GRE100 - Introduction to Sustainable Development

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-07-20 13:26:40.695
Last review date 2018-07-20 13:26:49.102

Subject Title
Introduction to Sustainable Development

Subject Description
This course is intended to introduce the concept of sustainable development to a broad audience. The course discusses the environmental, economic and social impacts that affect the sustainability of our communities. The course investigates the development of human populations and how their energy and nutritional needs have compromised the natural ecosystems. Social and economic factors are explored that lead to greater social equality and more sustainability in the world economy. Individual responsibility to sustainability through lifestyle changes are examined.

Credit Status
One credit towards the Environmental Management Certificate Program 

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1. Define and characterize the three pillars of sustainable development: natural environment, social justice and economy.

2. Describe the effect of development of human societies on the environment using key indicators such as the ecological footprint.

3. Identify and describe the characteristics of ecosystems and biodiversity and the nutrient and energy cycles in the trophic levels.

4. Analyse various technologies of energy production with respect to their relative environmental impact.

5. Explain the interrelatedness between atmosphere and climate and how they are affected by human activities.

6. Describe and quantify the environmental effects of a variety of human activities with special emphasis on an unsustainable exploitation of resources (e.g. water usage, waste production, transportation issues, consumption of grains and meat, over harvesting of fish and deforestation).

7. Explain the relationship between economic development and the environment and the need for environmental policies and regulations to implement sustainable development (e.g. full cost pricing and life cycle assessment).

8. Identify and quantify the environmental impact of individual lifestyle changes that could lead to sustainable communities around the world.

9. Assess socioeconomic aspects of sustainable communities including the role of technology, ramifications of poverty, access to education and gender and racial equality.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.


Topic Outline

  • The Big Picture
  • Human Development and Population Growth
  • The science of Ecosystems and Ecology
  • Energy Sources
  • Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change
  • Consumption and the Quality of Life
  • Threats to Ecosystems
  • Sustainable Environmental Economics
  • Working Towards a Sustainable Future

Mode of Instruction
On-Line Delivery
This subject is delivered online. This may involve the use of digital materials and/or a text, group discussions, interaction with your instructor and online activities.
Mandatory Group Work.

Prescribed Texts
On-Line Delivery
Global Environment Watch Printed Access Card. ISBN 10: 1423929446. ISBN 13: 9781423929444  Instructor will explain process to access the on-line resources.
Instructor will provide link to the GREENR online resource. Students are responsible for the applicable fees to access this resource (effective: S17).

Reference Material

Required Supplies

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation


  • Assignments are due at the beginning of the class on which they are due.
  • A late penalty of 10% per day is assessed for late assignments, including those not handed in at the beginning of class when due.
  • Material will not be accepted after one week following the due date and/or when the marked material is returned to students, whichever comes first.
  • Assignments are to be prepared by computer.

Absenteeism and Exams

  • Students should be aware that absenteeism almost guarantees an inability to achieve satisfactory grades.
  • Students who are absent for an examination due to an emergency (e.g., motor vehicle accident, hospitalization or death in the family) may provide official documentation within five days of the missed exam and be provided a deferred exam at a later date.  Official documentation includes a death notice or an original doctor’s certificate identifying the date, length of time expected absence and the specific reason for the absence.  Examinations missed without official documentation and approval result in a grade of zero.
  • There are no deferred options for missed tests.  The value of missed tests, at the discretion of the Faculty, will be added to other evaluation components

English Proficiency

  • All written work should demonstrate the following characteristics for clarity and conciseness:

-writing is consistent with the rules of English grammar
-spelling and punctuation are correct
-sentences are structured correctly
-main ideas are supported with specific, relevant examples and reasons
-work flows logically through supporting statements/paragraphs
-work is arranged in correct format (e.g., as a report, essay)
-up to 10% of the final grade may be deducted on all work if the above English competencies are not met.

Format for Assignments

  • Students must use the standard, APA style for quoting sources.   Help is available at:

Grading is based on the following marking scheme:

On-Line Delivery

In Person Term tests (2 @ 20%) 40%
Assignment 1 - 15%
Assignment 2 - 5%
Assignment 3 - 5%
Assignment 4 - 5%
Final Examination 30%

The final exam must be written at the Test Centre of the College at which you registered. If you are unable to do so, please make alternative arrangements through the College at which you registered.

All the academic policies of the College at which you registered apply. This includes, but is not limited to policies related to grading, supplemental exams, deferred exams and accommodations.

Other Evaluation Considerations
The student is expected to comply with the Safety Rules for working in the laboratory, sign the safety contract, and WILL NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WEAR CONTACT LENSES in the laboratory.  The student will know where all safety equipment is located in the laboratory and will be familiar with WHMIS concepts and signage.


Approved by: Sharon Estok