Have you ever wondered how to be a responsible environmental citizen? What it means to be responsible, to make a 'right' decision, or to achieve a 'just' outcome for our natural world that we share? Such questions affect many of us both on personal and professional levels. This course provides a framework for analysis, and innovative tools promoting individual and collective responsibility for decisions and action. You will examine how cultural traditions influence attitudes towards the environment, and develop skills in advocacy, argumentation, debate, evaluating direct action, and constructing and making sense of environmentally related documentation such as briefing papers and viewpoint articles.
|About this course:|
|Course work includes:|
|3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)|
|No residential school|
This course is available for study in the countries shown. Fees and financial support may vary by country.
The course consists of four parts: an introduction followed by three core sections.
Part 1 Introducing environmental responsibility provides an understanding of environmental responsibility in terms of caring for the environment and being accountable for harm or wrongdoing to the environment. A mini case-study explores these dimensions of responsibility associated with economic and ecological relations between a country from the global South and countries in the global North. The vignette provides an exposition of three interrelated and recurring questions relating to environmental responsibility: Firstly, what matters? What are the values being privileged or needing to be privileged in any environmental dilemma, and in what way do they relate to other values? Secondly, who matters in terms of individuals and communities, and how are matters addressed by these different stakeholders? Questions regarding who the stakeholders might be are intimately connected to questions of how particular stakeholders enact their responsibilities. And thirdly, why should these issues matter in contrast with other issues? What reasons are there for privileging particular interests over others and what political and institutional opportunities are there for challenging the legitimacy of some issues over others? Part 1 then briefly summarises three ethical traditions and how these traditions inform particular forms of policy and action. Based on the features of environmental responsibility outlined in Part 1, a heuristic framework is proposed providing a roadmap for the rest of the course as well as providing guidance to environmental responsibility in any ensuing professional or personal capacity. It concludes with an overview of the remaining part of the course emphasising the need to keep open space for re-conceptualising ideas on environmental responsibility.
Part 2 Nature matters, focuses more on the ecological (‘natural’) world in relation to human cognition and institutional practice. What issues of value are at stake – i.e., what matters? What is this thing to which we profess responsibility? Is it something to preserve or shape? Part 2 delineates environmental responsibility from related subject areas in environmental studies through the attention given to the integral relationship between human and non-human nature. This relationship is explored using the metaphor of ‘conversation’. Drawing on this metaphor and the need to connect more between human and non-human nature, issues of ‘what matters’ are explored from (i) a caring perspective, and (ii) an accountability perspective. The implications of (i) and (ii) are further examined in the context of contemporary broad based consequentialist traditions underpinning systems thinking and environmental pragmatism as means of improving environmental responsibility. The emphasis here shifts towards practical means for (re)constructing what matters in terms of socio-ecological well-being, and the implications for policy and action.
Part 3 Individual and collective responsibility focuses more on the human world in relation to ‘nature’ and institutional practice. Who is responsible and how responsibility is enacted, including what conditions must be satisfied if individuals are to be able to take responsibility. More specifically, the part covers (i) individual responsibility in terms of who is accountable and individuals trying to ‘do the right thing’, including how individual responsibilities and actions accumulate, often in ways that do not address environmental problems as much as they might (ii) rights and contracts based traditions including ethical issues associated with ‘Commons’ (iii) the relationship between individual and collective responsibility and discussion of different kinds of responsibilities operating at different levels and in different contexts - including consideration of some of the ethical assumptions concerning autonomy competition and collaboration and the role of social learning in fostering the multi-level interactions that can enable second-order change (i.e. change that requires thinking and acting differently rather than continuing with ‘more of the same’).
Part 4 Ecological citizenship: social and environmental justice and corporate social responsibility focuses more on the political, social, institutional contexts of environmental action and thus links ethics to policy. It considers how ethics, policy and action work together and how movements, NGOs, civil organisation partnerships and private-public partnerships can provide the space for enacting environmental responsibility? More specifically, the part covers (i) central virtues of ecological justice in relation to other virtues (hope, love, wisdom, forgiveness, sadness, courage, obligation etc.); (ii) initiatives relating to notions of corporate responsibility and ecological citizenship measuring up to multiple values and requirements of 'virtue' as well as 'the good' and 'the right'; and (iii) the politics of new types of citizenship where the framing of ecological citizenship might enable appropriate dialogue between public and the private, local and the global, future and the present, acting and thinking, rights and responsibilities etc. bridging the gap between (a) awareness of environmental injustices and development of environmental responsibility, and (b) civic engagement with ecological citizenship.
TD866 aims to support continual development of skills amongst managers in the public, private and voluntary sectors associated with environmental decision making. Within the UK and internationally there is substantial interest among the many existing and aspiring practitioners involved with environmental decision making for developing skills in constructing and making sense of environmentally related briefing papers and associated documentation, advocacy, argumentation, debate and evaluation.
This course can be taken on its own or as a module of a qualification. If you are taking it as part of a postgraduate qualification, you must have adequate preparation for study at this level, usually demonstrated by a bachelors degree (or the equivalent) from a UK university.
You do need to have a reasonable standard of spoken and written English to study successfully with us. Poor language skills will make study more difficult, and it will take longer. The normal requirements for English language skills are explained on our website.
If you have any doubts about whether your level of English is good enough for you to study this course you may find it helpful to look at our Skills for OU Study site.
If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.
TD866 is an optional module in our:
Some postgraduate qualifications allow study to be chosen from other subject areas. These qualifications allow most postgraduate modules to count towards them. We advise you to refer to the relevant qualification descriptions for information on the circumstances in which this module can count towards these qualifications because from time to time the structure and requirements may change.
Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service before registering.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.
Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and musical notation and mathematical, scientific, and foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.
If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:
Printed material also available on the dedicated website. Supplementary audio and visual material is provided through a DVD and some of which is also available on the website.
You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.
You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.
You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. You will be able to contact your tutor by telephone, email and post. There may be opportunities to meet your tutor and other students. You also can keep in touch with other students via an online forum. Contact the Postgraduate Technology & Computing (PTC) Office (telephone +44 (0)115 971 5566, or email ) if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.
Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.
The assessment details can be found in the facts box above.
You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.
The end-of-module (EMA) assessment must be submitted online using our eTMA system.
The details given here are for the course that starts in November 2013 and May 2014. We expect it to be available twice a year.
To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.
“A really enjoyable course that helped me to understand better issues of environmental responsibility. The course also prepares well for ...”
The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.
For more information about distance learning at the OU read Study explained.
|About this course:|
|Course work includes:|
|3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)|
|No residential school|
Try our frequently asked questions.
Come and meet us at an event near you.
Or contact an adviser by Email or call +44(0) 845 300 60 90 +44(0) 845 366 60 35