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Achieving Sustainability: potentials and barriers (IL012)

Taster session, recorded 4/6/2014


Sustainability is not merely an academic topic. It is an urgent matter that requires making personal and collective decisions about how we live.

Since 'sustainability' is used in so many ways, the module presents it from a variety of perspectives. We will address both the problem of defining sustainability and the challenges that need to be met in order to achieve it. This will require engaging with issues that could range over science, philosophy, law, political economics and other subjects. This is why an interdisciplinary approach is ideal. The aim is to make you aware of work outside your own subjects so you can develop your own views.


The module consists in nine two-hour sessions each of which will be presented by a lecturer coming from a different department. Lecturers will be free to structure the session as they wish but the underlying aim of making their topic accessible to undergraduates from any faculty. We hope to create opportunities for conversations between students and teachers who might not normally meet each other.

The topics covered will vary depending on who presents in a given year, but they're likely to include those below:

  1. The underlying causes of unsustainable lifestyles
  2. Problems of sustainability:
    - Land use and food security
    - Water shortages
    - Population growth
    - Consumerism
  3. Energy and fuels: what data is relevant? How best to evaluate it?
  4. The legal and political framework for achieving sustainability
  5. The role of actors and stakeholders such as individuals, states, corporations, NGOs, universities and schools
  6. The economics of sustainability
  7. Ecocriticism, literature, the arts and sustainability
  8. Justice, human rights and sustainability

If you have any questions, please email: j dot a dot pickering at warwick dot ac dot uk


Module convenor

John Pickering
Dr John Pickering

(J dot A dot Pickering at warwick dot ac dot uk)


This module will be run by Global Sustainable Development (GSD)
in 2018-19




For 15 CATS:

60% - examination (2 hours)
40% - essay (2500 words)

For 12 CATS:

60% - examination (2 hours)
40% - essay (2000 words)