Sustainability of Social-Ecological Systems: the Nexus between Water, Energy and Food

13 December 2021
Online Course

In July 2017, the UAB team launched the MOOC Sustainability of Social-Ecological Systems: the Nexus between Water, Energy and Food on the platform Coursera. The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is open to the public and, apart from an optional Coursera certificate, free of charge.

The course is offered at 8-weekly intervals. Upcoming start dates:

  • 13 December 2021 – 14 February 2022 (enrollment open)
  • 7 February 2022 – 11 April 2022 (enrollment starts 18 December 2021)
  • 4 April – 6 June 2022 (enrollment starts 12 February 2022)
  • 30 May – 1 August 2022 (enrollment starts 9 April 2022)
  • 25 July – 26 September 2022
  • 19 September – 21 November 2022

For a quick taste of course contents, please see our promo video.

About this course:

In this course you will become familiar with the ideas of the water-energy-food nexus and transdisciplinary thinking. You will learn to see your community or country as a complex social-ecological system and to describe its water, energy and food metabolism in the form of a pattern, as well as to map the categories of social actors. We will provide you with the tools to measure the nexus elements and to analyze them in a coherent way across scales and dimensions of analysis. In this way, your quantitative analysis will become useful for informed decision-making. You will be able to detect and quantify dependence on non-renewable resources and externalization of environmental problems to other societies and ecosystems (a popular ‘solution’ in the western world). Practical case studies, from both developed and developing countries, will help you evaluate the state-of-play of a given community or country and to evaluate possible solutions. Last but not least, you will learn to see pressing social-ecological issues, such as energy poverty, water scarcity and inequity, from a radically different perspective, and to question everything you’ve been told so far.

Who is this class for:

The course is directed toward upper-division undergraduate and graduate students from a wide variety of disciplines (environmental sciences, engineering, agricultural sciences, social sciences) as well as professionals (NGOs, think tanks) and policy makers concerned with sustainable development in both developed and developing countries.

Level Intermediate
Commitment 4-6 hours/week
Language English
Hardware Req No extra hardware would be required.
How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course.


More information and enrollment:


Online Course

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