Sustainable Futures

Module summary

Module code: ENVI1151
Level: 5
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Natural Resources Institute
Module Coordinator(s): Hilary Claire Coote


Pre and co requisites



To provide a conceptual and practical exploration of broad principles and challenges of sustainable development and allow students to explore multidisciplinary aspects from a geographical or environmental science perspective.

Learning outcomes

On completing this course successfully you will be able to:

1 Outline the origins, concepts, stakeholders and challenges of sustainable development and potential solutions for a sustainable future.
2 Identify appropriate tools, techniques and methodologies for examining aspects of sustainable development and supporting behaviour change required for a sustainable future.
3 Synthesise arguments on ways to address current and future sustainability of the environment.
4 Effectively assimilate and communicate current research, issues and trade-offs affecting sustainable development and sustainable futures though writing and presentation.

Indicative content

Introduction to sustainable futures – origins, challenges, trade-offs; Mapping the territory of sustainable development; Addressing controversy and sustainability; The carbon cycle and impact on sustainability; Environmental pollution and abatement; Renewable energy; Ecological footprinting; Climate change, sustainability and adaptation; Sustainability and urbanisation; Business, production and sustainability; Skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviour change for sustainable development; Role play seminar: consideration of a contentious sustainable issue from different stakeholder perspectives.

Teaching and learning activity

The course consists of 12 three-hour sessions in which students are introduced to, and consider aspects of, sustainable development and requirements for a future sustainable world. Use is made of PowerPoint presentations, videos, readings, group discussions and exercises and exposure to relevant tools and methodologies. A visit to a sustainable cities exhibition is included. An assessed role play gives students the opportunity to consider the challenges of a contentious issue from a particular stakeholder viewpoint and defend their interests. Common themes and inter-related topics will be explored across lectures so that the learning outcomes are addressed through synthesis of information from multiple perspectives.


Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Essay.
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment: 1,2,4.
Grading Mode: Numeric
Weighting % 60%
Pass Mark 40%
Word Length 2,500 words
Outline Details: Essay that explores an aspect of sustainable development – issues, challenges, tools for measuring and recording, ideas for supporting behavioural change and activities required to support change/ uptake.

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Presentation
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment: 2,3,4
Grading Mode: Numeric
Weighting % 40%
Pass Mark 40%
Word Length n/a
Outline Details: Role play exploration of a contentious sustainability issue. May be in groups or individually, depending on number of students in class. The indicative length of each presentation is 15 minutes plus additional time for cross-questioning and discussion.
PowerPoint, Prezi, PowToon, video clips, Pecha Kucha can be used to accompany the presentation.

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning:
Verbal 5-minute overview of planned summative essay, with one supporting slide giving bullet points and 1 to 2 key references in Harvard format.