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Undergraduate course

UN Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on land

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeSDG215
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

ECTS Credits

10 ECTS

Level of Study

Bachelor level

Teaching semester

Spring

This course has a limited capacity, enrolment is based on application. Application deadline is Thursday in week 2 for the spring semester. Please see this page for more information: https://www.uib.no/en/matnat/53431/admission-courses-limited-capacity

Objectives and Content

In 2015 the United Nations adopted 17 interconnected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) addressing the global challenges of poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace, and justice. The goals are to be achieved by 2030. In order to realize this, we urgently need to act and to engage the younger generations.

This course focuses specifically on SDG 15: Life on land. SDG 15 aims to "Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss". It has 12 specified targets related to how to preserve and sustainably use the Earth¿s terrestrial species and ecosystems.

Human influence on the natural processes of the planet has been so massive in the last 200 years that the Holocene epoch in the time after the last glaciation has ended and we now live in the Anthropocene era, with mass eradication of animal species, climate change and physical changes in the Earth's surface. Thus, humans have transformed their natural environment over thousands of years by cultivating the soil and dominating plants and animals. The course discusses the human influence on these processes, and the possible solutions needed for a green change and a sustainable development. Resilience and sustainability in social-ecological systems are key concepts in the subject. The course focuses on clearly defining the SDG challenges, rather than giving the students complete solutions.

Sustainable development is a theme that concerns all students, and the course is therefore open to all. The teacher will use active learning methods, and the students will play key roles in discussing the opportunities and challenges pertaining to SDG 15.

Through active learning, the student learns about SDG 15 and its targets and indicators, their scientific basis, and their interrelatedness to the other SDGs. The students will train in:

i) finding, using, and evaluating international reports, governmental white papers, and scientific literature relevant to SDG 15;

ii) identifying different stakeholders and their motivations;

iii) composing and using scientifically sound arguments when debating SDG 15;

iv) separating science from values and ideologies in own arguments and those of others;

v) creating and presenting a poster in the course final symposium.

The student will also get a basic understanding of the properties (physical, ecological, environmental, climate change) of terrestrial systems that contribute to making the challenges under SDG 15 global, and the key governmental and intergovernmental arenas for decision-making relevant to SDG 15.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge

Upon completion of the course, a student should be able to:

  • Identify the main processes that contribute to the challenges faced by life on land (SDG 15).
  • Describe the SDG 15 targets, indicators and central trade-offs among them and in relation to other SDGs.
  • Explain the history and outlines of the most important international agreements and conventions relevant for SDG 15.
  • Identify the key governmental and intergovernmental arenas for decision-making relevant for SDG 15.

Skills

Upon completion of the course, a student should be able to:

  • Describe the main challenges for life on land grounded in evidence-based knowledge.
  • Analyse and interrelate SDG 15 targets in light of the other SDG targets.
  • Identify different stakeholders and recognise their motivations.
  • Evaluate existing research and identify research needs related to SDG 15.
  • Master different types of presentation techniques , e.g. poster and essay.

General competence

Upon completion of the course, a student should be able to:

  • Find, navigate, and make connections between scientific literature and the literature of reports, conventions, and policy documents.
  • Compose and use scientifically grounded arguments for relevant societal debates, both orally and in writing, individually and in groups.
  • Provide constructive peer feedback, based on critical and solution oriented views.
  • Identify and separate between scientific knowledge, values, and ideologies.

Required Previous Knowledge

None.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

Fundamental ecological understanding (e.g. ecological subjects in the bachelor program: BIO102, BIO201, MNF115).

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

None.

Access to the Course

The course is open to all students at University of Bergen.

Teaching and learning methods

This course is mainly based on active learning methods, where the students play a key role in their learning. Student will work in groups, with individual assignments and group assignments, including:

  • individual essays
  • group presentations
  • peer reviews of their fellow students assignments
  • preparing for and performing a debate
  • preparing a poster and presenting it at a course conference

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

  • Mandatory attendance at the first lecture.
  • Compulsory participation on project groups / excursions to Lygra and Mongstad.
  • Approved compulsory assignments. Everybody needs to hand in assignments number 1 and number 9, pluss four of the other assignments (6 out of 9 in total). This means you can only miss three of the assignments between number 1 and number 9. Each assignment gets awarded points (0-14 p.), poster/paper at the end counts maximum 30 points. Maximum obtained points: 14 points x 5 assignments + 30 points for poster/paper = 100 points.

Approved compulsory activities are valid for 2 semesters, including the semester of completion.

Forms of Assessment

Portfolio assessment consisting of:

  • Written assignments, individually and in groups
  • Presentations
  • Poster and essay presented at the final course symposium

Examination Support Material

None.

Grading Scale

Pass/Fail.

Course Evaluation

The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality control system at UiB and the department.

Course Coordinator

Contact information for the course coordinator is available at MittUiB, alternatively contact the student advisor.

Contact

Contact Information

Contact the Study Section at the Department of Biological Sciences: studie@bio.uib.no