Sustainable Development Goals: People, Place, and Environment

Explore how local action is the key to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and why people's connections to place matter.


Key course information


Duration: 4 weeks

Weekly study: 3 hours

Sustainable Development Goals: People, Place, and Environment | Courses | The University of Waikato | Study With New Zealand Online

Examine SDGs in the context of the relationship between people and place

Global sustainability needs local action. On this four-week course, you’ll examine how thoughts and actions by individuals, groups and communities are fundamentally linked to global sustainable goals. You’ll be introduced to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and discover that when we focus on the everyday experiences of people, communities, and places, we can drive transformative change.

Drawing on the latest dynamic research in social and cultural geography, you’ll connect with current thinking on a range of topics such as food waste, disability, and permaculture. You’ll also identify the importance of indigenous knowledge, particularly via Te Ao Māori (Māori worldview) in relation to the SDGs. This knowledge will help you understand indigenous approaches to climate justice and how the SDGs link with people, place, and culture.

Discover how people create sustainable practices

You’ll explore a range of everyday places and spaces to explore why who we are – in terms of gender, ethnicity, indigeneity, class, sexuality, age, disability – impacts sustainable practices. This understanding will help you gain insights into the ways people and places are critical in achieving sustainable actions.

The course includes interviews with leading Māori scholars, environmentalists, scientists, institutional leaders, and students who are all working towards sustainable futures. You’ll also have the opportunity to engage with other learners to explore personal experiences. Guided by specialists from the University of Waikato, you’ll finish the course with an understanding of the many ways in which people, families, communities, and nations can work together towards sustainability.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Demonstrate knowledge of Sustainable Development Goals

  • Identify the importance of matāuranga Māori (Indigeneous knowledge) to SDGs

  • Demonstrate how the SDGs link with people, place and environment

  • Explain how SDGs work at different spatial scales

  • Assess the SDGs in a critical manner

  • Evaluate SDG projects and apply them to your local context

  • Engage with other learners to explore personal experience and apply these to SDGs

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in gaining a holistic understanding of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It will also be beneficial for organisations who wish to align their practices and actions with the SDGs.