Coming up with a practical engagement project that relates to my area of interest has been a difficult process considering scale, scope, and especially the fact that it is based on theoretical paradigms. However as a challenge, I would like to expand and explore various known and unknown aspects of my area of interest, whilst drawing on my experience as an International Student and alumna of a United World College, whose mission is to “make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.”. Thus, my project will aim to investigate the extent to which there is a correlation between region of origin/ nationality and one’s order of most important environmental issues. This comes from the supposition that there are trade-offs between ecological growth, social equity and environmental protection in policy making (Gould 2009). My aim is to explore the degree to which nationality correlates with one’s order of environmental issues and what this means for implementing solutions at both the global and local scale.
One of the ‘what’ readings this project is related to is strongly related to is ‘Wicked problems’ by Steve Rayner. And of the characteristics the author offered for wicked problems the one that I feel strongly resonates with this project is the first listed, stating:
“They are often symptomatic of deeper problems and frequently display circularity, as in explaining educational problems by poverty, poverty by social class, and social class by educational achievement;” (Rayner 2014, 5)
This alludes to the fact that the arenas of the various environmental issues may present themselves as areas people may disagree as a result of their differences across political, religious or global regional factors (i.e- manifestation of North/ South divide in ‘sustainable development’ presented at UN conferences.). This reiterates the notion that people may disagree, or rank their choices in different manners as a result of their socioeconomic and cultural realities. Much of the literature I will be relying on ranges from UN meeting notes of various environmental conferences related to ‘the environment’, environmental sociological papers supporting the idea of the North/South Divide being a driving factor in the order of ranking environmental problems (Gould 2009) (Zebich-Knos 1998). The primary questions they seek to ask are: What are the different social systems dominating world regions? Why do they exist? How do these differences manifest themselves at global policies and, To what extent is this a problem in forging solutions and policies?
My scale of engagement would be at the global/ nationality level. The stakeholders/ participants would need to be people from different countries and regions as this would serve as the dependent value of my study. My participants would have to be representation of the UN regional groups, and also illustrate the global North/ South divide. These people can be from anyone, from any country, but would need to represent different nationalities/ regional affiliation as this would be serving as my dependent value. This is also because, the issues and examples that would be invoked for my project (‘sustainable development‘, ‘conservation’ and ‘climate change‘) are the issues that these differences are often said to manifest themselves.
One of the ways I intend to connect the existing scholarship is through conducting surveys and interviews. The surveys would be completed at a large scale, with a range of participants from various countries. And the interviews would then be completed with experts and also a randomly drawn person from each region to see if their values and alignments are similar to those expected based on the existing scholarship. These methods would constitute as part of the contemporary (dialogic) model as there will be a mixture of both a one way flow and also a type of dialogue between myself and participants. The only difference in this project is that there is no presupposed notion of a right or wrong stance, only the cognisance of an existing tension and how this may affect prescribed solutions. In the survey, participants will be asked to rank their environmental issues of concern, their reasons for their orders and also how they would expect the ranking to change for another person. I think presenting the possibility of disagreement but also illustrating why someone may disagree will require empathy and understanding on the part of the participant.
- Weeks 5-6: Conduct more background research, formulate surveys and create digital portfolio.
- Weeks 6-8: Perform interviews and surveys, continue looking at literature and similar projects.
- Week 9-10: Analyse surveys and consolidate them with scholarship findings. Relay all information to digital portfolio.
- Week 11: Begin poster draft and receive feedback.
- Week 12: Finalise poster and all elements of digital portfolio.
- All weeks: Post a bi-weekly or weekly update on progress.
I wish to post on a weekly/ bi-weekly basis in relation to the assigned above goals of each week. I will also look for an accountability/ check-in buddy who will ensure and inquire whether I have done the above and to what extent.
Chichilnisky, Graciela. 1994. “North-South Trade and the Global Environment.” American Economic Review 84 (4): 851–74.
Ghosh, Jayati. 2009. “The Global North-South Carbon Divide | Jayati Ghosh.” The Guardian. October 1, 2009. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cif-green/2009/oct/01/climate-change-debate-copenhagen.
Fellows, Aaron, and James Proctor. 2016. “Models of Environmental Communication.” ENVS Program. July 2, 2016. https://ds.lclark.edu/envs/models-of-environmental-communication/.
Simons, Marlise. 1992. “North-South Divide Is Marring Environment Talks.” The New York Times, March 17, 1992. http://www.nytimes.com/1992/03/17/world/north-south-divide-is-marring-environment-talks.html.
Welle, Nils. 2016. “Five of the World’s Biggest Environmental Problems.” DW.COM. November 10, 2016. http://www.dw.com/en/five-of-the-worlds-biggest-environmental-problems/a-35915705.
Zebich-Knos, Michelle. 1998. “Global Environment Conflict in the Postcold War Era: Linkage to an Extended Paradigm.” Peace and Conflict Studies 5 (1). http://nsuworks.nova.edu/pcs/vol5/iss1/5.