Create a systems map of a sustainability issue. Assignment: Choose a sustainability issue.
Create a systems map of the issue that identifies the elements, interactions, feedback loops, leverage points, and the purpose or function of the system. Specifications:
a minimum of 5 elements
a minimum of 6 interconnections
explanation of the interconnections between a minimum of 3 elements (remember the interconnections are labeled with the relationship not the consequences, you can describe the consequences in your explanation)
a minimum of 2 feedback loops and feedback loop must be identified as reinforcing or balancing and you need to explain your reasoning
a minimum of 1 leverage point is identified and explained
description of the purpose or function of the system
Well almost anything.
But sustainability is essentially a human concept. It wasn’t an issue before humans started impacting the planet and each other on a large scale.
Because sustainability is so broad almost anything can be considered a sustainability issue.
Sustainability is fundamentally about human interactions and impacts on the environment and on each other – environmental and social issues.
Economics is traditionally added as a third pillar of sustainability – but others see it simply as a form of social issue.
For millennia we have used the world’s natural resources to sustain us but it’s only logical that these resources are finite. Scarcity can lead to price rises, hardship and conflict. It also leads to increased efforts to find new resources, often with further or different consequences.
Our increasing and inefficient use of resources has knock-on effects including climate change, loss of biodiversity, pollution, poor health and poverty. These issues are interlinked and in turn often exacerbate each other.
The scale of the environmental/social challenge is enormous. We need to fundamentally change the ways things are done to achieve sustainable development. This will need to go beyond resource efficiency to changing the way things are used and made including; cradle-to-cradle processes, dematerialisation and moving from products to services etc. Sometimes people need help and that’s where sustainability consulting services like ours come in.