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Developing Solutions to Sustainability Changes and Business Today: Case Study of Coal Mining

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System thinking stands as a really important structure where we can analyse the problem and know the problem from its roots, then we can find that where can we make changes to resolve the problem. Coal mining is a really profitable industry as coal is being used in a lot of high profitable industries. For example, it is used in electricity generation, which is used by everyone and everywhere, steel production- again a very commonly used thing, cement manufacturing, etc. but at the same time, coal mining has a lot of negative impacts on our environment. Impacts of coal mining includes land usage on a high scale which exploits the quality of land, water pollution is caused when the waste is dumped into rivers, apart from that when coal is burnt it causes air pollution and also leaves behind tons of solid waste. A wicked problem is a problem that is nearly impossible or really difficult to resolve because of the things happening around us which have been operating for a long time and most of them are still not even recognised. To identify a wicked problem, we need to know that wicked problems don’t have any definitive formulation, which means the wicked problem doesn’t has a well-defined statement according to which we can make a judgment about a problem. to understand if a problem is a wicked problem or not, we need to look upon the characteristics of wicked problem. Finding a solution to wicked problem has no “right or wrong” and it totally depends on the stakeholder’s decision. Ordinary problems have easy solutions and needs to be implemented in a manner to solve those issues, but with wicked problems every solution to the problem has its own consequences which cannot be undone. Every wicked problem has its own unique characteristics which maybe be similar to some other problems but needs to be resolved in the prescribed manner only (Elmansy, 2016). As the problem has characteristics which maybe mutual to other problem so it can be said that every wicked problem can be considered to be a symptom of another problem. The problem of coal mining and its impact on the environment stand as a wicked problem as it has been operating since the time, we found coal and as it is a cheaper means of electricity generation, so it is widely used in that sector. Adani group is an Indian multinational conglomerate which has its headquarters in Gujrat running since 1988. After holding its coal mines and successful companies, Adani entered Australia and now Adani is trying to build the biggest coal mine sin the history of Australia which would result in a lot of harms to the environment (Brevini and Murdock, 2017). If they are successful in getting authority then their coal mines would most likely destroy the land they are operating on, allow more than 500 ships entering in Queensland through the great barrier reef. If Adani enters Queensland it would start expanding its business and start building up more and more coal mines and this would also lead to touching the untouched coal reserves. All these coal mines stand as the biggest reason of climate change, as these coal mines have the highest rate of carbon pollution in the atmosphere. Australians have been breathing fresh air for a long time and Australia is considered amongst one of the least polluted country with Melbourne showing up as most liveable city for good 6 years in a row (WM, 2011) (Newton, 2012). Let’s conserve Australia and Before the climate changes destroy the whole world let’s think about the future generations and start taking measures to slow down the climate changing processes.

If we start catching the problem, we would find that the problem of these coal mines setting up started around 1730 in America. After that first coal mine, there starts an era of coal mines. This was because it got people’s attention that energy can be produced using coal and really cheap and also coal was abundantly available, which dragged a lot of businesses into this field. Coal is a fossil fuel which Is made from the trees and plants which died millions of years ago. It is a non-renewable resource and the amount of coal mines establishing year depicts a threat to the natural resources as well as a terror to climate change. The second step of system thinking; the pattern level focuses on, from where did the problem started spreading. It is clearly stated above that after the first coal mines setup catches a lot of people’s attention so many more coal mines were setup. As the fortune of these companies rises and more prospects of opportunities were noticed, a group called Adani started working in this field. Now Adani has started expanding its business Queensland and there have been campaigns running to stop Adani. Coal is the cheapest way of generating electricity but apparently, it is a non-renewable source of energy which is not going to last long. Scientists are working on renewable sources of energy and one of them which is being used at a really high scale nowadays is solar energy. Apart from this there are a lot of renewable ways of generating energy that includes geothermal energy, wind power, biomass, tidal power. Coal comprised 41% of the total energy produced in 2016 followed by natural gas(21.6%) (BP: Statistical Review of World Energy, 2016). As it can be seen what climate change has been doing to the society, some remarkable events are- the California, United states fires, drought in Europe, floods in Japan (Banis, 2018). Keeping all this in mind the sustainable use of resources, people are moving to renewable sources of energy. It is predicted that wind and solar power would be the cheapest ways to generate power by 2040 (Martin, 2016). Carbon emissions rose by 1.7 % in 2018 to a record of 33.1 billion tonnes, with coal making up at least one third of total increase. Coal use accounted for a 10 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2018 from just China, United states, India (Lannin, 2019). Moving on to the third level of thinking we would find that third level stands for creating a focus on the statement. There should be a clear vision and a planned idea which needs to be executed in a systematic way. Identifying the structure is the next step in system thinking which means that after creating a clear vision, now it’s time for understanding the structure. How the problem has been operating for years, what is the main source of problem, this helps in understanding the pattern of the problem and its operations. Now start going deeper in the issue to find out the real roots of the problem. Just the profit is not the only thing which drives these businessmen to setup coal mining industries, but also the government has no strict laws and takes minimal actions to protect the environment for the people living in the country. This business has been running for so long time now that people are getting used to it and don’t take any action. Now it is high time and as people are watching out the consequences caused to the environment because of these coal mining industries, the youth is rising up to prevent any more harm to the environment and thinking of sustainable ways to work out these social, economic, environmental issues. The problem seems clear and so a plan should be formed which could be implemented and then through a formulated way all the issues can be resolved in a systematic manner. Through system thinking a problem cannot be solved quickly because these kinds of problems are the ones which have been composed over a long period of time and are nearly impossible to solve. So, these kind of problems require a long time to resolve. For example, in coal mine industry, everyone knows the impacts its causing to the environment and despite the fact that it is a really big cause of climate change, the government can’t just eliminate these industries and stop the coal mining sector. If government takes this action it is going to have a real bad impact on the economy as the coal mining industries are fetching a lot of income to the country and play a significant role in the Gross domestic product (GDP) of the country. It would also result in people losing jobs and unemployment maxing out.

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Sustainability means avoiding the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain a balance of this ecological system. sustainable ways to operate our day to day tasks is the need of hour. Now discussing about Coal mining Industry’s impact in Australia in a whole in context to three pillars of sustainability that is environment, economy and the social community. Let’s start with the Environmental pillar, as we know that it gets a lot of attention because more and more companies are focusing towards reducing their carbon footprints, packaging waste, water usage (Beattie, 2019). Australia is the world’s third largest exporter of CO2 in Fossil fuels, where carbon emissions because of coal mining stands as one of the biggest reasons (Kilvert, 2019). There are much more ways to generate energy apart from coal, it’s just that they are expensive. Making a decision between “LIVING LONGER OR LIVING CHEAPER “is getting too hard. Taking into consideration the second pillar of sustainability; social pillar, a sustainable business should be taking into concern all the social factors like the interest of shareholder, employees and the society it is operating in. The industry might be having some negative externalities which needs to be resolved over time and should be eliminated as soon as possible. Coal mining industries are exploiting the society as the people living near those industry are getting affected by the harmful gasses and smoke led out by the chimneys. These industries also have poor waste management, if Adani group enters Queensland then the Great barrier reef would be destroyed over time because of poor waste management. The remarkable disaster happened in Mount Kembla describes everything clearly, 96 people lost their lives and lot of harmful gasses were emitted (Lee, 2003). The third pillar of sustainability is the economical pillar. The Coal mining Industry in Australia undoubtedly fetches a lot of profit each year and stands as a remarkable factor in GDP of the country. At the same time the harms it causes to the society also needs to be fixed out which also needs expenditure.

To conclude, it is true that system thinking helps in developing solutions to sustainability changes and business today are looking for a more sustainable environment to survive in long term. Coal mining industry in Australia would help to boost the growth of the country financially as it uses less efforts but has more output. So, it can be said to be really efficient, but this method won’t be running for long term. So, government should start taking measure as it is high time and all results are in front of us. Coal mining industries are going to ruin Australia and to stop this, measures should be taken by the government, like implementing strict policies towards carbon emission, waste management, etc. and switch to renewable sources. These industries cannot be shut down in one go and need some time as the labour working in those industries needs to migrate to equalize the balance of employment. At last now it’s time to answer the statement- ‘system thinking is critical in developing solutions to sustainability changes’, after all the analyses and research it could be said that this statement is agreed to some extent as system thinking would be really helpful in solving the problem of coal mines in Australia as system thinking analyses the data and disintegrates the problem to make it easy to understand. In this scenario a proper solution may be developed to solve the problem, but it doesn’t remain the same in every situation and just relying on system thinking might not be a good idea.

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Developing Solutions to Sustainability Changes and Business Today: Case Study of Coal Mining. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
“Developing Solutions to Sustainability Changes and Business Today: Case Study of Coal Mining.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2022,
Developing Solutions to Sustainability Changes and Business Today: Case Study of Coal Mining. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Sept. 2023].
Developing Solutions to Sustainability Changes and Business Today: Case Study of Coal Mining [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 27 [cited 2023 Sept 22]. Available from:
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