The Modules

Module 1: Framing the Journey: Capitalism, Planetary Limits and the Making of New Commons
Module 2: Stewarding Land and Resources for the Common Good
Module 3: Towards Ecologically Resilient and Just Food Systems
Module 4: Forging Pathways to Energy Democracy and Just Transition
Module 5: Precarious Livelihoods: Pathways from Precarity to Solidarity
Module 6: Broadening and Democratizing Care: From Welfare State to Partner State to Earthcare
Module 7: Democratizing Money and Finance for the Great Transition
Module 8: Constructing your Synthesis: Purpose, Priorities, and Pathways (optional)

Module 1: Framing the Journey: Capitalism, Planetary Limits and the Making of New Commons

The ideology of endless growth, consumption, and ‘free’ markets are driving climate, environmental, social, and economic breakdown. Yet at the same time changemakers are forging new pathways for change and expanding the reach of solutions. Module 1 frames the learning journey ahead, and raises some key climate, energy and justice challenges for changemakers.

By the end of this first module, you will be able to:

  • explain the key concepts of neoliberalism, commons, doughnut economics, planetary limits and basic needs,
  • identify key climate change and energy realities in 2023
  • apply basic concepts related to environmental and social sustainability transitions: climate and ecosystem breakdown, mitigation and adaptation, system contraction, energy descent
  • explain climate justice and just transition and the importance of intersectional and anti-oppressive lenses
  • explain the importance of grassroots organizing, economic democracy and the social and solidarity economy to transition thinking and climate change politics, and
  • recognize blind spots and tunnel vision in your own thinking
  • begin to exchange ideas with peers doing similar work worldwide

Module 2: Stewarding Land and Resources for the Common Good


Land, water, and air – how are these commons being reclaimed for the common good? Alternative ways of owning and governing land are central to innovations – large and small – for achieving affordable shelter, clean water, transition to organic agriculture, the restoration of desecrated areas, and climate adaptation. As a result, both poverty and carbon emissions have been radically reduced.

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • describe the dynamics of land grabbing and accumulation by dispossession in the 21st century,
  • explain the multi-level perspective of systemic change and apply the MLP framework to Barcelona’s new affordable housing policy
  • describe alternative property rights models and measures, their community, social and ecological benefits, and the challenges of social justice associated with these models,
  • explain with examples the importance of land tenure to ecological restoration and to reducing and sequestering GHG emissions
  • relate the Just Transition framework to land tenure

Module 3: Towards Ecologically Resilient and Just Food Systems

This module explores models, strategies, and popular movements that resist corporate, chemical, and commodity-based agriculture while cultivating regenerative and resilient food systems, and making food security strategic to climate adaptation.

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • identify and summarize the main features of industrial export-oriented agribusiness, its actors, assumptions, interests and the power relations driving corporate agendas to commodify and privatize entire food systems,
  • describe the main features of social movements that link agroecology and food sovereignty to nutrition and livelihood security, community resilience, ecological health and GHG reduction,
  • outline an array of models, practices and strategies that target more just and ecologically-sound food systems such as food security and food sovereignty,
  • analyze with examples the key factors of a niche food system strategy and the challenges it is facing.
  • Apply the MLP to various food system innovations

Module 4: Forging Pathways to Energy Democracy and Just Transition

Is it possible to wrest control from the energy giants? This module says, “yes” – but it won’t happen without organizing and advocating for policies that make it possible. In particular realistic policies focused on supporting community energy generation alongside energy descent, and climate justice.

  • clarify the role of community leadership in system transition:
    • animating and educating the broader community

    • building the base for advocating policy changes

    • forming alliances with other networks and institutions as part of the political struggle to democratize ownership of energy supply and achieve broader systemic change,
  • identify the social and ecological costs of the transition to renewables,
  • describe the factors that obstruct the transition away from fossil fuels, explain the importance of resistance, and
  • identify the purposes of the energy sector, the challenges of electrifying the current energy regime, and key technologies that can enable decentralization, local ownership, and the possibility of community mobilization around clean energy, and
  • explain energy democracy and how it can help to ensure that the social impacts of energy transitions are effective as well as just.
  • Explore energy rationing as a policy option

Module 5: Precarious Livelihoods: Pathways from Precarity to Solidarity

Job precarity is being challenged by solidarity-based solutions that range from democratic ownership to such major policy initiatives as Universal Basic Income. This module introduces systemic approaches to meeting the challenge of livelihood in an age of job precarity, just transition in the energy sector, and climate disruption.

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • explain key causes of precarity and the changing nature of work
  • describe innovations and movements designed to reduce precarity of work through alternatives based on solidarity, democratic ownership and collaborative, place-based strategies
  • critically analyze landscape-level factors that are driving change and how they affect major policy debates concerning job security, basic income and fundamental human rights

Module 6: Broadening and Democratizing Care: From Welfare State to Partner State to Earthcare

Can rule-based, top-down, bureaucratic systems of social care be transformed? This module demonstrates that local, multi-stakeholder, democratic social care models can radically improve the quality of care while reducing costs. Further, it explains the importance of a partner state that enable systemic change and explores feminist and commoning perspectives on community care and earthcare.

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • describe the evolution of the Welfare State
  • explain care and its connection to democracy and political struggle, and the current threat that neo-liberal ideas and policies pose to social protection
  • describe social care and explain how co-operative, feminist and mutual forms of organization are reshaping its quality and meaning to provide social and ecological benefits,
  • describe and analyze the strategic connection between care, the reform of the state, and the politics of systems change from the viewpoints of climate adaptation, democratic governance, the partner state and the common good.

Module 7: Democratizing Money and Finance for the Great Transition

It’s time to demystify the world of money creation – to recognize how debt-free money was created in the past to address enormous challenges, and why it is crucial to do so again. This module also introduces a series of practical financing alternatives and their positive social and economic impacts. It engages how we finance energy descent, degrowth, climate justice and the green new deal.

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • explain key problems embedded in the current global financial system, in particular how it creates money now and differently in the past, and how energy and money relate to overconsumption
  • outline major options in monetary policy in relation to financing a Green New Deal and other transition innovations
  • explain a variety of financing practices and models that meet basic needs in ways that strengthen community and regional resilience and promote systems change

Module 8: Constructing your Synthesis: Purpose, Priorities, and Pathways (optional)

This is an opportunity for you and other MOOC participants to review what you have learned and to synthesize the implications for your own priorities and their contribution to transition work in these perilous times.