Book

Coursera course

Replaced by edX course ““Philosophy and Critical Thinking”, link: https://www.edx.org/course/philosophy-critical-thinking-uqx-meta101x-0.

Course results:

Module 1 key concepts: Cogency, Premise, Soundness, Argument, Validity, Inferring, Propositions, Epistemology, Justification, JTB theory of knowledge, Foundationalism, Coherentism, Counterexample, Externalism, Reliabilism, Empiricism, Scepticism.

Module 2 key concepts:Conditional, Antecedent, Consequent, Necessary & Sufficient Condition, Composition, Division, Indubitability, Dualism, Behaviorism, Eliminativism, Epiphenomenalism, Functianalism, Materialism, Physicalism, Intentionality, Reductionism, A Posteriori, A Priori, Four Dimensionalism, Temporal & Spatial Parts, Fisson.

Module 3 key concepts: Deduction, Induction, Generalisation, Analogy, Idealism, Realism, Ontolofy, Instrumentalism, Correlation.

Module 4 key concepts: Intersubjectivity, Cognitive Bias, Logical Fallacy, Rationalism.

Articles

  • Arthur Lyon Dahl. Achievements and gaps in indicators for sustainability. International Environment Forum, 12B Chemin de Maisonneuve, CH-1219 Chatelaine, Geneva, Switzerland. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2011.04.032

In this article author performs a review of environmental assessments and sustainability indicators applied on a national level. Also, future challenges such as finding indicators of change in dynamic systems, establishing sustainability targets towards which national progress can be measured, and developing global level indicators of planetary sustainability are took into consideration.

  • Bridging the Gaps Between Theory and Practice: a Service Niche Approach to Urban Sustainability Indicators. James Keirstead and Matt Leach. Sustainable Development. 16, 329–340 (2008). DOI: 10.1002/sd.349

Authors claim that an examination of London’s USIs confirms the gap between theory and practice and identifies vague definitions of urban sustainability as part of the problem. Therefore, a ‘service niche’ approach to indicator selection is outlined, using pervasive goal-oriented urban services such as energy or water systems to guide the selection of policy-relevant interconnected metrics.

  • Sustainability Indicators: A Scientific Assessment. Tomas Hak, Bedrich Moldan, Arthur Lyon Dal. SCOPE, 2007.

In this book authors gave a review of different types of sustainability indicators (headline indicators, aggregated indicators, etc.). Then, he SCOPE/UNEP project is described. All the information in the book is divided into three working groups: conceptual challenges, methodological frontiers and policy relevance.

  • How to understand and measure environmental sustainability: Indicators and targets. Bedrich Moldan, Svatava Janouskova, Tomas Hak. Ecological Indicators, Volume 17, June 2012, Pages 4–13. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2011.04.033

This paper analyses the different approaches and types of indicators developed which are used for the assessment of environmental sustainability. As one of the suggested approaches, authors are setting targets and then they are “measuring” the distance to a target to get the appropriate information on the current state or trend.

  • Sustainability online courses

I found a list of online courses that might be interesting both for the “beginners” and “professionals” in the sustainability field.

  1. Learning for sustainability: Developing a personal ethic: https://www.coursera.org/course/sustainability (they also provide a certificate)
  2. Introduction to Sustainable Development: https://www.coursera.org/learn/sustainabledevelopment1 (short version of the other course “The Age of Sustainable Development”)
  3. New Models of Business in Society: https://www.coursera.org/learn/businessinsociety

Individual task after the first seminar

Based on the e-newslatter by Acciona (a Spanish conglomerate group dedicated to the development and management of infrastructure and renewable energy).

  1. Save at home
  • Close the water tap when you brush your teeth, shave or wash your hand (Brushing spends between 10 and 20 liters).
  • Take a shower instead of a bath (The open tap spends 20 loters per minute).
  • Use the dishwasher and the washing machine fully loaded.
  • Water the plants at night (During night, less heat means less evaporation rate).
  1. Save at work
  • Share your car with a colleague (CO2 emissions and fuel copnsumption is reduces by half).
  • If you work with a laptop do not have the charger permanently plugged.
  • When you need to print, do it on both sides (Around 12,000 folios are obtained from a tree. Thus, up to 24,000 could be used).
  1. Save at school or university
  • Exchange your textbooks with peers from previous years (Maney saving is significant and avoids paper production and logging).
  • The newsletter or newspaper class, better off on-line or a single copy in the board.
  • Donate books that you don’t use at home to the library.
  • Change mailshot paper by email or other instant messaging app (Use instant messaging to reach out to parents and students important information without paper).
  1. Save on holiday
  • If your hotel has buffet, fill a little bit your plate and fill it again later if you want more.
  • If you decide to travel by car, load it as little as possible.
  • Think about traveling as a volunteer.
  • If you are in a hotel for a short stay use the same towel everyday.
  1. Save in your daily life
  • Use your Smartphone to store tickets and boarding passes.
  • Reject the paper receipt when you pay with your credit card.
  • Move on to e-invoicing on the electricity, gas, water, telephone and ADSL companies.
  • Get used to take a shopping cart to the supermarket (less plastic bags are consumed).

Group task after the second seminar

Radar chart for Sustainability Analysis: https://greenitindicators.herokuapp.com/

Individual task after the third seminar

Test case: Waste Management in Smart Cities

The idea is to have garbage cans equipped with the sensors that will measure the amount of garbage inside the can. When the trash is needed to be emptied, the sensor will send a signal to the system which is integrated with the trucks operating system, so the nearest truck will empty this garbage can. Therefore, the savings in fuel consumption, energy consumption etc. will be performed.

The Radar Chart diagram will be divided into 3 areas, according to Sustainability Pillars (example of such diagram is given below; the values could be normalized from 0 to 100).

  • Environmental Pillar Indicators: 1) The amount of CO2 emissions comparing to the reference model; 2) General amount of recycled waste, comparing to the reference model
  • Economic Pillar Indicators: 1) The amount of saved fuel costs comparing to the reference model; 2) The amount of costs saved because of reducing usage of trucks (trucks don't have to circle around, they will move to the garbage bin only if they receive a signal)
  • Social Pillar: 1) The level of citizen's satisfaction (survey, questionnaire etc).

Questions after the course

  1. Try to reflect, where the failures of reductionism approach are the most obvious? (Reason: It is important to understand, that reductionism is still valid and still be applicable for some range of tasks, and students should show it).
  2. Try to reflect, when should we start to educate people about sustainability issues? (Reason: From my own opinion - starting from kindergarten. Students should reflect about this question because in order to promote sustainability, we need firstly to provide an appropriate education about this topic).
  3. List the two main roots behind the concept of sustainability. (Answer: ecological/carrying capacity and critique of technology. Reason: students should have basic knowledge about the background for the sustainability concept).
  4. Try to compare two approaches - MSY and AMOEBA - and list their pros and cons. (Reason: students should have knowledge about sustainability in practice, and they should know how to measure susteanability indicators using these two approaches).