This teaching resource introduces sustainability with a focus on the three dimensional concept. It is thus a basic resource and can be chosen for a group of students without any pre-knowledge regarding sustainability.
The primary learning objective is to strengthen the knowledge on sustainability and the dimensional conceptualisation approach, which constitutes the main concepts of the industrialized countries of the North. The focus is set on the three dimensional concept which tries to structure sustainability cases in the scopes of ecological, social and economic dimensions while also taking care of possible linkages between aspects of different dimensions. Concepts with less and more dimensions are mentioned shortly. Further learning objectives are for instance to encourage the students to work in teams, to negotiate and discuss, as well as to strengthen the ability of systems thinking and reflectivity.
The first session shall be introduced by asking the students about their initial understanding of sustainability. The first session is then mainly meant to give an overview of the selected historical sustainability milestones and the dimensional conceptualisation of sustainability, which constitutes the basic knowledge that is needed for further work. This is also the session where a stakeholder of the waste management sector shall be included. Therefore a pre-discussion between the lecturer and the stakeholder about the three dimensional concept as a preparation for the session is considered. It is needed to help the stakeholder apply this concept to the example of the waste management sector. This is the basis for the collaborative elaboration of this application together with the students during the first session. The illustration through an example is needed to promote a better understanding of the concept. This is required for the students’ own research about a commonly chosen topic at the end of the first session.
The decision for the waste management sector as an appropriate example is based on the reports “Municipal waste management in Albania” of the European Environment Agency (2013) and “Strategy of the Republic of Kosovo on waste management 2012-2021” of the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning (2012). They show that the issue of waste management is still a big issue in Albania and Kosovo.
Approximately one week is needed between the first and the second lesson to give enough time for the students’ own research on one specific dimension. The second lesson is interactive throughout. The students will discuss in small groups the different aspects of the three dimensions of the chosen sustainability topic. Through this they can deepen their understanding of the three dimensional concept and try to figure out its strengths and weaknesses. Then they try to find a solution for the sustainable development of the discovered problems with regard to the dimensions. This can show the difficulty of finding completely sustainable solutions with the aspiration of improving in all three dimensions.