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tl;dr : how would you talk about (Scientific approaches to sustainable resource management – applied to a local problem) ?

I'm applying for this Ms degree in sustainable resource management and I have to write an essay of 800 words about (Scientific approaches to sustainable resource management – applied to a local problem) but I'm not sure that I got the correct understanding of the idea required here. My background is from a different field and I'm afraid that I'll just write something totally out of the point.

I have read some report about the concept of sustainability but I still wanted an opinion from someone actually in the field, so here I am.

My understanding of the point is as follows: I would pick a certain resource in my country - say a forest. And try to suggest ideas about how to make it more sustainable, through the concepts that might apply.

Does this sound reasonable? Is there any articles, reports or book I should read? And finally is there any similar essays I can use as a guide in writing mine? Surely someone did this before, right?

thank you in advance

  • Can you contact me on [email removed by moderator, commenter was asked to provide it in his public profile information] I'm applying to the same masters program. All qualified applications shall be accepted so, we can collaborate since there is no competition – user3238 Apr 1 '16 at 9:31
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If we apply the concept of sustainability of a local forest, then there are various objectives we might have:

  1. The short and long term direct health of the flora and fauna. This might be affected by pollution, climate change, introduced species (eg insects, predators such as rats or stoats, or invasive plants).
  2. Encouragement of the local community to care for the forest, and remove litter, fund pest management, provide walks or community facilities.
  3. Preventing development (and thus bulldozing) of the land. This is largely a political goal, though in some countries where illegal activities are a problem it could be considered a security issue too.

Consider a simple description of science:

Science is a systematic enterprise that creates, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.

Using science to meet the goals above could initially involve baseline measurement and monitoring of relevant qualities, such as rainfall, numbers and types of of pest plants, numbers of people walking through the forest, amount of money spent looking after it.

Next the data collected could be used to determine which qualities are improving, and which are declining. Understanding the reasons for improvements, or for problems, can help determine future courses of action. Ongoing monitoring can indicate which actions might be helping or not. Getting in touch with other parties solving the same problem elsewhere can also save time and money.

I have a degree in science and have read a substantial amount on sustainability over the years but I don't have a qualification focused on sustainability.

Given the entry requirements of the course, I'd be fairly comfortable they'd accept something written without reading up heavily on the subject, but it would be worth the 5 or 10 mins needed to call the tutor for the course and have a brief chat.

  • Thank you so much. This is quite helpful. one more question, though Is there any similar articles I can look at to lead my way? This is the first time that I write such a thing and I want it to be in alignment with the accepted style. – Mahmoud Abdelrazik Jan 25 '16 at 10:14
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Bear in mind that every word in the question will have been chosen carefully. The "to" and "a" are there to ensure it's correct English. Each of the other words is important. So make sure that you've addressed every one.

The people assessing your application will be looking for signs that you have the aptitude to learn, that you understand what will be required, and that you already have a decent grounding in the subject. So that's what you need to display.

Sustainable resource management is a deep topic, and it would at least be worth reading a primer on it. Consider issues of ownership, maintenance, stakeholders' interests, income sources, understanding what the inputs are, what the outputs are, closing the loop where possible.

In many ways, you can treat us just as if the subject were geology, in terms of the tone and academic writing style. The content will of course be different. One big difference is that sustainable resource management can have aspects of social science too: but that's not necessarily the case.

  • You are absolutely right, thank you. So is it expected that I might be using a certain style that it is not the usual one in this field? I mean I only know how to write in a geological paper form! would such a thing be acceptable? – Mahmoud Abdelrazik Jan 25 '16 at 14:28
  • @MahmoudAbdelrazik answer updated with an additional paragraph to address that – EnergyNumbers Jan 25 '16 at 14:35

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