If you’re looking to take your eco-education a step beyond eco-friendly influencers, sustainable TikToks or climate change podcasts, an online class might be right for you. Consider taking one of these free online sustainability courses to level up your knowledge. From food to fashion to plant parents, there’s an eco course out there for just about everyone!
1. Future Food: Sustainable Food Systems for the 21st Century
Best For: Those interested in food justice and veganism | Total Time: ~12 hours
This Future Learn course covers how the food system has evolved in the face of climate change and an ever-growing world population. You’ll explore challenges of the global food supply and then identify potential solutions. These include new technologies and strategies for empowering farm owners. Additionally, you’ll discover dietary changes you can make on a small scale that will benefit the health of you and the planet. Bonus! If you’re looking to go vegan check out this course from Nutritiously that walks you through the transition.
2. Can Renewable Energy Sources Power the World?
Best for: Those interested in renewable energy | Total Time: 24 Hours
This course was curated by OpenLearn, a free learning platform developed by The Open University (OU). OU offers a variety of paid certificates and diplomas, which are fully accredited and widely recognized by top employers, making it’s free platform a great starting point for anyone interested in dipping their toes into sustainability (or pretty much any other topic out there). The course begins with an introduction to the environmental concerns surrounding energy sources. It then goes on to discuss the renewable technologies that could provide the solutions. You’ll do a deep dive on each of these technologies and wrap up by analyzing several scenarios in which multiple renewable sources are leveraged to meet the global energy demand.
3. Introduction to Environmental Sustainability
Best For: Sustainable living beginners | Total Time: 3 Hours
If you landed on my blog because your mom or sister or best friend or Susan from work keeps telling you to recycle and you’re wondering what the big deal is, this is the course for you. This quick 2-3 hour lesson from Alison covers the basics of environmental sustainability. You’ll explore how human actions affect the planet and what steps you can take to reduce your ecological footprint. The free online course touches on a variety of topics including energy efficiency, recycling, composting, transportation and even the issue of child labor caused by globalization. You’re sure to walk away with a great basis for eco-friendly living. If you want to get a head start check out these sustainable swaps you can make right now!
4. New Models of Business in Society
Best for: The Eco-entreprenuer | Total Time: 4 Hours
For those who fancy owning their own business, this quick 4 hour power course is a great resource. It was developed for Coursera by the University of Virginia and focuses on the importance of corporate responsibility & philanthropy in business today. You’ll learn about new business models that are more conducive to society’s focus on environmentalism and ethical practices. You’ll also explore how to develop a business idea that is both profitable and planet-friendly.
5. The Health Effects of Climate Change
Best For: Those interested in the connection between climate change and human health on a large and small scale | Total Time: ~28 Hours
This free online course was created for EdX with support from the Harvard Global Health Institute. The course starts with a quick overview of what causes climate change and how greenhouse gas emissions affect global temperatures. Next, it dives into how these factors impact not just public health, but your own daily life. The course explores research methods used in the industry and how to identify relevant data (for our analysis-driven folks). Most importantly though, you’ll hear experts’ recommendations on how to respond to this global crisis, which impacts everything from nutrition & crops, to human migration & infectious diseases.
6. Plants at Home: Uplift Your Spirit & Your Space
Best For: Houseplant Enthusiasts | Total Time: ~50 Minutes
This course is led by the fabulous @plantkween, Christopher Griffin. In this class they take you through the steps to build your own house plant heaven. They help you determine your ideal plant based on your living space and lifestyle, while also teaching you how to curate a home environment in which your plant can thrive. You’ll also learn how to interpret your plant’s behavior and troubleshoot common issues such as root rot or dying leaves. All of this is intertwined with anecdotes about Christopher’s own personal plant journey. They talk plant fails and tips for budget-conscious plant-parents. The class is on skillshare, which is not free, but you can start out with a 7-day free trial and at 50 minutes, you can certainly complete this class before your trial is up!
7. Fashion and Sustainability: Understanding Luxury Fashion in a Changing World
Best For: The Eco-Fashionista | Total
Time: 18 Hours
This course was developed for Future Learn by the London College of Fashion, one of the world’s leaders in fashion design, media and business education. It is perfect for anyone who works in fashion, or is just a sustainable fashion enthusiast. The course covers topics such as the importance of eco-friendly practices in the industry, sourcing of sustainable materials and the issues associated with luxury fashion production and consumption. By the end you’ll be able to develop innovative solutions to some of fashion’s most pressing ecological problems, debate current and emerging eco-design and business strategies and discuss the complexity of the luxury fashion supply chain. It’s not open for enrollment right now, but you can sign up to be notified when it resumes! For more on eco-friendly fashion make sure to check out the fashion section of my blog!