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Sustainability Homework Help

Please note the duedates for Homework on your Syllabus!

You will need to email me your responses by midnight of the dates indicated.

My email: rciulla@psis.umass.edu

Homework One Readings

 Sustainability Overview

Sustainability definitions:

EPA: http://www.epa.gov/sustainability/basicinfo.htm

United Nations: http://www.un.org/en/sustainablefuture/sustainability.shtml

Natural Capital definition: http://www.gdrc.org/sustdev/concepts/26-nat-capital.html

The Natural Step’s short Video series about The Basics of Sustainability


Components of Sustainability

Sustainable Building and Design



Sustainable Energy




Sustainable agriculture/farming systems



Sustainable food systems


Sustainable Development (IISD) https://www.iisd.org/sd/

The Four System Conditions of a Sustainable Society from The Natural Step


Overview of the Precautionary Principle



Importance of Interdisciplinarity



Importance of Interdisciplinary Research


Homework Questions

  1. In your own words, define what sustainability means to you. In what areas of your life do you want to practice greater sustainability and how are you already applying it in your daily actions?

Or alternatively, how can sustainability be worked into your future business/topic of interest for this course?

  1. In my opinion, a thorough understanding of issues related to environmental sustainability should involve contributions from a wide variety of disciplines (natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities). One example is Agroecology. I believe interdisciplinarity is critical in the world of sustainability. Give an area of research where you think interdisciplinarity would be beneficial and elaborate on how.
  2. Please submit your final topic as well as the timeline of your semester goals (what you plan to accomplish each week of this course and ideas of who you will speak with, where you will go, etc)


Homework Two Readings

 Sustainable Models

 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

EU definition


EU Awards for CSR


The CSR Newswire


Mallen Baker, a writer, speaker and strategic advisor on corporate social responsibility


International Institute of Sustainable Development


Former Vice President Al Gore describes how Corporate Social Responsibility is essential to Environmental Sustainability (50 minute recording)


Creating Shared Value by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer from the Harvard Business Review

“The solution lies in the principle of shared value, which involves creating economic value in a way that also creates value for society by addressing its needs and challenges. Businesses must reconnect company success with social progress. Shared value is not social responsibility, philanthropy, or even sustainability, but a new way to achieve economic success.” https://hbr.org/2011/01/the-big-idea-creating-shared-value

Models of Success in Sustainability

UNEP’s Green Economy Policies and Plans


Examples of Sustainable Success Stories from around the globe


Green Economy Report


 School Example:

Yale’s Sustainability Plan


Farm to School National Network


 Using Sustainability as a Business Tool

2014 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World


Unilever’s Sustainability


Walmart’s Sustainability Goals


Corporate Responsibility Revolution Video Series


  Sustainable Cities:

For example, Seattle:


The P-Patch Gardens (88 total) throughout the city are wonderful, have seen them myself:


Homework Questions

  1. When thinking about sustainability, Walmart doesn’t typically come to mind. The healthy, environmental images on their website however, give the impression that they are taking steps in many directions towards sustainability. Are they? On the main website they list three “aspirational” goals. Do they explain how they will achieve these goals and by when? Is it all gloss or do you think these large corporations are actually living up to their promises? Who is monitoring whether they do or don’t? Is protecting one acre for every acre they develop enough? (this is one of their ideas on the website). In your opinion, are they still creating more harm than good?
  2. Sustainable Cities. What are some of the actions the city of Seattle is taking towards being a greener city that impressed or surprised you? Please find 2 other cities worldwide that are making sustainability efforts and describe what they are doing.
  3. Please send list of interview questions (8-12 questions) that you will be using when speaking with your professional contacts


Homework Three Readings

 Research & Writing

 Introduction to Research

What is Research?


What is Evidence?


The Process of Research


Writing an Outline (and sample)


Why Write an Outline:


Sample Outline:


Writing a Research Paper

Proper citations, run-on sentences, Bibliography, etc




Citation Style Chart (Compares APA, MLA and Chicago Manual of Style)


MLA Formatting and Style Guide


APA Style


Types of Interviewing, Setting up Interview, Do’s and Don’ts


Completing a SWOT Analysis


Examples of a SWOT


Conducting a SWOT Analysis of your Agricultural Business


Analysis of Data (By wrestling with empirical data for themselves, students might learn more about a particular environmental problem). Methodological and theoretical issues of data analysis will be presented, and how to examine environmental issues with greater nuance and insight.

Methods of Data Analysis in Qualitative Research


Six Types Of Analyses Every Data Scientist Should Know, from Professor Leek at John Hopkins




Homework Questions

  1. Please conduct a SWOT analysis of your own future business (if your intent is to open one) or a current business that you are somewhat familiar with (this can be a local farm), or a family business or a new business you visit. In 600 words or more, describe the four SWOT elements
  2. Review the various Citation Styles and decide which one you will use for your research paper. Refer back to these links when writing your final.
  3. Now that you have reviewed why writing an outline is so important and viewed some samples, please send me a rough draft outline of your research paper. This will be a helpful exercise even if you think right now it seems like a lot of work. One or two pages with bullets or numbers, brief sentences and a few main subjects with sub-categories is fine. It’s just important to get the direction of your paper solidified with the main categories you plan to cover. This will keep you more focused and save you time later on.


Homework Four Readings

 Working in the Field of Sustainability

 Finding a Job in the Field of Sustainability

Careers in Sustainability and great links for job sites:


Green Dream Jobs


Two very helpful listservs to sign up for are COMFOOD and NEFOOD. They send out daily emails related to news, jobs and research related to sustainable food and farming:



Matching Your Personality with the Right Career (link for test to take at bottom of screen)


Several interesting (and hopefully helpful) links on the left)


The 11 Highest-Paying Careers in Sustainability


Tips for a Successful Job Interview


Giving a Successful Presentation



Making effective PowerPoint presentations


Entertaining, short video:


Grant Writing

How to Successfully Write Grants

Tips for Writing a Successful Grant Proposal from Sloan Foundation


Writing Successful Grant Proposal from Purdue Extension


End Games: The Challenge of Sustainability

In this report, they write about how funders and grantees are thinking about sustainability and how best to support promising projects so that they do not simply fade away.

This resource is included in order to get an idea of how funders might think.

Page 8: Why do Grantmaking?

Page 16: Foundation Approaches

Page 19: Achieving sustainability: suggestions from the field


Homework Questions

  1. At this point in the course you have chosen your topic in mind, and maybe even have a future business in mind. Now you are speaking with professionals in the field. Think carefully about how your life and work would be in this field/business of choice. What are some concerns you can think of? List the pros and cons related to the job. Do the same for several career choices you have considered and tried over the years. Now free flow write a description of your ideal life: what does it look like and include? This exercise is to help you choose the job that will make you the most happy and be the best match.
  2. Please send me a list of the contacts that you will be using for this paper as well as what you are learning from them (Is it just an interview? Are you working alongside them?)


Homework Five Readings

Steps to Reach Success

Writing a Sustainability Plan

Sample Plan:


A Comprehensive Guide to Help Cities and Counties Develop a Sustainability Plan (pg 5 and 10 great as well as Section II)


Developing a Plan for Assessing Local Needs and Resources


Sustaining Comprehensive Community Initiatives.

Key Elements for Success beginning on Page 5


Planning and Creating Successful Local Food Systems

Food Solutions New England (FSNE)


New England Food Vision (document published by FSNE)


The New York Regional Foodshed Project

This project is evaluating the process of regionalization of the food system at a national

level and involves coordination with regional stakeholders and the USDA to develop models for regional food systems change related to multiple geographic regions


Maine Food Strategy


Massachusetts Food System Plan


VT’s Farm to Plate Strategic Plan (This impressive initiative aims to develop a 10-year strategic plan to strengthen Vermont’s food system)


Appalachian Foodshed Project


Toronto Food Policy Council

Toronto is a municipal food policy leader, with a long history working to ensure access to healthy, affordable, sustainable and culturally acceptable food. The Toronto Food Policy Council (TFPC) was established in 1991 as a subcommittee of the Board of Health to advise the City of Toronto on food policy issues. http://tfpc.to/

Economic Impacts of a Regional Food System


Running a Successful Business in Sustainability


For larger businesses:


Starting a Farm:


 Homework Questions

Please send me a working draft of your final paper (preferably at least 12 pages). You don’t need to have all your references yet and I’m not worried about formatting/styles. What I want to see is that you have a substantial amount of material from your personal contacts as well as many references.

Like this:


About this course: This course introduces the academic approach of Sustainability and explores how today’s human societies can endure in the face of global change, ecosystem degradation and resource limitations. The course focuses on key knowledge areas of sustainability theory and practice, including population, ecosystems, global change, energy, agriculture, water, environmental economics and policy, ethics, and cultural history. This subject is of vital importance, seeking as it does to uncover the principles of the long-term welfare of all the peoples of the planet. As sustainability is a cross-disciplinary field of study, this foundation requires intellectual breadth: as I describe it in the class text, understanding our motivations requires the humanities, measuring the challenges of sustainability requires knowledge of the sciences (both natural and social), and building solutions requires technical insight into systems (such as provided by engineering, planning, and management).

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