Spring 2024 - SD 281 OL01

Introduction to Sustainability (3)

Class Number: 3221

Delivery Method: Online


  • Course Times + Location:




Introduces the challenges and opportunities for developing sustainable communities and a sustainable world, through the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and alternative perspectives around sustainability (e.g. Indigenous, just sustainabilities etc.). Students will also learn from the practical experience of diverse experts and sustainability professionals. Conventional approaches to sustainable development will be critiqued to ensure considerations for equity and social justice. Highlights will be showcased from the Global North and Global South. Students with credit for REM 281 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Social Sciences.


Every week students will go on a journey through one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and explore exciting solutions from Canada and beyond. Students will virtually meet relevant experts in our weekly “Meet the Expert” episodes who will introduce them to some of the challenges and opportunities for developing sustainable communities and a sustainable world.  These experts will share their own journey through the path of sustainable development and provide practical lessons learned, and examples of how their projects helped address one of the SDGs. Whether students are interested in food security, water scarcity, gender equity, climate change mitigation, sustainable cities and planning, marine biodiversity, conservation, and more, they will find that the goal of developing sustainable communities and a sustainable world will require an interdisciplinary and systemic approach. This course will also challenge dominant approaches to development and promote an emphasis on cooperation and partnership. Case studies will highlight examples from the Global North and the Global South.  This course will help prepare students to connect the dots and move from the classroom, into real world action.


At the end of the course, students should be able to: 

  • Understand the interconnectedness of sustainable development goals.
  • Identify a range of strategies and approaches to sustainable development and how these strategies can contribute towards sustainable communities and a sustainable world.
  • Apply key frameworks for analyzing sustainability practice.
  • Design and apply innovative strategies to promote sustainable development.
  • Understand the personal attributes, skills and ethical foundations needed for sustainability practice and planning.
  • Perform a critical analysis to hone critical thinking and critical writing.


  • Written Assignments 100%



Access to computer and internet.


Required readings available on-line (Canvas), through library, or will be emailed to students via the course email list. Students are not required to purchase a textbook.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html