Sustainability is all about the social, economic and environmental considerations we can make to ensure we create a future that works better for all of us. In this course learn how to map life cycles, how to calculate your ecological footprint, develop your ability to think critically about sustainability and bust through persistent eco-myths. Taught by a UNEP Champion of the Earth, this 5-part course will equip you to reframe sustainability, think critically about what it is and isn't, see past greenwashing, start thinking in systems, understand life cycles, and make more (truly) sustainable choices in your life and work.


  • Examine the historical and contemporary underpinnings of sustainability, as both a concept and a practice.

  • Delve into the product of pop culture’s greenwashing and how to: (a) see through it and (b) avoid accidentally doing it.

  • Engage in reflective thinking around environmental impacts and consequences, including understanding function and functional impacts, and learn life-cycle thinking and assessment methods.

  • Receive the methods for evaluating environmental and social impacts, including determining the ecological footprint.


Available for this course

Certificates are issued by the UnSchool (using third party certifier upon successful and demonstrable completion of all course elements. Accredible uses bank-level encryption and blockchain logging to ensure legitimacy and verification, and offers easy to share credentials that you can receive as a downloadable PDF, share on LinkedIn and other digital platforms. Accredible also allows you to control your own data via their credential portal, accessible for free when you receive any certificates or badges.
Sample of certificate of completion

Dr. Leyla Acaroglu


Sustainability provocateur, award-winning designer, 2016 UNEP Champion of the Earth, and creative changemaker pioneer, Dr. Leyla Acaroglu challenges people to think differently about how the world works. As the founder of the UnSchool and creator of the Disruptive Design Method, Leyla weaves together her skills as a designer, sociologist, and social entrepreneur to create highly immersive educative experiences. She is a renowned international expert on systems thinking and sustainability, running workshops around the world and designing activating experiences, gamified toolkits, and unique educational experiences that help equip people with the tools to intervene and change systems to make the status quo obsolete. Sought after for her unique approach to activating positive social change by design, Leyla's main-stage TED talk on sustainability has been viewed over a million times, and she is the author of several handbooks, as well as an op ed contributor for major publications like the New York Times.

Dr. Leyla Acaroglu

UnSchool Founder + Global Change Maker


  • 01


    • Welcome Message from Leyla

    • Welcome to the Sustainability Course!

    • About the UnSchool Courses

    • Brain warm-up

    • A quick note...before you start

  • 02

    Part 1: What is Sustainability?

    • Watch: Sustainability

    • Read: Overview of Sustainability

    • Video: What is sustainability?

    • Read: Climate Change

    • Watch: We all Need nature

    • Read: We all Need Nature

    • Read: Environmental Impacts

    • Read: The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals

    • Read: Ecological Footprints

    • Activity: Measure Your Ecological Footprint

    • Read: Biodiversity, Natural Capital & Eco-System Services

    • Read: Intrinsic Value

    • Read: Glossary of Key Sustainability Terms

    • Read: Impacts Over Times

    • Watch: The Anthropocene

    • Read: The Anthropocene and Planetary Boundaries

    • Activity: Behavior Over Time Graph Worksheet

    • Read: Transition to the Green Economy

    • Read: Doughnut Economics

    • Knowledge Check: Introduction to Sustainability

  • 03

    Part 2: Life Cycle Thinking

    • Read: Life Cycle Thinking

    • Video: Life Cycle Thinking

    • Read: Life Cycles Stages

    • How to do Life Cycle Thinking

    • Read: How to do a Life Cycle Map

    • Activity: Life Cycle Mapping Worksheet

    • Read: Tips for Developing a Life Cycle Approach

    • Knowledge Check: Life Cycle Thinking

  • 04

    Part 3: Thinking in Systems

    • Watch: Systems Thinking 101

    • Read: What is Systems Thinking?

    • Video: The Systems Perspective

    • Watch: Adopting a Systems Perspectives

    • Watch: Mindset shifts

    • Read: Systems Dynamics

    • Watch: Systems Dynamics

    • Read: The Circular Economy

    • Explore: The 3 Main Systems at Play

    • Activity: 3 Systems at Play Activity

    • Download: Systems at Play Worksheet

    • Knowledge Check: Thinking in Systems

  • 05

    Part 4: Busting Green Myths

    • Read: Introduction to Busting Green Myths

    • Watch: Busting Eco Myths

    • Watch: Greenwashing

    • Read: Greenwashing and Green Myths

    • Explore: Sins of Greenwashing

    • Watch: Material Myths

    • Activity: Bust An Eco Myth

    • Read: The Cycle of Disposability

    • Knowledge Check: Busting Green Myths

  • 06

    Part 5: Taking Action

    • Read: A Sustainable Future

    • Watch: Opportunities

    • Read: Climate Leadership

    • Read: About Green Jobs

    • Read: Activate your Anatomy of Action

    • Watch: The Anatomy of Action Videos

    • Activity: Anatomy of Action Challenge Worksheet

    • Read: Learning from Nature

    • Knowledge Check: Taking Action

  • 07


    • Read: Tying It All Together

    • Additional Resources & Links

    • Course Reflection

    • A message From Leyla

  • 08

    Completion Certificate

    • Sustainability Course Final Knowledge Check Quiz

    • Get your certificate of completion!

  • 09

    Next Steps

    • Continue Your Learning Journey!


“Being part of the UnSchool is not just about finding a connection with a global group of individuals eager to do good. It's about finding a way to activate your own agency, knowing that that's the only real way to change your world.”


“The content has given me a practical way to delve into complex problems, exploring thinking far beyond my normal lines of inquiry, and to surface new areas for intervention and innovative ways of designing those interventions. Everyone who is tackling systems should learn this. ”


“As someone operating in the nonprofit sphere, it was refreshing to branch out and learn a new way of thinking. I’m going to take this new learning to become an agent of cultural change in my circles.”


Social, Economic and Environmental Sustainability

Learn all about

In this knowledge session, we take a proper look at the concept of sustainability beyond environmental folklore, and lay the foundations for how you can make more informed environmentally and socially-responsible choices in both your personal and professional lives alike. 

We will explore how to integrate sustainability into decision-making and take a look at best-practice approaches to understanding its impact. Along the way we'll shatter some common “green” myths and further examine how sustainability relates to professional practice.

You will learn about how to initiate your decision-making process by considering consequences, especially around personal consumption (which is our biggest issue). 

When we make choices, we consider the potential impacts of our actions and, in this case, inaction. We can consider and design for a future that avoids the potential catastrophes of inaction, by designing solutions that respect the systems that sustain life, while meeting the needs of the human species. 

From there, taking a lifecycle approach will help overcome the simplistic thinking around sustainability that has caused many of the problems to begin with. Leyla weaves in fascinating examples of where good intentions have led to not-so-great outcomes, while providing you with practical tools that you can start to apply right after the session!


Course Access

  • Duration

    In this course, you have 180 days from the day of your sign up to access the content.

  • Renewal

    If you need more time to complete this course, we are happy to extend your access at no extra cost. Email us to extend for 3 months at a time.

  • T&C

    Please read the full terms and conditions here regarding purchases, refunds and access.