The Age of Sustainable Development – An Online Course by Jeffrey Sachs

To kick the blog off, I will start with a snippet of what I am learning right now.

I am doing the course “The Age of Sustainable Development” offered by Jeffery Sachs, Columbia University, NY. Jeffrey Sachs is an economist and, according to his Wikipedia page, one of the world’s leading experts on economic development and the fight against poverty. He is actively involved in different organizations and has several advisory positions on various committees. Most notably, Sachs is an advisor to the UN, which is reflected in the high number of UN papers recommended in the “to read” section of the course. Same goes for the book, written by Sachs, that is recommended:

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Though his theories and recommendations are not accepted without criticism from development experts, I can highly recommend his course and book. They give very detailed information on Sustainability and the general requirements to achieve Sustainable Development. He comes across as a very likeable person in the video lectures: he’s very enthusiastic and he smiles all the time – which helps make the course extremely interesting and makes the classes seems much shorter than they really are.

Sustainable Development is a term that has been used since 1980, but only recently got the connotation and meaning we know it for today. Sustainable Development is the theory of how to sustain the earth, how to preserve if for future generations and preferable restore harm already done. It is a very complex topic, consisting of the 4 systems: economy, society, politics, and the environment. According to Sachs, only a global approach guaranteeing environmental sustainability, good governance, economic prosperity, and social inclusion and cohesion can nurture Sustainable Development.

Sustainable Development is today an analytical field of study, questioning currently used approaches such as the use of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) as the only source to rate success and to the constant promotion of economic growth instead of quality of life or decreasing inequality.

Right now I am only on Week 3 out of 12 weeks. As soon as I have a better grasp of the lecture and have read some background information a more detailed review will follow.

To be continued…

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