Sustainability

With Essays #1 and #2 you demonstrated your ability to identify a sustainability problem and analyze the key components of a sustainability problem. With Poster #1 you demonstrated your ability to create a sustainable solution vision that envisions a future state where the problem you identified and analyzed in your previous essays is actually solved.

In Essay #3 you will build a sustainable solution strategy on how to transition from the problem to the vision. For this, you will use the strategy-building tool you learned in this course. Be aware that Essay #3 does NOT describe the vision (you have done this in Poster#1!) – you need to describe the strategy to achieve the vision. That means you need to describe all the main steps and actions that need to be taken to make the vision become a reality!

This essay will allow you to develop problem-solving skills for sustainability problems, and to gain hands-on experience by applying the knowledge acquired in this course.

Content and Structure

Your essay should apply the key concepts we have covered in this course. This part of the course familiarizes you with how to develop a problem solving strategy. The strategy outlines how to get from the current state (problem) to the vision (future state where the problem has been solved).

Your essay needs to be structured into the following eight parts! Describe and justify a strategy for how to achieve the sustainable solution vision by discussing:

  1. Point(s) of intervention: Points of intervention are elements in the problem constellation, for example motives or technologies, that are deliberately shifted to eventually reach the sustainability solution vision and solve the problem. What are specific points within the problem where you can implement change?
  2. Solution actions and their intermediate outcomes: A sustainability solution strategy spells out a sequence of actions that is assumed to lead from the problem to the envisioned sustainable future.
  3. Stakeholders and their roles for executing solution actions: A strategy spells out the specific roles of different stakeholders in the solution actions – in other words, this is about who is doing what and when.
  4. Resources for executing solution actions: Most of the solution actions planned for in the strategy require a certain type and amount of resources to be able to execute them. Resources include money (funds), material, and other physical goods, but also time, capacities, knowledge, authority, emotional energy, and social support networks.
  5. Available assets: Assets are preexisting resources that solution actions can make use of. They include, among others, land, infrastructure, organizations, regulations, financial resources, volunteers, capacity, knowledge, emotional energy, and social support networks.
  6. Barriers and coping tactics: A sustainability problem-solving initiative often faces several barriers, such as institutional inertia, unfavorable rules, protest, and counter-initiatives. Identification of barriers and how to overcome them is an important, yet often neglected component of sustainability solution strategies. Be sure to define the barriers AND how they will be overcome.
  7. Search for and provide evidence that it works: A key factor for building sound sustainability solution strategies is providing evidence of what works and what does not, in other words, what actions are most likely to reach the envisioned intermediate and ultimate targets and goals. You should provide real-world examples of similar strategies working elsewhere.
  8. Transition Management Curve: Include a one-page Transition Management Curve of the sustainability solution strategy that includes all of the above-mentioned components.

Formal Aspects

The essay must be written from a professional perspective for a general audience. You are expected to use credible sources to substantiate your ideas (Note: Wikipedia is not an acceptable source for thispurpose), and to fully reference those sources both in the text and reference section of the paper. Each essay should be typed, spell-checked, and no more than six pages long (five pages text plus conceptual model) single-spaced, size 12 font. Please refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA Manual) as your style guide.

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