MOOC @ Bath : Sustainability for Professionals : Week 1&2 reflection

I’m trying to become a “Sustainability Expert”, whatever that may be, because I think that’s the person in me that is screaming to me to look for work that will truly fulfill me.

At the end 2013 I discovered MOOC’ing and searched for “Sustainability”. Currently I do “Sustainable Development” from prof. Sachs at Columbia. This course is very thorough on global sustainability issues and focusses on the 8 UN millennium goals. I discover (the course still runs) that this is not the type of sustainability that I want to become expert in. Because the other MOOC I was doing (Exeter, Climate Change) was finished (very interesting course it was), I did a narrower search and came across the University of Bath MOOC on Sustainability for Professionals. Because I am not yet working in the field I thought that it may be a bit to technical/abstract for me, but….. it isn’t!! I really enjoy it, so here are my reflections so far.

Week 1 : the triple bottom line
People, planet & profit were not new of course, the translation to the triple bottom line “economic, social and environmental IMPACT” was.
The rest of week one got me confused, because it was all about MY needs, interpretation of definitions and so forth. I was hoping so much that I would get concrete definitions and methods / heuristics to define sustainable or unsustainable behavior. Well that was of course to easy 🙂

Than I came across this blogpost (highly recommended) from Eleonora Nieuwjaar who is a PPP-philosopher I shall call here. She first proposes a set of moral values that together form a Moral Compass to guide you through your life. This way of thinking was WAY outside my world until recently but trying to create a holistic view of what sustainability actually means for ME this is exactly what I see in front of me: Sustainability is first of all a Moral Compass.

My actions are in line with my Moral Compass (“just”) when they are:
20140329-082354.jpg

When looking at sustainability in this way (with a moral compass in hand) it suddenly becomes a lot easier to think about “needs” of companies and governments. OK, so that helped me get through week 1.

Than week 2.
“Choices, attitudes and social position” in relationship to sustainability. Without my insights of week 1 this would have been a tough one, but reading the other students comments got me in the flow again. And than we get to Dr Steve Cayzer (former HP, that is motivating!) who talks about drivers for sustainability in corporations:
– costs
– risks
– opportunities
And about
– constraints that stand in the way of sustainability changes

That was all very interesting, giving a basis for a framework to discuss sustainability issues. It’s also very interesting to see al the different viewpoints from people who are already active in the field, I have the feeling that I could have professional discussions with these kind of people, so I am right on track. Hope you all enjoy the weekend and meet you next week @ futurelearn,

Bye for now, Lars >