Write a formal report to an organisation about the implications of a major sustainability issues for them and their stakeholders. This report is somewhat inspired by the adage “think globally, act locally”. The fact is that everyone will be affected by major sustainability issues in the coming decades. Every business, council and community group will need to consider the implications for their organisation and how they should respond. But unfortunately many organisations have limited knowledge of these issues and so the first purpose of the report is to inform the organisation about the issue – globally, nationally and locally. The second purpose is to identify implications for the organisation and possible responses.
You should first choose an organisation for which you are writing the report. This must be a real organisation, even though the request for the report is hypothetical. Possible types of organisations include community based organisations, local councils, government departments, businesses, corporations and industry lobby groups. You may choose an organisation with which you are currently associated, perhaps your employer. To some extent the choice of organisation is not critical since every organisation will be impacted in some way, but you should choose an organisation with which you either have some familiarity or for which there is adequate information available regarding their activities. You do not need to contact or visit the organisation provided that you have sufficient information about their activities.
You must then choose one major sustainability issue from the following list:
Population, carrying capacity and food
Peak oil (or peak fossil fuels)
Limits to growth (focusing on economic disruption)
If you wish to consider a different sustainability issue or a variation from those listed above, please contact the course leader.
You must provide a description and discussion of the chosen issue including the underlying driving factors. You should discuss the likely impacts and societal responses, with a minimum time horizon of 20 years. Your discussions should provide perspectives from the global, national and local levels. Remember that your target audience is the chosen organisation and so this section must be written in appropriate (largely non-technical) language but supported by credible references.
You must then focus on the local implications of this issue, in order to identify risks and opportunities for the chosen organisation over a similar time-frame. For example, a business may not be able to continue some activities or products, but on the other hand, there may be opportunities for different approaches. Similarly, a community organisation may need to adapt its programs to meet different kinds of local needs in the future.
Your report must make at least seven clear recommendations for action by the organisation, with at least two in each of three time frames (short term – 1 to 5 years, medium term – 5 to 10 years, and long term – beyond 10 years). Recommendations might concern changes to the organisation’s activities, including particular projects or campaigns that it should undertake, changes to operations etc. Short term recommendations are likely to be fairly specific whereas long term recommendations are likely to be quite general.
The aims of this report include testing your knowledge and skills in the following areas:
Collecting information by independent observation and research
Using evidence to support your descriptions and analysis
Understanding and identifying the relationships between theory, reading and practice
Relating individual circumstances to themes and objectives of the course as a whole
Organising diverse data and analysis into a coherent report.
All modules should be studied prior to completing this assessment. In particular, modules 3 and 4 provide important theoretical material, modules 8 and 11 provide material regarding potential responses, and module 12 provides some perspectives on the future. Note also the following regarding specific topics:
Population, carrying capacity and food begins in module 2, with Australian perspectives covered in module 5 and global issues in module 7
Climate change is primarily covered in module 6
Peak oil (or peak fossil fuels) is primarily covered in module 7, with some relevant material in module 9
Limits to growth begins in module 2, has some coverage in modules 7 and 9 and more in module 10.
In each case you should carefully examine the Recommended and Additional Resources sections of the relevant modules in order to identify potentially useful sources for your report. Remember that you must not reference the module eBooks but you may find the references very useful.