Sustainability is a contested concept in today’s society. There are numerous definitions of ‘sustainability’
and ‘sustainable development’, while in public discourse the term ‘sustainable’ seems to be tacked onto
just about anything.
You are to write a short essay that explores and critiques the conception of sustainability in public
discourse, comparing this with the definitions and concepts introduced in this course and from various
credible sources. You should discuss whether the public discourse is assisting or impeding the
development of a sustainable society.
In order to limit the scope of your essay, you may wish to choose a particular sustainability issue.
Examples include climate change, population, coal and/or coal seam gas mining, freshwater supply, food
Public discourse is the sum of all public debate, from discussion on social media and around the backyard
barbecue, to coverage in mainstream media, to debates in parliament and other forums. You should
reference a number of sources of such debate, e.g. from social or mainstream media, Hansard,
advertisements, corporate plans, submissions to parliamentary enquiries etc. Such material may not
explicitly talk about sustainability, but the conception of sustainability is often implicit in the arguments or
proposals being put forward, or even in the language used. The majority of the sources of public debate
must be within the last two years.
The aims of this essay include testing your knowledge and skills in the following areas:
Sustainability Concepts and Issues
USQ TIME 9:57 pm Tue, 14 Jul 2015
Collecting and evaluating information by independent research
Understanding and identifying the relationships between theory, reading and practice
Relating individual issues and responses to themes and objectives of the course as a whole
Developing a coherent and well justified argument to support conclusions or recommendations.
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