Introduction to Sustainability Unit 1 Its Purposes, Challenges, and Requirements

Essential Question

How do we create a society and economy that is aligned with the ecological systems of Planet Earth?

The Big Idea

Think about your day so far today. Let’s assume you woke up, took a shower, got dressed, made a cup of coffee, ate breakfast, checked your email on your smartphone, and got in the car to head to work or school. Have you ever thought about the “behind the scenes” of all these routine activities? Where did the water come from for your shower? What kind of fuel heated the water? Who grew your coffee and what are their working conditions like? How about the milk for your cereal—what are the laws that regulate its production? Your smartphone seems completely removed from nature, but where did all of those components inside the phone come from? What happens to the gasoline after it is burned to power your car to work? Investigating these types of questions is the entry way into understanding sustainability. As we will see, seemingly mundane activities are embedded in webs of relationships with the earth, materials, energy, plants and animals, and people all over the world. Sustainability is a way of thinking that allows us to get under the surface of things and see connections in enlightening and sometimes surprising ways.

In this section, we will explore:

  • What is Sustainability? 
  • The Triple Bottom Line 
  • Why is Sustainability Important? 
  • Myths and Misconceptions about Sustainability 
  • Sustainability as an Adaptive Practice: Context and Scale 
  • The Participatory Sustainability Movement

Please note, this 1.5 hour course is part of the 4.5 hour course Core Concepts in Sustainability (aka the Professional Certificate).

This course is approved for 1.5 GBCI CE Hours for LEED Professionals.