Sustainable development, the topic of our seminar, is pure concept. It is not a “fact” as such; it is rather an ongoing and ever shifting interpretation of an imperfectly understood complex system. And as such it is defined by human minds. To get the ball rolling on this important aspect of the sustainability phenomenon here you have a very personal and very incomplete list of a number of the people who in my view are collectively defining the field. With all the necessary contradictions that entails. The one-click references are in each case to Wikipedia, and are presented as only a starting point to understand the contributions that these splendid people are making to our more than challenging topic.
Any such listing will ultimately be very personal, even if it has been carried out by a committee, which was definitely not the case here. I have developed this particular personal pantheon of independent thinkers, writers and doers who in my view have been among the leading influences in the move over the last half century from (a) a world not giving much attention to the broader implications of our collective choices and actions, to (b) the one that we live in today where we are at long last starting to become more aware that much of what we do, or make done, actually does impact on the future our small planet and others in many and often drastic ways.
We all know the story about The Blind Men and the Elephant?
Fine, but do you know the one about The Blind Men and “Sustainable Development”?
The seminar paper accounts for fully half of your final grade in this course. The way in which you present it is important and in the following we set out the standards and details of presentation that we expect will be rigorously adhered to.
Once you have absorbed the following, I invite you to have a close look at the section on Bibliographic Referencing and Citation, to which you can link here.
The term paper is the heart of the course and the learning process behind it. We ask you to start organizing your thinking on this even before you come into the seminar the first time on Thursday morning. The present website is content rich and sets out a number of clues and ideas for this that you may find useful.
And to the extent that this is agreeable to you, we would like to ask you at the very least to consider having at least some of the report dealing with ideas concerning the relationship between sustainable development and the problems, attitudes and opportunities within your own country. This however is your choice, so now let us get on with this short list, which in point of fact represent the curiosity of your professor who is curious to have the benefit of your thoughts on these topics
One of the strongest points of these ISG Master classes is that each year the students come from such a wide range of backgrounds and places. This gives us an opportunity to share ideas and views that reflect these often considerable personal and cultural differences and as a result, greatly enrich the learning process. Here by way of example are a selection of titles and countries of author origin of some of the previous term papers submitted in past seminars.