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Climate change: transitions to sustainability
Climate change: transitions to sustainability

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7.2 Answers

Question 1

Although most people immediately think of economic globalisation, Section 1 shows how political, social/cultural and ecological globalisation are also significant in the context of global environmental change.

Question 2

The advocates of ‘business learns’ are optimistic about the global free-market civilisation they believe they are building, but they also believe business needs to heed environmental and social concerns for its own sake. ‘Radical break’ sees only a new colonialism, in which US corporations are the hubs of a global empire. Their solution lies in democratic locally based economies. ‘Sustainability steps’ stands between the two. It suggests that changes are needed to make the current trajectory of development sustainable, but societies have opportunities to shape the course and impact of development as a goal around the world.

(Section 2)

Question 3

Clearly defined state actorsMixes state and non-state actors (including e.g. NGOs)
Linear modelNetwork model
Formal institutions and proceduresEvolving and ongoing processes
Simple and intuitive representation of citizens through electionPower is dispersed or opaque
Domination through rules or force may be required to ensure universal acceptance of a decisionAcceptance of and support for decisions by all players arises out of wide participation in earlier debate

(Section 3.2)

Question 4

Openness Accessible and understandable language to reach general public to improve confidence in complex institutions.

Participation ‘Quality, relevance and effectiveness’ depend on wide participation throughout the policy chain. Effective participation demands an inclusive approach from all layers of government.

Accountability Legislative (scrutiny and passing of laws and policies) and executive (initiating and executing policies) responsibilities and powers need to be clearly separate.

Subsidiarity Decisions must be taken at the most appropriate level.

Integration Policies and actions need to be effective, evaluated for future impact, and be coherent.

(Table 3)

Question 5

  • a.No reciprocity: ecological citizenship goes further than the cosmopolitan citizen's obligation to strangers distant in space: we can't hold a contract with the future; there is no all-encompassing ecological political community with which we can construct bargains.

  • b.Duties drawn from the private not the public sphere: it has long been assumed that citizenship is a practice that goes on entirely in the public sphere (i.e. outside the private sphere of the home). However, it has been argued that there are other potential sources of obligation. Dobson argues that the principal duties of the ecological citizen are to act with care and compassion to strangers, both human and non-human, distant in space and time. These virtues of care and compassion are experienced, nurtured and taught not in public spaces – the established domain of citizenship – but in the private sphere.

(Section 3.3)

Question 6

Business learns: corporate sustainability reporting

Radical break: ecological tax reform; Local Economic Trading Systems

Sustainability steps: best practice databases; Forest Stewardship Council

Some of these ideas could appear under other headings (e.g. many in the business community support the principle of ecological tax reform, and probably all who support an incremental ‘sustainability steps’ approach are in favour of corporate sustainability reporting) but this way of organising these ideas does indicate where they originate, and hint at the differences between them. (Section 4)

Question 7

The Web can:

  • Play a role in spreading values globally and aids development of global civil society, e.g. via NGO transboundary organisation.

  • Promote transparency and, due to its frequent, unmediated and complete nature, reduces the possibilities of manipulation of data.

  • Reduce hierarchy, enabling more working in small teams.

  • Be inclusive in terms of breaking down obstacles of distance.

This is the kind of communications environment that policy experts, NGOs and intellectuals generally hold is required to progress towards a sustainable world. These features of the Web could enable ideas and decisions about making progress towards sustainability to be widely agreed and disseminated with speed and inclusivity. (Section 5)