Learn about Sustainability: Courses Every Aspiring “Green Entrepreneur” Should Take

Many budding entrepreneurs know that establishing and operating an eco-friendly business and work environment is needed to help sustain the planet. But aside from recycling waste products and turning off appliances when not in use, many entrepreneurs don’t really know where or how to start creating a true green business—and there is far more to having a green business than recycling paper. While technically you don’t need a college degree to become an entrepreneur, taking some formal college classes on sustainability can in fact teach you not only how to develop green business practices but why conserving the planet’s natural resources is truly important. And as studies argue, the more someone has more formal knowledge about sustainability, the more likely that person is to practice green living in both their personal and professional lives. With that said, below are some courses that entrepreneurs can take to expand their education on the subject as well as some links to some free online courses.

Introduction to Environmental Science

An introduction to environmental science course won’t teach you the step-by-step directions on how to run a green business, but it will help lay the foundational frame work for an entrepreneur to understand the importance of maintaining a green lifestyle. This is because this course is designed to teach students about the Earth’s resources, including its current condition, the changes the Earth has endured over the years (such as climate change) and the ultimate consequences the human population will face if we do not collectively put an effort to sustain the planet. While the following open courses cannot be claimed for official college credit, they can help entrepreneurs grasp the concept of environmental science a little bit better:

Introduction to Energy Systems

An introduction to energy systems is an excellent course for aspiring green entrepreneurs to take since they are designed to teach students all about renewable and solar energy, including the importance of energy conservation. In addition to teaching students all about a variety of energy-efficient practices and applications such as installing solar paneling, the course typically also compares and contrasts energy usages of different countries around the world. While the course will undoubtedly cover a broad range of topics, students will be left with the knowledge needed to convert the workplace into a green environment. Like mentioned before, the following courses cannot be claimed for college credit and thus cannot be counted towards a degree, but they can help you begin to understand the different uses of energy systems.

Eco-Building Design

Eco-building design courses are exceptionally useful to entrepreneurs who are creating an office building completely from scratch. Eco-building design courses are constructed to teach students how and when to use sustainable building materials in order to build an eco-friendly office and save money in the process. Course topics also typically include climate and air quality control systems and usually discuss energy systems as well. With that said, the following open courses are designed to teach students how to successfully utilize design to create a sustainable workplace.

Author Bio:

Donna Reish, a freelancer who blogs about best universities, contributed this guest post.  She loves to write education, career, frugal living, finance, health, parenting relating articles. She can be reached via email at: donna.reish13@gmail.com.

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  1. Jacques says:

    Check out these ones:
    – Gaia University: http://www.gaiauniversity.org/
    – The Gaia Education Design for Sustainability: http://www.gaiaeducation.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50&Itemid=68
    – The renown courses by Findhorn http://www.findhorn.org/workshops/c/53/

  2. Thanks Donna. In addition to the above resources (I’m very involved with Gaia Education), I’d also recommend checking out the non-profit I direct, Living Routes (http://www.LivingRoutes.org), which partners with the University of Massachusetts – Amherst to offer college-level study abroad programs based in “ecovillages” around the world.

    Also, while the courses you outline are certainly essential, I would like to suggest that they are not sufficient. Yes, we absolutely need to increase future leaders “formal knowledge” about environmental science, clean energy, green building, etc. But I believe we also need to subsume these efforts within a larger understanding of how this all fits together. So, I would add to your list, courses on systems theory, philosophy of science, even something about cultural deconstruction. We are living at a unique time in planetary history when we need to shift our fundamental “stories” of who we are and how we live in relationship with each other and the planet. If we can do that, then I suspect all of our actions will naturally become more sustainable.

    If you’re interested, I wrote more about this in a blog entry I wrote called, “The ‘What’ vs. the ‘Why” of sustainability.” (http://blogs.livingroutes.org/sustainabilityeducation/2010/11/10/the-“what”-vs-the-“why”-of-sustainability/)

    Thanks again for your good work.

    In community,
    – Daniel

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