What you will study
This module engages with environmental management at three levels beginning with domestic issues in the household, before extending to look at the organisation and the wider community.
This will be based on a major case study of London Heathrow Airport, as the benefit of airports to a society are counter-balanced by the environmental concerns which airports present and recognise that they require some form of environmental management. The module provides you with the ability to model and explore the environmental concerns and dilemmas embodied by this ubiquitous transport form; discover some innovative environmental management ideas and practices; and develop your understanding and skills in these methods and techniques that will be relevant to your own context.
Using tools and techniques taken from both environmental management and systems thinking, you will progress through the following four-stage learning cycle in each of the three module blocks:
- Reflecting – on a variety of environmental management situations
- Connecting – our perspectives and ideas regarding different aspects of situations
- Modelling – situations using a variety of conventional and innovative tools and techniques
- Action – taking action to improve the situation.
This will encourage you to explore the means and methods by which environmental management thinking and approaches can be systemically applied in a number of contexts and themes.
In this block you’ll explore the concept of the 'environmental manager'; who they are and what they do. The theme of investigation is 'the household' and you will be engaged in a range of online activities exploring different perspectives on the role of the 'environmental manager' and how you 'manage' the environmental impact of your household. You will be introduced to a range of perspectives and will explore your own evolving role as an 'environmental manager' as a profession and as citizenship. The block introduces the case study which is explored in more depth in Blocks 2 and 3.
This block uses the case study to focus on innovation by organisations in relation to environmental management. You will explore what an innovative organisation responding to environmental imperatives looks like and some drivers of innovative environmental management in organisations including: economics; leadership; learning; and public pressure. Using examples of organisational activities in airports, you will use systems techniques to make sense of the situations organisations face, how innovation relating to organisations and environmental management ‘happens’, as well as developing critical perspectives on organisations, their approaches and practices.
The final block continues with the case study as you look at sustainability at the level of the group or community, and the usefulness of systems thinking in this context. You will apply the context of noise and air pollution from the perspectives of the community and those that surround it. You will see that environmental management engages with many perspectives and stakeholders. It is not a simple fix and it does not just involve technical processes.
Working online in a small group, you will tackle a complex environmental management issue. This will give you an understanding of the challenges of collaborative learning and helping other members of a group.
For the module as a whole, there are associated texts, interactive and personally challenging activities and a range of audio and video resource. This module offers insights and unique footage of airport life, including film clips from the Airport Live! BBC television series first aired in 2013.
If you are considering progressing to The engineering project (T452), this is one of the OU level 3 modules on which you could base your project topic. Normally, you should have completed one of these OU level 3 modules (or be currently studying one) before registering for the project module.
You will learn
By the end of the module you will be able understand and describe:
- systems theories, tools and methods used and critically evaluate your own competence in using them
- diverse environmental impacts at the level of the individual, organisation and community
- a range of theories, tools and methods relating to systems and environmental management
- the wide ranging policy implications involved in designing sustainable communities.
You will also be able to:
- use systemic theories and methods to review and investigate complex environmental management situations
- explain when and how to use systemic representations and where iteration is needed
- select initial systems and other methods appropriate for helping learning and sense making
- assess the worldviews of stakeholders within the case studies
- use information and communication tools to gather, analyse and synthesise a variety of data and information
- apply critical and reflective devices to assess, in a systemic manner, environmental activity.
You will find the module useful if you are, or want to be, engaged in environmental management within an organisation, consultancy or a local community. Studying this module can also benefit you in your home, work, or community as it will help you to understand and use some conventional ideas and practices for environmental management in a range of situations. In addition, the module will extend your knowledge and practical skills by introducing innovative systems approaches to environmental management.