Before you get into thinking about your campaign, let’s take some time to catch you up on the relevant industry background. In this induction module, we’ll give you a quick crash course on the fundamentals of sustainability as well as on the core aspects of sustainability culture at Inland Rail. We’ll also guide you through the main principles of project ideation and conceptualisation. This will help you identify what areas within sustainability interest you the most and give you a starting point for brainstorming campaign ideas. At the end of the induction, we’ll ask you to complete a series of quick check-your-understanding tasks, verifying that you have a solid grasp of the relevant concepts and are ready to move on to working on your project.
The way we currently use the term sustainability makes it difficult to boil it down to a single and simple definition. Generally speaking, sustainability refers to the thoughtful, strategic, and respectful use of available resources to ensure the ongoing health and resilience of life on Earth. In the narrowest sense of the term, particularly because of the looming environmental concerns, such as climate change, sustainability came to mean taking care not to deplete natural resources and preserving (or rather attaining!) fragile ecological balance. Initiatives such as the use of renewable resources, recycling, pollution and waste management, habitat protection, and nature conservation are all examples of environmental sustainability.
However, sustainability goes far beyond environmentalism, as it’s not only natural resources we need to be thinking about, but also social and economic. Following this more holistic approach to defining sustainability, we need to take a close look at our established societal and economic systems, such as education and linear economy, and determine what changes are required for a long-term harmonious co-existence with both the natural world and the man-made infrastructures. The importance of social and economic sustainability is reflected in the United Nations sustainable development agenda, which includes goals like achieving gender equality, ensuring health and well-being for all, ending poverty and hunger, and making quality education and work opportunities accessible. You can read more about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (or SDGs) here.
In this virtual work experience, we will adopt this bird’s-eye view on sustainability, as it provides a more accurate representation of the complex interplay among environment, economy, and society. It also underscores that individual choices and behavioral patterns, however small they may seem at first, can make a powerful contribution to sustainable living and development.