Sustainability Lesson 1 Population and Sustainability
Sustainability Lesson 1 Population and Sustainability


In the first lesson, students will compare and contrast different definitions of sustainability and will examine the relationship between population trends and sustainability. Concepts such as the ecological footprint and population dynamics will be discussed.

Relevant Learning Outcomes

1. Connect concepts from a variety of disciplines within the framework of sustainability. 

2. Make informed decisions about controversial issues involving sustainability.


Pre-Class Assignments

  • Students read the Bartlettor Diamond readings before class. If the class is longer than one hour, students can read parts of the reading in class for discussion.  For the Bartlett reading, students should also skim the biographical and publications information available on his website (see “Resources” below).

 Possible Classroom Activities

  • Sustainability Lesson 1 Hook (0) Task for students: In your own words, define “sustainability” or at least some of its key elements. If there is time, 1) ask students to compare with 2-3 neighbors and develop a common definition; and/or share/discuss as a class.
  • Sustainability Lesson 1 Lecture and Discussion on Population (0) Using lecture outline and PowerPoint slides, introduce students to the concepts of sustainability, globalization and population. Make the lecture interactive through questioning and analysis
  • Sustainability Lesson 1 Reading Discussion (0) One could shorten the lecture and use class time for a discussion of the main reading (Barlett, 1998). Please note that the Barlett article is rather long.
  • Sustainability Lesson 1 Conclusion (0) How could one elaborate on the 1987 UN Commission’s definition of sustainability? What elements would you add to reflect the diverse issues and interpretations revolving around this topic?


Optional Resources



Next: Sustainability Lesson 2 and 3 Natural Capital