Environmental Education and Sustainability I


This course aims to provide theoretical and practical knowledge on the dynamics and functioning of ecosystems, the importance of biodiversity, the problems and opportunities related to cities, contextualization of human influence in a territory where social responsibility and ethics are relevant to provide a higher quality of life within a framework of sustainable development.

At the end of this course the student will have acquired knowledge, skills and powers to:

- Understand and learn the key concepts and indicators related to the functioning of natural and humanized systems;

- Be able to contribute to the discussion of the importance of biodiversity and nature conservation for the planet, the importance of planning and land management from a perspective of individual and collective responsibility.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Francisco Manuel Freire Cardoso Ferreira


Weekly - 4

Total - 112

Teaching language





- Miller, G. and Sppolman, S., 2014. Living in the Environment, 18th Edition, Wadsworth Publishing Company, Belmont, 816 pp.

- Begon M, Colin R, Towsend J, Harper L. 2005. Ecology: From Individuals to Ecosystems. 4th Edition, 752 pp. Wiley-Blackwell

*Gaston, K.J., Spicer J. I. 2004. Biodiversity – An Introduction. Blackwell Pub. Co. ISBN 1-4051-1857

* Odum, E.P. e G.W. Barrett. 2005. Fundamentals of Ecology, 5th ed. Brooks/Cole, Belmont (Chapter 3 only): “Princípios e Conceitos Fundamentais Relacionados com a Energia”]

- The Sustainable Urban Development; Ed. Wheeler, S. and Beatley, T.; Urban Reader Series, Routledge, New York, 2004.

- Dobson, A. (2003) Citizenship and the Environment. Oxford University Press. Oxford, 132.

Teaching method

The teaching method is supported by lectures and practical classes. The teaching methods are mainly conducted to support several aspects: a) individual/group technical and scientific skills; b) debate skills and coherent analysis in the interpretation of the studied subjects. Classes are complemented with a tutorial system, using e-learning tools.

Evaluation method

Since the course is based in a tutorial evaluation, it is exclusively based in an extended individual homework.  

Subject matter

Basic concepts, characteristics and functioning of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The importance of biodiversity and the mechanisms for safeguarding the natural heritage at national, European and global levels. Pressures, impacts and degradation of natural systems. The nutrient, water and energy cycles.

The cities as generators of problems and solutions. Land-use manegement and the quality of life of populations.

Democracy and citizenship. Legal framework and new requirements. Active citizenship. Present situation and key concepts. Techniques and methodologies. Multigerational contexts as promoters of active citizenship in favor of sustainability.

The social and ethical responsibilities in the context of sustainable development.


Programs where the course is taught: