I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been interested in studying sustainability for quite some time. The environment and climate change were big issues when I was at university in the 90s. If you read my about page, you’ll see I had a website in this field from 2005-2010. I always wanted to get further involved but remained on the sidelines for various reasons.
The question for me has always been, ‘what to do in sustainability?’. It’s a broad field covering all industries. If you look at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), you’ll see there are 17 goals or global challenges we face. These sustainability goals were agreed upon in 2015 but we are still so far from achieving them.
One of my biggest regrets is not continuing with my green living website and furthering my education. I think I would have more purpose in my life right now if I had pursued environmental studies or social justice. Returning to university or taking online sustainability courses would have put me on a completely different path in life. Of course, there were fewer online learning opportunities back then but continuing my formal education with postgraduate study was definitely a possibility.
It was only recently, due to COVID-19, that I decided it was now or never to pivot my business towards sustainability. It’s time for a career change and getting back to my passion. My plan is to study sustainability and environmental science before specialising in one of the SDGs.
The ultimate goal for me is to complete the Master of Sustainability at the University of Sydney. It’s an on-campus course which would require me moving to Sydney, something that’s probably not achievable in my current financial position but which I still hope to achieve.
If you’re interested in corporate sustainability, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership offers online sustainability courses. Or if you’re more interested in sustainable living, the University of Tasmania has an online diploma which I think would be worthwhile. Both of these are reasonably priced and you can study from anywhere in the world. If you are looking for free online sustainability courses, the SDG Academy provides free educational resources via the edX platform.
With COVID-19 restrictions still in place at universities, for now I’m focusing on online learning. I’ve been offered a place at Macquarie University to study a Graduate Certificate of Environment. This course is offered as part of the Australian Government’s COVID-19 Higher Education relief package. This is designed to help Australian residents upskill or retrain in fields of national priority such as teaching, health, science, and information technology. You can find more information on the Course Seeker website but note these discounted courses are only available in 2020.
I will continue to update this page with the sustainability courses I’m taking and my reviews of each course. Many of these courses are available for free online with websites like Future Learn, Coursera and GetSmarter.
Dates: July 2020 to December 2020
Grade: High Distinction
Climate Change, Energy and our Future
Natural Hazards, Disasters and their Management
Australian Environmental Futures
Urban Dynamics: Population, Housing and Regeneration
University of Bristol
Dates: June 2020 – July 2020
Short course via Future Learn.
Sustainable Futures discusses local and global sustainability issues along with interesting and innovative solutions to these problems. The course focuses on case studies with real world examples from academics, entrepreneurs, policy makers, business people, politicians and volunteers. This course is a great introduction to sustainable development as it covers a broad range of industries and initiatives.
Dates: May 2020 – July 2020
Short course via Coursera.
This is one of the most popular online courses available on the Coursera platform, particularly in the area of personal development. I’ve shared this course here as I consider wellbeing and happiness to be an essential part of social sustainability. Much of the information seems to be common sense but it’s interesting to see what you may or may not think is true, backed by scientific research. Some of the key points for achieving happiness or improving wellbeing include:
- regular meditation
- sleeping at least 7 hours per night
- exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes, 3 times per week
- performing acts of kindness
- choosing experiential purchases over materialistic purchases
- savouring experiences / enjoying being in the moment
- connecting with others
It’s an interesting course, well worth the time to reinforce what we should be focusing on in our lives to improve our wellbeing and of those around us. Later weeks cover how to achieve the points discussed as it’s important to make changes into habits, it’s not enough to simply know what we should be doing.