Forward thinking

1.  The world we live in:

As a society we have to learn to live in a complex world of interdependent systems with high uncertainties and multiple legitimate interests.

These complex and evolving systems require a new way of thinking about risk, uncertainty, ambiguity and ignorance.  These systems require that we can think simultaneously of drivers and impacts of our actions across scales and barriers of space, time, culture, species and disciplinary boundaries.

This means we need to focus on:

–          Systems thinking

–          An understanding of the connected nature of our socio-ecological system

–          Critical and creative thinking

–          Ability to act as change agent

–          Understanding of ethics

–          Sense of participation and action

Sustainability should not be seen as an department and should not be confused with green, or with “about the environment”.   Instead it provides a context for all decision making and practices.

2. We all need to be sustainable practitioners

Tell me when you stop agreeing with these statements:

1.  Ecosystems are under stress and are declining, and this is affecting human conditions and futures.

2.  Sustainability – defined broadly as meeting the needs of all current and future generations –  is a reasonable approach to addressing this decline.

3.  Sustainability is the responsibility of everyone, in their whole lives – including work  (this work component we call sustainable practice).

4. This work component – the sustainable practitioner – applies to every career, every discipline.

5.  Acting as a sustainable practitioner means both reducing my footprint (reducing harm) and increasing my handprint (actions towards sustainability).

6.  I am acting as a sustainable practitioner.

Almost everyone agrees with these statements, only becoming hesitant on the last one – I am currently acting as a sustainable practitioner.    People know that that sustainability is important.   They know they should be doing something about it.  That they’re not doing this suggests that there are barriers to be overcome.

3. Computing policy statements

Policy Statement on Computing Education for Sustainability

Computing and IT underpins every sector of society as a pervasive and influential discipline with global impact. The vision is that our graduates, our practitioners and our academics understand the concepts of social, environmental and economic sustainability in order for them to evaluate, question and discuss their role in the world and to enable them to make changes where and when appropriate.

Moreover, computing educators must take a lead in sustainability so that computing practitioners can be encouraged and supported to promote sustainable use of technology. This can primarily be achieved by the fostering of sustainability as a core value of computing education.

Creating a philosophy of Computer Education for Sustainability will be enhanced if undertaken within a context of institutional operational practice. We will then be seen to be modelling good practice.

The National Advisory Committee for Computing Qualifications in New Zealand (NACCQ) adopted this policy in July 2008.

The subsequent agenda starts:

Work with the wider community to envisage and articulate a role for computing and computing practitioners for a sustainable future…

Draft version for ACM SIGCSE (ACM SIGCSE Bulletin 40(4):183-193 Digital Library)

Computing and IT underpins every sector of society as a  pervasive and influential discipline with global impact. As a result, computing influences the environment and society either positively or negatively. While we have seen positive benefit from incremental changes such as reductions in energy usage and recycling components, more comprehensive and transformative changes are needed to meet contemporary challenges. Therefore, our vision is that our graduates, practitioners and academics understand the concepts of social, environmental and economic sustainability in order for them to evaluate, question and discuss their role in the world and to enable them to make changes where and when appropriate. Our goal is that every graduate think and act as a “sustainable practitioner”.  This way computing will be a driving influence in the creation of a sustainable future in every sector it touches.

Moreover, computing educators must take a lead in sustainability so that computing practitioners can be encouraged and supported to promote sustainable practice in every sector where computing plays a role. This can primarily be achieved by the fostering of sustainability as a core value of computing education.

Creating a philosophy of Computer Education for Sustainability will be enhanced if undertaken within a context of institutional operational practice. We will then be seen to be modeling good practice.

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3 Responses “Forward thinking” →

  1. Jan Fraga

    November 13, 2012

    How do I contact Samuel Mann about using one of his Flickr cc images in a WebQuest for my 8th graders?

    Jan Fraga
    fraga.jan@gmail.com

    Reply
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