service etc. everything is just great. It is truly beneficial in all aspects.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Alexandre M
4.0 2 years ago
by Alexandre completed this course.
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Michael Y
5.0 2 years ago
Michael completed this course.
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