Sustainability Blog

Sustainability Blog

Opinions expressed on this blog reflect the writer’s views and not the position of the Capgemini Group

An introduction to Sustainability and free education

Category : General

 Spotlighting a free Sustainability course with added value.

- By Annemiek Lauwerijssen, Capgemini Netherlands -

Capgemini Sustainability Blog: Home -

For the past two months I conducted a free online university course in Sustainability, offered by the University of Illinois. As this experience taught me a lot of the facts and dimensions of the sustainability debate, plus the fact that offering free uni courses online is a brilliant idea innovative idea to start with, I‘m taking this opportunity to enlighten you in the world of this fairly new website of Coursera and its interesting and free Sustainability courses, because I think it’s was great opportunity for me that needs sharing.

So, let’s start at the beginning… What is Basically it’s a website that partnered with top universities to offer online courses for anyone, for free. Their vision: “We envision a future where the top universities are educating not only thousands of students, but millions…Through this, we hope to give everyone access to the world-class education that has so far been available only to a select few…” (

And why am I promoting this on Capgemini’s global Sustainability blog? I thought this course was a great addition to my theoretical context and dimensions on the sustainability debate, it was doable to combine this with a full time work week. As this course is offered again starting January 14th, for 8 weeks, I want to take this moment to recommend it. This course offered in-depth knowledge on a wide range of topics, such as: Malthusian thinking, population growth curves, Tragedy of the Commons, Climate vs. Weather, Milankovitch cycles, greenhouse gases, Peak oil, fossil fuels, renewable energy, Genetically Modified crops, agricultural challenges, water, Pigovian tax and biodiversity.

Each week there are online lectures, articles and TedX movies available to study as input for the weekly quizzes. When passing these tests with a high average score you achieve a “Statement of Participation” with a quiz achievement badge. Other ways to pass courses are forum participation and projects. I can say that with my Msc degree, I think this course offered a lot more in-depth knowledge that I had anticipated. For all sustainability enthusiasts, these are the sustainability linked courses Coursera is offering in the near future

  1. Introduction to sustainability (start: January 14th) University of Illinois
             Introduction to the academic discipline of Sustainability
  1. Energy 101 (start: January 28th) Georgia Tech University
             The big picture of energy now and in the future
  1. Climate Literacy : Navigating Climate Converstations (start: May 2013) University of British Columbia
              The scientific and socio-cultural dimensions of climate change



Enjoy the sustainability studies! And if you want to know more about my learning experience, please do not hesitate to contact me: Annemiek Lauwerijssen ( Tel: +31615030338

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” (Mahatma Gandhi)


About the author

Esther van Bergen
Esther van Bergen
As IT Sustainability Strategy consultant Esther is currently a coordinator for Capgemini’s Green IT services and a core member of Capgemini’s Global Sustainability Network. She actively pursues cross-expertise collaboration and coordinates the Green IT Community of Practice (a variety of activities). In her roles Esther always considers the detail vs. the bigger picture and enjoys playing ‘devils advocate’ where needed. She believes communication is the make or break factor for success in IT, business and life in general. Her background and experience in Communications, Process Improvement, (IT) Governance and her broad and holistic understanding of sustainability is of added value to anything she undertakes. Esther has a clear vision about the role of sustainability, both now and in the future (such as use of technology in transformation to a Circular Economy and closed-loop processes, conservation efforts, Smart City concepts etc.). She is particularly enjoys working on strategic and innovative ideas that bring together people, process and technology to help realize tangible results for the both the organization, community and the environment (Triple Bottom Line).

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