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DSCI 493/593
Sustainable Business Operations
Spring, 2012
Prof. Mark E. Ferris
Topics
• Guest Speaker Dr. Ben de Foy
– Cambridge University
– Dept. Earth and Atmospheric Science SLU
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Evidence for Climate Change
The “Controversy”
Discussion of “What is Sustainability?”
How do we know what we know?
Science: Theory and Empiricism
Goals
• Students should be able to develop writing skills that are
essential to critical thinking.
• Students should be able to interpret theoretical texts and be
able to communicate their developing ideas to their peers.
• Students should be able to construct a coherent argument
and support it with evidence which will allow them to
participate in class discussions and debates.
• Students should be able to understand, appreciate and
constructively criticize multiple perspectives, including
their own.
What is Sustainability?
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Discuss your definitions of sustainability
Report out similarities
Report out differences
Ray Anderson TED talk – Business Logic
of Sustainability
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iP9QF_l
BOyA
What is the Business Motivation
for Sustainability?
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Efficiency and reduce costs (WalMart)
Sell “Green Products” (GE)
Get the Sustainability “Glow” (WalMart)
Regulations (Pollution Laws)
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Ethics
Others?
How do we know what we
know?
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Personal Experience
Expert Opinion
News Media
Science
Other?
Big Science
• What is the question?
– Observation
– Collecting clues by gathering evidence
– Investigating relationships
– Finding patterns
– Considering possibilities – models and
theories
– Drawing conclusions or inferences
Cause and Effect
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Cause and effect is tricky
It’s a matter of evidence
How much is enough?
The case of “Smoking and Lung Cancer”
Why Evolution is True, Jerry Coyne,
University of Chicago.
Why Evolution is True
Jerry Coyne
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Evolution is only a theory – Pres. Reagan
Is there something wrong with a theory?
In everyday parlance it means a “guess”
In science it means something very different
• “It is a statement of what are held to be the general laws,
principles, or causes of something known or observed” e.g
“theory of gravity” or “theory of relativity”
• A theory is much more than speculation; it’s a well thought
out set of propositions that explains facts about the real
world
Why Evolution is True (cont.)
• The theory of evolution is much more than saying that “evolution
happened,” rather it is an extensively documented set of principles that
explains how and why evolution happened.
• For a theory to be considered scientific it must be testable and make
verifiable predictions.
• We must be able to make observations about the real world that either
support it or disprove it.
• A theory is only considered “true” after its assertions and predictions
are tested over and over again, and confirmed repeatedly
• A theory only become “true” when the evidence in its favor becomes
overwhelming and all “reasonable” people accept it.
• This does not mean that a “true” theory will be never be falsified
• All scientific “truth” is subject to change in light of new compelling
evidence.
The Public’s View
• What is American’s view of the environment
movement?
http://www.gallup.com/poll/127487/EnvironmentalMovement-Endures-Less-Consensus.aspx
• Different Countries have differing views on
Climate Change.
http://www.gallup.com/poll/117772/AwarenessOpinions-Global-Warming-Vary-Worldwide.aspx
Homework
• Read through Gilbert Metcalf’s “Market Based
Policy Options to Control US GHG”
• Write a 2 page paper summarizing the case for
climate change and the key aspects of the
“controversy.”
• Write a 1 page speaker review paper.
• Begin developing your strategy for creating the
“The Business Case for Sustainability” video.
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMkPCL59hN
M