Activating the Corporate Sector as a “Lever” to Push a Water Resilience Tipping Point in California and Beyond; A Q&A with the Pacific Institute, a Global Water Research Organization

By Amanda Bielawski and Cora Kammeyer

In this Q&A, Journal of Sustainability Education (JSE) senior editor Amanda Bielawski interviews Cora Kammeyer, research associate at the Pacific Institute, a California-based non-profit research organization focused on global water challenges. Together, they discuss the role of sustainability education, specifically within the corporate sector, in achieving water resilience in the midst of a changing climate in California and beyond. Following a discussion of California’s water challenges, this piece explores how the California Water Action Collaborative (CWAC) brings together corporations, including Coca-Cola, Google, and Proctor & Gamble, with NGOs such as The Nature Conservancy, WWF, and the Environmental Defense Fund, to engage in collective action and drive corporate water literacy. The interview explores, in part, why the corporate sector is “one of the biggest and most important levers for achieving global water security.”

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Learning and Teaching About Environmental Justice and the Right to Clean Water: From Flint to the Dakota Access Pipeline

By Cleary Vaughan-Lee and Sara Dorman

The Flint water crisis, considered one of the worst public health crises of our time, continues to have devastating and irreversible impacts for residents six years in the making, from 2014 to present. The understanding and awareness of this public health crisis is vital in order to comprehend the impacts of poor urban management and the human right to clean water in the nation’s marginalized and poor communities. This article will document the context of the Flint water crisis and the Dakota Access Pipeline using photography as an immersive storytelling medium to humanize the issue. Additional stories, including those of Indigenous youth water activist Autumn Peltier and Flint youth activist Mari Copeny, document innovative ways in which we can contribute to a more informed society. Educators provide various ways to integrate the themes of environmental justice, water accessibility, sustainability, and climate change across multiple subject areas.

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Photo Essay

Words for Water

By Mary Dougherty

This photo essay is an excerpt of a longer work, Words for Water.

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Journey

The Body that is a River

By Eileen Delehanty Pearkes

An Indigenous salmon re-joining ceremony on the dammed Columbia River inspires a broader understanding of the potential for human participation in healthy natural systems.

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Water Scarcity and Social Vulnerabilities: A Multi-Dimensional Perspective of Water Challenges in Pakistan

By Zahra Khan Durrani

Access to fresh water is every individual’s universal and human right, and it is a key instrument in meeting the sustainable development goals given the important social, economic, and political roles that this natural resource pertains to. But the reality is that millions of people across the globe are suffering because water resources are diminishing. World leaders, researchers, and journalists, have gone as far as to say that water scarcity will be the next probable cause for world conflict (Molen & Antoinette, 2005). Yet issues regarding the insufficiency of water are not talked about extensively in the world, and the planet turns a blind eye to the global water crisis, assuming it to be a renewable natural resource that nature will keep on recharging. But the truth is, that human demand for ecological resources has been exhausting resources faster than the nature has the capacity to replenish them, and if human habits and unsustainable use of resources do not change than global resource crisis, like the present global water scarcity crisis, will surely intensify and become the leading cause for conflicts (Shahid, 2016). One major cause for the lack of mainstreaming of the water crisis is because of its portrayal as a stand-alone issue to the general public, owing greatly to the lack of world governments and their inability to contextualize it as a multi-dimensional problem. This paper highlights the crucial need for adopting a multi-dimensional approach for the dissemination of the problem. It follows an exploratory stance and sheds light on the multipronged social challenges and resulting vulnerabilities associated with water challenges in Pakistan.

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Case Study: Urban revival and appropriate storm water management (Youngstown State University)

By Robert Korenic

Youngstown State University, an Urban Research Institution located in Youngstown, Ohio (Mahoning County), has experienced significant infrastructure improvements over the last several years. The improvements center around new dormitories, academic buildings and parking areas located to the south of the campus. Prior to these additions, the improved areas were parking lots, grass and tree areas and other structures that were subsequently demolished to make room for the infrastructure improvements. Due to the aforementioned activity, the storm water patterns, drainage and quantities were increased causing storm water runoff accumulations and significant ponding on Rayen Avenue and Belmont Avenue which meet at the south end of campus.
This situation is not abnormal. Every urban area that is revitalized with new buildings and parking structures undergoes a significant change in storm water runoff patterns and areas of drainage or groundwater recharge. At Youngstown State University, there has been no known attempt to quantify the amount of change (increase) of runoff from the original conditions to the current. The focus of this research will be two – fold. First, to find accurate quantities of runoff (pre and post development improvements) and expand on sustainable storm water management techniques that can be incorporated in urban areas including bioswales and rain gardens. Second, to include a group of sophomore engineering technology students in a meaningful, real world engineering technology analysis project similar to what they will be completing while practicing. (storm water, runoff, drainage, mapping)

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Strengthening Water Cycle Literacy among Senior High School Students in East Java Province, Indonesia through the Application of the Conservation-Based Learning Model

By Sukarsono Sukarsono, Lise Chamisijatin, Eko Susetyarini and Fuad Jaya Miharja

Water cycle literacy attracts great attention to the observers of climate change. Local and global impacts of the water cycle threaten human life and damage the Earth. Education is expected to be able to provide a way out of this problem. A Conservation-Based Learning (CBL) model was employed to understand the water cycle literacy among students in three cities in East Java province, Indonesia. There were 6 (six) Senior High Schools with a total number of 396 students serving as the sample. Each school consisted of common classes and CBL classes. Water cycle literacy aspects included knowledge, values, cognitive behavior, and acting behavior. The data were analyzed using a descriptive quantitative, and qualitative approach. The data were analyzed using a descriptive quantitative, and qualitative approach. The literacy aspect of values, attitudes, thinking, and acting skills in the water cycle in the CDL class is higher than that of the common class. Learning the water cycle using the CBL model gave significant effects on the students’ strengthening of water cycle literacy (sig. 0.5).

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Book Review: Our Blue Mind: Lessons for a Changing Climate

By Scott Ramsey

This is a media review of Dr. Wallace Nichols’ (2014) text Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do—with a specific focus on the book’s perspectives on the connections between water and climate change. The review describes the book as a sentinel text, noting that “its related summits have similarly set the stage for continued dialogue and research on our preference for water and the unique qualities that proximity to water has on our overall wellness.” The review specifically illustrates the ways in which the book “offers readers important strategies for dealing with the emotional challenges associated with climate change as well as suggests important insights into climate advocacy.”

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Global Youth Water Leaders Call for Urgent Water-Climate Action, Highlight Role of Sustainability Education in Statement to United Nations General Assembly; A Q&A with Diana Virgovicova, Stockholm Junior Water Prize Recipient

By Amanda Bielawski and Diana Virgovicova

In this Q&A, Journal of Sustainability Education senior editor Amanda Bielawski interviews Diana Virgovicova, recipient of the 2019 Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP). Virgovicova was among the SJWP recipients who recently issued a joint statement to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly that focused on the urgent need for water action, recognizing its intricate links to climate change. Rooted in the praxis framework, the joint statement focused on the critical role sustainability education, specifically, must and will play in turning scientific knowledge about the water-climate connection into actual action through policy change and other means. In this interview, Virgovicova underscored this point: “Education is the way to solve the water-climate sustainability crisis. We need to get more people involved. I think it is regrettable that environmental education is not a required assessment in schools.”

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How Climate Change is Increasing Demand for Water-Related Curricular Resources; A Q&A with the California Academy of Sciences

By Amanda Bielawski and Megan Schufreider

Journal of Sustainability Education senior editor Amanda Bielawski sits down with Megan Schufreider, director of education for the California Academy of Sciences to discuss how climate change is creating more demand for water-related curricular resources, with a specific emphasis on the importance of teaching about virtual water footprints. The Q&A interview concludes with a list of water-related curricular resources, including various water footprint calculators, available to both educators and the public.

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Undergraduate Education about Water and Climate Change: Students’ Use of a Water Balance Model

By Diane Lally, Trenton E. Franz and Cory T. Forbes

Students need to possess accurate conceptions of both Earth’s climate and water systems due to the ramifications of climate change. Using computer-based simulation models gives students practice making and testing hypotheses and conveying comprehension. Gaps exist in the availability of climate change courses and opportunities to use computer-based model both at the introductory level. This case study presents the use of a computer-based model over three iterations of an introductory water course. Data came from student assignments and interviews (n=129). Results of quantitative and qualitative data analyses show that students, regardless of gender, year in school, or major, can effectively apply the Water Balance Model (WBM) to the investigation of climate and groundwater variables. In concert with a flipped course format, students gain experience using the WBM to make decisions surrounding humans, climate, and water to explore the interconnectivity of systems.

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The Sabils of Cairo: Small Scale Urban Adaptations to Water Stress

By Tessa Farmer, Mel Throckmorton and Fazlah Rahaman

The Egyptian city of Cairo has a long history of charitably endowed water fountains, called sabils, that form an integral part of the urban landscape by offering drinking water to passersby. The local knowledge of sabil keepers and users in Cairo offers perspective into the value of centering ethical frameworks in conversations about water resilience. As global climate change has manifested in cities in the Middle East, urban dwellers, particularly those with the fewest resources, face mounting problems with water insecurity. This paper examines how two communities in Cairo are using sabils to modify their built environment to better serve their water needs and contextualizes the ways in which religion and systems of reciprocity are integral to these local processes. This article examines the knowledge contained in the sabil practices of marginalized urban communities through the educational strategy of ethnographic research in a joint faculty-undergraduate team.

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Opinion

In search of “We the People” in Light of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”

By Helen I. Lepp Friesen

Abstract: In this article, I view Alvarez Armando’s “We the People” sculpture in Gallup, New Mexico, through the lens of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” and argue that although the message of the “We the People” art installation is to illustrate democracy and freedom, its staticity may contradict its intent and adds an additional layer to its interpretation. The “We the People” art sculpture invites interaction, but interaction, like in Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” is limited in scope and perception. My exploration comes with questions about the meaning of cave dwelling and enlightenment. What is the meaning of “We the People” when equality is not something every citizen can take for granted? Are we then an enlightened society that think we have gained exit from cave dwelling when freedom and a particular interpretation of democracy is not designed for everyone?

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Opinion

The Teaching Bioshelter: A Missing Resource for Sustainability Education

By Scott Stokoe

Abstract:  The new educational revolution of Educating for Sustainability needs to be taught in a new, revolutionary teaching space; a teaching bioshelter. Drawing on the five ecological principles of the Center for Ecoliteracy, this new teaching space should reflect ecocentric design principles, rather than the previous anthropocentric industrial designs of our current school and college classrooms and campuses. A solar-powered, living classroom, a system of systems, such as a teaching bioshelter, opens new educational horizons by providing continuously available and hands-on learning environments not currently available to the Educating for Sustainability (EfS) curriculum. Fortunately, the architectural and technical design work for these kinds of spaces was pioneered nearly 50 years ago by numerous cutting-edge research groups, such as the New Alchemy Institute. It is suggested that these two ecological flows, of design and education, be joined to enhance and expand the mission of Educating for Sustainability.

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Report

Using sustainability education to enhance a sense of belonging and community among first-year college students

By Robin A. Lewis, Brandon B. Barile, Thomas E. Drennan and Robert Beutner

Abstract
On campuses across the world, faculty, staff, and administrators continue to wrestle with how best to foster a stronger sense of belonging and community among first-year college students. Research in the field of education for sustainability (EfS) suggests that utilizing a cohort-based approach to sustainability education can lead to a number of positive outcomes for participating students and the broader campus culture. Meanwhile, student affairs research demonstrates the value of living/learning communities (LLCs) in supporting undergraduate students as they transition to college. This paper showcases the experience of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in implementing a sustainability-themed LLC on its campus, highlighting how one institution is utilizing sustainability education to build community among first-year college students.

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Case Study

O Grows, Community-Based Food Systems, and the Sustainability Compass

By Sean A. Forbes and Carey E. Andrzejewski

Abstract: This program feature documents our reflections on how the work of O Grows, is, or more accurately has become, increasingly sustainability-oriented. O Grows is a non-profit, community-university partnership with the mission to leverage the local capacity in service of community food needs. Specifically, we focus here on how engagement with an increasing number of sectors of the local food system, as we work toward this mission, has demonstrated a commensurate increase in alignment with the cardinal directions of the sustainability compass—attention to Nature, Society, Economy, and Wellbeing. We have realized, as O Grows has evolved, that keeping the program going and attending to sustainability are one and the same. As such, we argue the sustainability compass is a useful heuristic not only for reflection after-the-fact but also for partnership planning.

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Lessons from Aotearoa’s Pōhutukawa in the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages and Beyond.

By Lewis Williams

The inspiration for this article came initially from the striking presence of the Pōhutukawa here in Aotearoa during summer combined with the profound experience of undertaking an ancestral journey with my mother along the East Coast, an area of special significance to my iwi (tribe). The journey sparked a number of personal and professional reflections which led to me undertaking some research on the bio-physical and linguistic origins of the Pōhutukawa. This article outlines these as well articulating three principles arising from these reflections which I have continue to apply to my sustainability education endeavours in the 2019 Year of Indigenous Languages and beyond.

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Student-designed greenhouse for sustainability competencies

By Ian Carbone, Kelly Boulton, Sarah Nathan and Bennett Gould

This case study describes a student-led campus sustainability initiative to design and implement a power-generating greenhouse at Allegheny College. The design of the greenhouse was carried out by students in collaboration with professionals in a variety of learning settings including research seminars, independent studies, paid internships, and senior thesis projects. By providing a detailed account of the student-driven design process and structuring the analysis around a framework of documented sustainability competencies, this paper identifies challenges and opportunities for utilizing living labs for sustainability education. Researchers observed that students who contributed to greenhouse development in multiple capacities developed several sustainable competencies. The project also demonstrates the difficulty of engaging students in both the planning and implementation stages of multi-year efforts. While the student-led design process introduced new logistical challenges, deep levels of student commitment and unique student backgrounds were critical to the greenhouse project’s success.

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Hacking down disciplinary walls: Advancing sustainability and interprofessional competencies through a hackathon model

By Rachelle Haddock, Dr. Rahim Kachra and Dr. Nishan Sharma

The Calgary Interprofessional Challenge (CIC) engages university students across disciplines in a novel 44-hour hackathon based on faculty and peer-to-peer interprofessional education. CIC uses short introductory talks on problem-solving in different faculties, a series of workshops, and expert mentorship from university faculty, relevant specialists, and entrepreneurs as its core curriculum. A recent offering of CIC used the campus as a learning lab by focusing on a sustainability challenge at our university. The CIC model can be replicated at other campuses to advance sustainability, while cultivating interprofessional and sustainability practice competencies such as stakeholder engagement, group collaboration, and understanding of different worldviews and relationships. 

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Climate Change Junction, What’s Your Function? Exploring the Impacts of Climate Change with Community College ESL Students

By Anouchka Rachelson

A semester-long ESL curriculum centered on the impacts of climate change was conceptualized and implemented at a community college English for Academic Purposes program in South Florida during the 2018-2019 academic year. After reading the 2018 IPCC report, a sense of urgency led to assembling and developing relevant materials, applying and extending lesson plans, creating collaborative projects to foster student engagement, and participating in professional development to help students acquire the necessary language skills and climate change-related content knowledge they need to understand and address the challenges their community is facing.

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Building a Foundation for Sustainable Principles: Case Studies of K-6 Green Ribbon Schools

By Linda H. Plevyak, Sara M. Tamsukhin and Randall Gibson

As schools provide students with choice, support the development of critical thinking skills and promote project-based learning, incorporating a focus on sustainability is a natural progression of the learning process. In 2012, the US Department of Education (DoE) developed a federal outreach initiative entitled Green Ribbon Schools (GRS) that promotes sustainability, healthy living, and collaborative efforts. The catalyst behind this initiative was a group of non-profit organizations, including the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). This research focuses on case studies of K-6 schools that have been awarded the Green Ribbon School designation and how these schools build a foundation for adopting and continuing sustainable principles. Specific K-6 schools were identified and teachers and administrators from those schools were interviewed as to how they incorporated the three pillars of green ribbon schools (reducing environmental impact, improving health and wellness and offering effective environmental and sustainability education) into their existing curriculum and physical structure. Nine thematic categories were found to be the driving factors that supported the GRS success in their sustainable policies. The themes from this research help to articulate the conditions needed to create and advance sustainability initiatives.

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David Selby’s Radical Approach to Sustainability Education

By Sue L. T. McGregor

Although higher education institutions are being encouraged to reorient their curricula to address sustainability, not everyone accepts the tenets of the United Nations’ mainstream approach to education for sustainable development (ESD), especially David Selby. This paper recounts intellectual gold nuggets garnered from critically reading his scholarship about education for sustainable contraction to counter climate change and global heating (instead of global warming). His ideas are deemed both enticing and disconcerting but apropos for these ‘interesting times.’ They provide a way for people to walk a different path than mainstream ESD one that respects transience, contraction, moderation and sustainability. This can best be achieved by deep education leading to deep, quantum learning so people can engage with the fears and truths staring them in the face. The thoughts shared in this paper should resonate with educators, politicians, industry leaders, civil society and the media.

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Sustainability Education Case Studies: Developing a Sustainable Design Culture in Chinese Higher Education

By Lam Yan Yan and Duan Sheng Feng

Sustainable development and creative thinking have become central aspects of Higher Education in today’s multidisciplinary world. With the balance between learning and teaching priorities in mind, the Design Academy, Sichuan Fine Arts Institute and School of Design, Jiangnan University incorporated the author’s newly evolved teaching methodology — 3Ac: ‘Acknowledgment, Action and Accountability’ model of sustainable development and creativity — into its taught programs at all levels. The 3Ac model is a formative learning method for building the capabilities of individuals to create changes toward sustainable development.  This paper first defines the 3Ac design methodology (Acknowledgment, Action, and Accountability) in the context of sustainable development and education: Acknowledgment is the appreciation and recognition of the importance of sustainable development in the face of global challenges, with a particular focus on team effort, co-design and sharing findings and practices.  Action is the establishment of design strategy and action plans that consider not only the importance of intentions, goals, affordable and reachable resources but also a clear road map for achieving maximum efficiency when tackling the most challenging tasks.  Accountability deals with a growing understanding of the benefits of working together to tackle global challenges such as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices. The framework aims to develop students’ capabilities through case studies of undergraduate, graduate and continuing professional development of young designers. Based on evidence from the feedback and evaluation of action research, the research team plans to further refine the 3Ac design teaching methodology and create a model that can be implemented and scaled effectively with collaborative partners from the community, business and local government.

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Call for Papers: Water Resilience

By Amanda Bielawski and Clare Hintz

“Educating for Water Resilience in the Context of Climate Crisis” To coincide with United Nations World Water Day: March 22, 2020   PDF: JSE Call for Papers-March 2020 Special Issue-Water & Climate Crisis “We are now on the verge of water bankruptcy in many places around the world with no clear way of repaying the debt.”  […]

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 Call for Papers: Ecomedia Literacy

By Antonio Lopez, Theresa Redmond, Jeff Share and Clare Hintz

Historically there has been a divide between practitioners of media education and environmental education. The causes vary, but can be traced to the legacy of how media studies has neglected to examine the environmental consequences of information and communication technology (ICT), and a historical distrust of technology and media among environmentalists. In recent years emerging fields are bridging this gap, including ecomedia studies, environmental humanities, environmental communication, green cultural studies, ecocinema studies, postcolonial ecocriticism, and ecocriticism. We now have an opportunity to bring sustainability educators into the conversation by exploring mutual interests and crossover between media and sustainability educators. This special issue intends to open up this discussion with innovative and cross-disciplinary scholarship and case studies.

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Case Study

Finding the Math in the Mountains: Place-based Learning in the Mountains of Southwest Virginia

By Heather Askea

Abstract: The purpose of this article is to provide key aspects and learning outcomes associated with the Math of the Mountains Project. Math of the Mountains was a year long grant project that engaged 60 K12 mathematics teachers in the key concepts and applications of place-based learning and mathematics instruction. Through online coursework and peer support, a four-day immersive field experience, and teacher led field experiences, participants applied elements of PBL to create lesson activities that support real-world learning and problem solving scenarios.

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Editorial Overview: April 2019 General Issue

By Amanda Bielawski

This general issue of the Journal of Sustainability Education provides a wide range of articles related to student perspectives of sustainability as well as pedagogical frameworks for teaching it—with a focus on higher education. Four full articles explore various aspects of college and university students’ more-personal sustainability awareness, empowerment, and identity.  In “Sulitest®: A Mixed-Method, Pilot Study […]

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Case Study

Sulitest®: A Mixed-Method, Pilot Study of Assessment Impacts on Undergraduate Sustainability-related Learning and Motivation

By Alicia M. Mason

Abstract: A United Nations international collaboration between the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) resulted in the creation of Sulitest® (aka Sustainability Literacy Test) an open, online training and assessment tool freely available to higher education institutions globally. This study analyzes the effectiveness of the newly developed Sulitest® to not only measure sustainability literacy of higher education student populations, but also act as a catalyst for boosting affective learning outcomes by: (a) generating interest in sustainability-related issues, (b) improving sustainability-related understandings, and (c) enhancing students’ interests in the subject matter. In order to do so we present a two-phase, exploratory mixed-method pilot study. Preliminary results from this pilot study reveal Sulitest is a useful tool for not only assessing sustainability literacy but also spurring student interests and motivations in sustainability-related subject matters. Findings, discussion and limitations are provided.

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The Relationship between University Students’ Environmental Identity, Decision-Making Process, and Behavior

By Allison Freed and David Wong

Abstract: Environmental education scholars have argued for the need to focus on identity as a more predictive factor than attitude of individuals’ environmental behavior. We examine individuals’ decision-making as a mediating process between identity and behavior. University undergraduates (n=299) were surveyed, with a select sub-sample interviewed. As expected, environmental identity was correlated with pro-environment behavior (recycling). However, students with lower pro-environmental identity also recycled regularly. Similarly, analysis of decision-making revealed most students, regardless of their environmental identity, do not think much when recycling. Environmental structures such as presence of recycling bins surfaced as a powerful influence on pro-environment behavior.

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Case Study

The Development of Citizen Educators at a Remote Graduate Science Education Program

By Cliff Harbour

Abstract: This paper describes and explains findings from an exploratory, interpretative qualitative case study that examined how a residential graduate program in science education, based in a wilderness area, supported the development of citizen educators. Data collection over a three-year period included 16 in-depth interviews with administrators, faculty, and graduate students; observations of class activities and campus community meetings; and document analysis of curriculum materials. Analysis of the data revealed how the culture of the campus community encouraged students to become citizen educators.

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Case Study

“Writing makes it easier to relate to the Environment” – The Valuable Role of the Composition Classroom in our Threatened Environment

By Yasmin Rioux

Abstract: The author examines the role and influence of a place-based Environmental Literature and Writing class on her undergraduate students’ perception of their personal position within their immediate and extended environments. Further, the author aims at gaining a better understanding of what course elements the students found particularly valuable and effective in the realization of their agency within our environmental context, and what role writing played in the students’ reflections and examinations of the complex relationships between self, nature, and matters pertaining to sustainability and the future of our natural habitats. By assessing student writing, collecting questionnaires, and conducting open-question interviews, the author explores her students’ impressions and experiences of navigating global and local environmental issues through a Humanities-based course.

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Journey

Creative Social Stewardship, Artistic Engagement, and the Environment

By Cara Hagan and Theresa Redmond

Abstract: This article describes an innovative, grant-funded symposium for creative social stewardship that sought to blend the triad of art, education, and the natural environment through a focus on socio-cultural sustainability and community engagement. The purpose of this article is to share foundational information related to the origins of the symposium, describe the tenants of community arts initiatives, feature a session snapshot, and discuss the value of creative social stewardship as a part of daily practice. We conclude by making recommendations for future endeavors in cultivating creative social stewardship conferences or initiatives, ultimately promoting the idea that collaborative, community-based and arts-focused events might inspire reflection on connection, nature, and creativity in ways that nurture sustainability.

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Media Review

The Community Food Forest Handbook: A Review

By Clare Hintz

“The Community Food Forest Handbook: How to Plan, Organize, and Nurture Edible Gathering Places” by Catherine Bukowski and John Munsell is a rare edition to the literatures of permaculture and agroecology: it foregrounds sociocultural dimensions in the context of ecological design. 

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Report

Development of an Energy Literacy Measure for Middle School Students

By R. Justin Hougham, Chad Gotch, Jennifer A. Schon, Karla Eitel and Danica Hendrickson

Abstract: Energy literacy, defined by the DOE, “is an understanding of nature and role of energy in the universe and in our lives” and, “…is also the ability to apply this understanding to answer questions and solve problems” (U.S. Department of Energy, 2013). Energy literacy is continuously evolving with the development of new feedstocks, technologies, and processes – all of which contribute to the changing landscape of energy production and use. In order for energy education to evolve with the energy field, better tools are needed to assess educational programs. The assessment discussed here is a step towards developing such an assessment for bioenergy.

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Journey

An Urban Nature Center: Take 2. My Journey to Sustainability Education in Rebuilding a Nature Center

By Brenda Walkenhorst

An Urban Nature Center: Take 2. My Journey to Sustainability Education in Rebuilding a Nature Center

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Report

A Research Coordination Network’s Impact on Sustainability Open Education

By Hong Xu

Abstract: The research coordination network (RCN) – Climate, Energy, Environment and Engagement in Semiarid Regions (CE3SAR) is a NSF funded five-year project (2012 to 2016, extend to 2017). One goal of the RCN CE3SAR project is to enhance sustainability education in South Texas. To achieve this goal, the RCN CE3SAR steering committee adopted two strategies: creating learning objects and supporting open education. This article reports the process and methods of creating and publishing RCN CE3SAR sustainability learning objects as open education resources.

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Scholarly Features

Assessing Air Quality through a Sustainable Educational Model

By Josefina Villavicencio, Alexandra Benitez, Jessica Barlow and Zohir Chowdhury

The purpose of this paper is to describe the application of a sustainable learning framework through a community-based project in the Southern California region. The Sage Project is a partnership between San Diego State University (SDSU) and a local government in San Diego, California. The framework promoted educational innovation by allowing students to utilize existing courses and focus on partner-identified real-world projects to help advance the needs of partnering cities. Recognizing the need for air quality research in the partner cities and after consulting with both local governments regarding their environmental needs, SDSU graduate students were able to conduct research and communicate their results concerning air quality in a manner that benefits local community stakeholders, as well as, the university and students involved. Through the assembly and quantification of air pollution data, graduate students provided a brief snapshot of air quality trends in partnering cities to establish a foundation of air quality results to be used toward generating mitigation strategies to reduce particulate matter air pollution. By providing never before conducted air quality research in both communities through a sustainable educational model, both community partners and students benefited through enhanced research and community engagement opportunities while community partners obtained valuable and informative research, ideas, and solutions concerning their community needs. This paper provides a demonstration of the ability for project-based curricula facilitated through a community and university partnership to be replicable in higher education coursework.

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Sustainability Knowledge Assessment at a Large, Regional, Minority-Serving Institution

By Loraine L. Lundquist, Kiana Lucero and Helen Cox

To assess the sustainability literacy of students at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), we administered a modified version of the Assessment of Sustainability Knowledge (ASK) to 2,993 students in 60 courses over 5 semesters. CSUN is a large minority-serving institution with a regional focus. Within the general student population, students gain about 2.7 percentage points each year as they progress from freshman to senior year. For each sustainability-related course they take (up to 3), they also gain an average of 2.7 percentage points. Within our core sustainability courses, students gain an average of 11.6 percentage points from pre-test to post-test. Students enter CSUN with a statistically significant gender gap in sustainability knowledge with males having average scores 7.6 percentage points higher than females, but the gender gap closes completely by completion of coursework in a sustainability minor program. Our students enter college with less sustainability knowledge than those in two other more selective institutions who conducted similar surveys (Ohio State University and Wartburg College) but gain knowledge at a similar rate. We also find that students with more prior sustainability knowledge self-select into sustainability courses and that students from different majors improve sustainability knowledge at different rates when taking related courses.

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Looking for Sustainable Systems on Campus

By Andrea Frank and Aaron D. Knochel

Abstract: Higher education campuses play an important role in developing visionary models of sustainability that integrate campus facilities, student learning, and research. We reflect on a series of visits to campuses within New York state utilizing systems thinking analysis of sustainable initiatives finding interconnections between buildings, pedagogy, and campus life. Campus infrastructure-systems, curriculum, and campus actors present agentic interconnections that contribute to teaching the campus community about sustainable systems. Our journey presents three big ideas for conceptualizing our encounters: wayfinding, defining occupancy, and implementing a vision that articulate how campus spaces and green infrastructures exert agency in teaching us about sustainable living. These big ideas are explored to conceptualize and reflect on our role as art and design faculty to use our workplace and hence campus life as a context within which to speculate on sustainable living.

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Socially Engaged Art and Agriculture: Experimenting with Extension

By Lucas Ihlein, Laura Fisher, Kim Williams and Simon Mattsson

Abstract: Solutions to environmentally damaging human practices require cooperation between many different communities. This article explores sustainability-focused education through the lens of a current work-in-progress, Sugar vs the Reef?, which involves collaboration between sugarcane farmers and artists in the arable catchment of the Great Barrier Reef in North Queensland. This is a socially engaged art project that is addressing the fraught relationship between the region’s agriculture and the fragile ecology of the Reef. We introduce some of the specific aspects of socially engaged art (SEA) which commend it as a cross-disciplinary method for bridging diverse individuals and organisations – in particular, the notion of a “holding environment” for complex socio-ecological situations. We consider how this approach might broaden the agricultural practice of “extension” which aims to transform farming through educational outreach. Ideas emerging from contemporary socially engaged art practice may contribute to a toolkit for researchers and practitioners within and beyond the academy who are searching for ways to overcome the limitations of current methodologies and movements for social change.

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Case Study

Indigenous Sustainabilities: Decolonization, Education, and Collaboration at the Ojibwe Winter Games

By B. Marcus Cederström, Tim Frandy and Colin Gioia Connors

Abstract: In this article, we examine the collaborative efforts of university-employed folklorists with Waaswaaganing Anishinaabe (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe) teachers and community leaders in what is currently known as northern Wisconsin. Focusing on the Ojibwe Winter Games—an annual weeklong event in February for middle school students that aims to revitalize traditional competitive games—we suggest that decolonizing sustainability education requires recognition that sustainability is pluralistic and culturally specific. Educators must facilitate a restorative systemic shift towards Indigenous sustainabilities through Indigenous-centered pedagogies and methods of knowledge production. In order to accomplish such a shift, our responsibility as academics and public folklorists must always be to the Indigenous communities with whom we work. We explore the role of non-Indigenous collaborators in Indigenous-led decolonization efforts, in developing educational systems that support and sustain Indigenous knowledge systems, and in the repatriation and rematriation of land, language, and culture.

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Opinion

Gratitude as Ceremony: A Practical Guide to Decolonization

By Kahsto’sera’a Paulette Moore and Tehahenteh Frank Miller

Abstract: Throughout 2016 and 2017 more than 300 Indigenous nations from around the globe united on the plains of North Dakota, where Standing Rock affinity camps provided space for native prophecy and ceremony to play out in ways meaningful to our modern times. Standing Rock protection actions made clear to all what we’ve known for centuries: Indigenous peoples’ relationship to the natural world provides a powerful antidote to the prevailing madness that insists nature and people are expendable as long as money is being made. Within our own Rotinonhsyón:ni (Iroquois) nations the act of gratitude is at the heart of our key ceremony that connects us to our Earth as it dissipates this violent culture.

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Heritage

By Ron Riekki

Heritage

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Poetic Essay

The White Kid at the Native American Camp

By Ron Riekki

The White Kid at the Native American Camp

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Poetic Essay

Saami

By Ron Riekki

Saami

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Editorial

Indigenizing Sustainabilities, Sustaining Indigeneities: Decolonization, Sustainability, and Education

By Tim Frandy

Abstract: Decolonization is a multifaceted and complex process, involving a wide range of concepts, including the restoration of Indigenous lands to Indigenous control, improved recognition of tribal sovereignty, strengthening of Indigenous worldviews and knowledge traditions, cultivating cultural responsiveness in education and health care, aligning research methods with Indigenous cultural priorities and values, and more.

This special issue of the Journal of Sustainability Education on the topic of Decolonization and Sustainability Education reflects many of these diverse projects. The issue is inclusive of Indigenous and allied voices, of academic and Indigenous discourses, of large-scale political actions and—what Jeff Corntassel calls—“everyday acts of resurgence.” The selections are arranged in ways that center Indigenous voices and the work on the ground that reinforces Indigenous sustainabilities and Indigenous-centered pedagogies.

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Case Study

Our Ways: Culture as the Heart of the Indian Community School

By Carol Ann Amour, Anthony Brazouski, Jason Dropik, Jacob Jones and Mark Powless

Abstract: Since the 1990s research has been telling us that indigenous students do better in school when they are connected to their cultures. Our experience affirms studies concluding that students who have strong connections to their culture are more resilient and have a stronger sense of efficacy.

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Case Study

An Experience in Environmental Education with University Students

By Raúl Calixto Flores

The educational experience described in this article was developed in the course “Social and Cultural Contexts of Teaching” for the Sociology of Education bachelor’s degree at the National Pedagogical University, Mexico. In this course, students are expected to develop favorable attitudes toward the environment. The student’s defined environmental problems made a diagnosis and elaborated a case study, to discuss concrete solutions in their community. The educational experience included several moments: framing, joint planning of individual and group activities, and development of the case study. The balance of the results of the course was favorable; the group learned to work cooperatively, mutual trust prevailed within the teams, group agreements were respected, the group goal was clearly defined, and a case study was delineated and developed.

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Case Study

Una Experiencia En Educación Ambiental Con Estudiantes Universitarios

By Raúl Calixto Flores

La experiencia educativa que se describe en este artículo se desarrolló en el curso “Contextos sociales y culturales de la enseñanza” de la licenciatura de Sociología de la Educación en la Universidad Pedagógica Nacional, México. En este curso, se espera que los estudiantes desarrollen actitudes favorable hacia el medio ambiente; los estudiantes delimitaron problemas ambientales, hicieron un diagnóstico y elaboraron un estudio de caso, para discutir soluciones concretas. Desde el reconocimiento de la crisis ambiental y un problema ambiental específico, los estudiantes desarrollan un estudio de caso de un problema ambiental de su comunidad. La experiencia educativa comprende varios momentos: encuadre, planificación conjunta de actividades individuales, grupales y desarrollo del estudio de caso. El balance de los resultados del curso fue favorable; el grupo aprendió a trabajar de forma cooperativa, prevaleció la confianza mutua dentro de los equipos, se respetaron los acuerdos grupales, se definió claramente el objetivo del grupo y se delineó y desarrolló un estudio de caso.

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Scholarly Features

Learning Sustainable Cultural Safety in a Crowded, Warming World

By Alexander Lautensach and Sabina Lautensach

Among all the pressing needs for educational innovations that we face today, arguably the most imperative is the need to elicit learners’ active collaboration towards a ‘Great Transition’ into a secure and sustainable future for humanity. Among the numerous challenges that this endeavour entails, the anticipated arrival of unprecedented numbers of climate refugees will severely challenge the capacities of host institutions to maintain human security – connecting to a second pressing need, namely to promote and maintain cultural safety for newcomers and hosts. We focus on the question how compatible those two educational projects might be. To what extent could a Transition curriculum include and inform a curriculum for cultural safety, and how could a curriculum devoted to the principles of decolonisation internalise the need for living within our means? Neither one can be successful without the other. In general the two educational projects are reconcilable and inform and reinforce each other. However, some specific objectives of the Transition curriculum, mainly in the affective domain, require careful attention to cultural differences and reasoned compromise.

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