Macquarie University
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Ecological Footprinting as a tool for engaging sustainability in the workplace: transforming adult resource-use perspectives in a neoliberal university

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posted on 2022-03-28, 13:41 authored by Sarah Prebble
Humanity's use of global ecological resources is fast exceeding the earth's ability to replenish them. This thesis targeted organisations, as key consumers and waste producers, to examine adult neoliberal workplace resource-use perspectives. The thesis explores the potential for Ecological Footprinting (EF), as a measurement tool for organisational resource-use, to facilitate transformative learning. Utilising a feminist methodology - interviews with key practitioners and thinkers, and an applied EF workshop with Macquarie University staff, Sydney, Australia - the thesis examines the lived experiences of research participants. Findings are presented at three interrelated scales: individual, organisational and societal. Individually, the thesis found that participants' connections within ecological systems were significantly influenced by their experiences, cultural connections and place(s). Participants were frustrated that organisational power dynamics limited the opportunities and support necessary to make and implement sustainable workplace resource decisions. At the societal scale, transformation of pedagogies and cultural values were considered by participants to be paramount for transforming resource-use perspectives leading to sustainability. The thesis highlights the benefits and challenges of EF as a component of dynamic transformations towards more ecological world views. In addition, finding that cultural shifts and workplace design play contributing roles towards longitudinal change in adult workplace resource-use perspectives.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. Background - linking adult learning to EF -- Chapter 3. Concepts for consideration - literature review -- Chapter 4. Methodology: breaking the habit -- Chapter 5. The potential of EF -- Chapter 6. Culture -- Chapter 7. Place -- Chapter 8. "How to prioritise what we change" (David, Workshop)


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 77-91

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Geography and Planning

Department, Centre or School

Department of Geography and Planning

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Sandra Suchet-Pearson


Copyright Sarah Prebble 2016. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (vii, 115 pages)

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