Sustainable Development

Authors: O. Ejderyan, G. Tejada, R. Tuor, N. Backhaus

Is one planet enough for all of us?

Compare the needs of different countries:

How many planets would be needed if everyone had the same lifestyle as you?

Take a test by clicking on:

Learning Objectives

After completing this lesson, you shall be able to:

  • Compare different definitions of sustainable development and specify the institutions that defined them
  • Evaluate the global significance of sustainable development
  • Identify the 3 main dimensions of sustainable development – social solidarity, environmental responsibility and economic efficiency – when presented with particular situations and examples
  • Criticize sustainable development indicators and what relevant elements for sustainability they do or do not take into account
  • Propose arguments about the challenges that sustainable development raises at both individual and collective level in the North and in the South.


In order to fulfil the learning objectives of this lesson, you will have to:

  • Read texts about the definition of sustainability and its different dimensions and indicators;
  • Read a document on the Swiss MONET Indicators;
  • Complete short exercises that make you think about sustainability in its different dimensions;
  • Read a text about the challenges of achieving sustainability due to humankind's current impact on the Earth's capacity. For this you will become familiar with the concepts of "ecological footprint" and biocapacity;
  • You will have to read some information and go through some animations that show the different levels at which sustainability must be achieved;
  • Finally, you will have to complete an exercise by reading a text of Amartya Sen on sustainability and answering some questions on it.

Working through this lesson you will come across the following activities, tests and downloads:




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