1.2.1 Planning your search

Your approach to searching will depend to a great extent on what kind of person you are. In an ideal world, when searching for information for a specific purpose, we would all find what exactly we were looking for at the first attempt, especially if we are in a hurry. However, it’s always a good idea to have some kind of plan when you are searching for information, if only to help you plan your time and make sure you find the information you need. If I was starting to search for material on
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1.1.6 Keeping up-to-date

How familiar are you with the following different ways of keeping up to date with information; alerts, mailing lists, newsgroups, blogs, RSS, professional bodies and societies?

  • 5 – Very familiar

  • 4 – Familiar

  • 3 – Fairly familiar

  • 2 – Not very familiar

  • 1 – Not familiar at all


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1.1.3 Searching for information on maths and statistics

How well does the following statement match what you do when you begin a new search for information?

Before I begin a new search for information (maybe for an assignment, or to help you choose your next holiday destination), I spend some time thinking about what I already know, what the gaps in my knowledge are, and the best types of information to meet my needs.

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1.1.1 Assessing your current level of knowledge

If you explore all the resources and activities in this unit, you might need to allow between two and nine hours to complete it.

Before you read this guide, why not use the self-assessment questions on the next screen to rate your current level of knowledge?

Print or save these questions and for each question, mark the most appropriate number on the scale. When you have finished, you can review your answers. A score of three or less might indicate a gap in your knowledge
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this guide you should be able to:

  • conduct your own searches efficiently and effectively;

  • find references to material in bibliographic databases;

  • make efficient use of full text electronic journals services;

  • critically evaluate information from a variety of sources;

  • understand the importance of organising your own information;

  • identify some of the systems available;

  • describe ho
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6 Summary

  1. It is essential that societies seek ways of becoming environmentally sustainable and adaptable to unknowable environmental changes, particularly in the climate. This must happen in the context of globalisation. The concept of sustainability is coming to prominence at a time when established structures of government are being questioned and new ways of thinking about governance are being explored.

  2. Globalisation has several dimensions that are r
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5 Conclusion – new ways of looking at the world

There is a variety of new approaches or terms that are interlinked, and have been prominent throughout this book. All of them have played a part in this book's journey through the scientific, political, philosophical and social implications of climate change.

Governance of climate change is about: decision making under uncertainty; understanding and representing vulnerability even when vulnerabilities are difficult to assess or unknowable; and making every aspect of human
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4.4.1 Partnerships for sustainable consumption

Moderate NGOs, progressive businesses and government all have a stake in seeing roundtable partnerships come up with practical steps that can bring sustainability closer. One area that has attracted the attention of all these players is consumption. Directing or limiting consumption is politically difficult for even the NGOs to promote. Similarly, ‘voluntary simplicity’ of the sort lived at Findhorn eco-village (Author(s): The Open University

4.4 Signing everyone up to sustainability

The proposers of step-by-step progress towards sustainability would include in their plans many of the ideas proposed in the previous two subsections. However, what distinguishes this group is that they stand in the middle of the scale between faith in unfettered business voluntarism and a conviction that radical transformations are required. Their incrementalism is reflected in the kinds of pragmatic solutions they propose; their radicalism shows in the way they think about new roles and pro
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4.3.1 Ecological tax reforms

Communities such as Findhorn already behave as if natural resources need careful management: they work hard to reduce fossil fuel use. A central assumption of this way of thinking is that people need to root economies more locally (Figure 15). To see the same impulse spread through the mainstream economy would require that th
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3.3.3 Obligations to trees?

Citizenship is generally held to be based on a contractual view, where rights and obligations are balanced. In other words, you get various rights in return for your commitment to live by your society's rules and expectations. Political philosopher Andrew Dobson suggests that ecological citizenship is based in a non-reciprocal sense of justice or compassion. The discussion of our relationships with past and future generations in Section 5.2 establishes that our obligations to future generatio
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4.3 Technical and behavioural actions

The numbers generated by the carbon calculator use a computer model based on some of the best information available. However, as I mentioned earlier, the results are not exact because calculators typically require you to enter broad categories of information about yourself and your household. And there are always uncertainties about some of the data on which the calculator is based. Nevertheless, the calculator allows you to explore the important actions needed to lighten your carbon load and
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4.2 Carbon reduction targets

Let's now look at carbon footprint reduction targets in a bit more detail.

The first international agreement to set carbon reduction targets was the 1997 United Nations Kyoto Protocol, which requires developed countries to reduce their human-generated greenhouse gas emissions by an average of just over 5% on 1990 levels by 2008 to 2012. By the time the treaty came into force in 2005, only the USA and Australia had refused to sign. (A new Australian government finally signe
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3 How heavy is your footprint?

You've seen that individual and household carbon footprints vary widely both within and between countries. So, in this section you'll be working out your own carbon footprint using the computer-based calculator linked in the box below. This is the Quick version of this calculator. A more detailed and complete version is available when formally studying the Environment: journeys through a changing
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2.2.4 Identifying the carbon heavyweights

I've focused on two studies of the carbon footprint of UK individuals and households, but there are many others (e.g. WWF, 2006; Goodall, 2007 and Marshall, 2007a).


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2.8 End of unit question

Question 12

The writer and campaigner George Monbiot wrote the following (in The Guardian Weekly, 10 February 2000): ‘Every time someone in the West switches on a kettle, he or she is helpting to flood Bangladesh’. What is th
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2.2 Records of the Earth's temperature

To put the temperature records reported by the IPCC in context, we start with a longer-term geological perspective on the Earth's GMST.


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Acknowledgements

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this unit:

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary and used under licence (not subject to Creative Commons licence). See Terms and Conditions.

Text

Box 1: ‘O sweet spontaneous’. Copyright 1923. Trustees for the E E Cummings Trust.

Box 5: Maugh, T H (2008) ‘The MIT Meteorologist’s theory
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2.2 Environmental pragmatism: positioning expert support

I believe that the principal task for an environmental pragmatism is not to reengage the … debates in environmental ethics but rather to impress upon environmental philosophers the need to take up the largely empirical question of what morally motivates humans to change their attitudes, behaviours, and policy preferences toward those more supportive of long-term environmental sustainability.

(Light, 2002, p. 446)


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1.4.2 Engaging with multiple perspectives

A systems approach begins when first you see the world through the eyes of another.

(Churchman, 1968, p. 231)

The Ulrich reading is an extract from an article written in honour of another systems philosopher, C. West Churchman. Also drawing on Churchman's influence, Jake Chapman sums up two qualities of systems thinking in terms of ‘gaining a bigger picture (going up a level of abstraction) a
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