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Managing environmental sustainability issues involves an understanding of the complex nature of these issues, and an appreciation of the stakeholders involved. Stakeholders are those who have a ‘stake’ in the outcome of a particular issue, and it is essential that we have an appreciation of what exactly is underpinning each stakeholder’ stance, and the information and values behind their arguments.

Part one of this task involves participation in an online role play. During this activity, you will be researching the topic, as well as taking place in an online, formalised discussion. The role play provides a rich learning environment as you will find out about the issue in question from different perspectives. Each student will be allocated to a group representing a stakeholder with an interest in the issue that is the focus of the task. In 2017 the issue is to answer the question: should timber harvesting in Victorian State Forests be suspended? Your peers will be representing other stakeholders in the discussion.

The format of the online role play is similar to a formal debate. Consider how the other interest groups will be representing their stakeholder when you are forming your arguments for the discussion posts. When writing your posts assume your audience are decision makers, and your aim is to convince them of your stakeholder group’s point of view.

Unit Learning Outcomes assessed

ULO 4: Indicate complexities involved in solving environmental sustainability problems and recognise different stakeholders involved and knowledge of their values.

ULO 5: Present a succinct and evidence-based strategy to address a contemporary environmental management issues

The online role play/debate

You will be placed into groups of three and each group member will write one post contributing to the debate. Within your group you have been allocated a post (either 1, 2 or 3). Each post should be approximately 500 words and the general content of posts one, two, three and four should address the following:

Post 1: Introduce the topic and present an argument from the point of view of your stakeholder based on Environmental Sustainability considerations. You should consider what the other stakeholders will be saying, but this is where you are making the point of view of your stakeholder very clear.

Post 2: Present from the point of view of your stakeholder based on Social and Economic Sustainability considerations. Address what has been said by the other stakeholders and address any points that have been included within the debate that you believe your stakeholder would agree or disagree with.This is time for you to set the record straight

Post 3: Conclude the argument. Consider what has been said throughout the debate, put forward your group’s final position, and suggest how the issue should now move forward in the future.


A report of approximately 1200 words that:

  1. Provides a summary of the issue addressed in the role play and the relevant stakeholder’s role and position.
  2. Includes the post you made on behalf of the stakeholder (as well as the other posts from your group members)
  3. Indicates an appreciation of the complexities involved in communicating aspects of environmental sustainability issues. This will be done by reflecting on the process.
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Environmental sustainability is an increasing concern in modern world, especially in case of natural resources such as forest conservation. Considering the issue of timber harvesting in major forest regions across the world, there has been severe uproar against suspension of such activities as they deplete natural resources and usher natural catastrophes. Similar questions have also been raised against timber harvesting in Victorian State Forests on the grounds of environmental sustainability. Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has been considered as major stakeholder in this context. This community consists of more than four hundred thousand people dedicated for voicing out their opinions for environmental issues. As an avid supporter of environmental sustainability, this non-profit organisation is responsible for shaping the movement for driving real changes in society. Maintaining a balance between current rate of timber harvesting and forest regrowth can be cited as ‘wicked problem’ here. The momentum at which human civilisation is expanding outpaces the natural or even manual forest regrowth rate. Unfortunately, it is simply unanswerable how to keep harvesting arte in check, considering the fact that demand for hardwood is on rise.

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