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 Theresa Redmond, Antonio Lopez 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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Seeing Snow: A Siftr Challenge Aimed at Transforming Student Perceptions of the Winter Environment and Indigenous Traditional Knowledge

By Thomas A. DuBois

Abstract: This paper introduces an experiential learning assignment “Snow Challenge 2015” incorporated into an undergraduate-level interdisciplinary humanities and social science-based course focusing on a single Arctic Indigenous culture: the Sámi [Lapps] of Finland, Norway, Sweden, and the Kola Peninsula. The assignment used the open-source app Siftr and an accompanying open-access informational website on Sámi snow terms to allow students to apply Lule Sámi snow terminology to snow phenomena they observed in and around their home campuses and neighborhoods. The assignment’s goal was to enhance student learning related to each of the four categories of environmental literacy presented in Hollweg et al.’s (2011) framework: knowledge, attitudes, competencies, and behaviors. A content analysis of a random sampling of student essays written at the conclusion of the assignment showed significant enhancement of student learning, particularly in the areas of attitudes and competencies. The assignment helped model for students the value and nature of an Indigenous-centered curriculum and the pragmatic nature of Indigenous traditional knowledge in living effectively within a winter environment.

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Case Study

Ancient Wisdom, Modern Times: Decolonizing Education Paradigms in a Southwestern Tribal Community

By Carrie Calisay Cannon

Abstract: For millennia, education for the Hualapai Tribal people was learned through intergenerational lessons taught with the family. This provided younger generations with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in harsh desert environments. Over the past centuries tribal education has undergone numerous transitions. For the past twelve years the Hualapai Ethnobotany Youth Project has implemented an intergenerational learning program with the elders and youth of the tribal community to instill the centuries old knowledge that could only have been obtained through generations of experience. The program looks to new ways in modern times to teach the old ways in maintaining the continuity of knowledge that only the grandparents can remember.

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Case Study

Stories of Place: Ojibwe Knowledge and Environmental Stewardship in the Northwoods

By Eleva Potter and Jerry Jondreau

Ojibwe education is used at Conserve School, an environmental semester school, to help high school students better understand diverse perspectives on stewardship and to explore the history, cultures and place of the Northwoods of Wisconsin. In the Environmental Stewardship class, students learn about indigenous history, culture and environmental perspectives from a local Ojibwe forester. The students use this perspective to help them appreciate their place at Conserve School and explore their own environmental ethics. Students also participate in Ojibwe seasonal celebrations to better comprehend how place and people are interrelated.

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The Hidden Curriculum of Sustainable Development: The Case of Curriculum Analysis in France

By Angela Barthes

Since a curriculum represents a selection of socially constructed knowledge, it should be interpreted as a stake-holder in an ideological process. It is a political issue whose forms depend, among other things, on the degree to which education systems are centralized. Today, supranational bodies can influence the curriculum, particularly within the framework of UNESCO’s implementation of the decade of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Consequently, examining the curricula associated with the emergence of ESD involves examining the politics underlying them, politics which are not always explicitly stated – hence the interest in the concept of a hidden curriculum. The purpose of this study is to analyze the ESD curriculum in France. To this end, we use a methodology that considers the main work conducted about ESD in the framework of French research programs and based on the concept of hidden curriculum. This requires performing a diachronic analysis of changes in curriculum choices and forms of schooling, and identifying the value system underlying those changes. We identify several of the main characteristics of those changes, including in terms of project dynamics, partnership, transdisciplinarity, the role of knowledge, the distance from practice, and the persistence of a western conception of development. We then situate the French specificities within the international context.

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Regenerative Agriculture: Editorial Overview

By Clare Hintz

In this issue of the Journal of Sustainability Education we explore regenerative agriculture, traveling from the inner city to the shores of Lake Superior. The research in this issue integrates both an ecological and social justice perspective and approaches the theme in a multitude of ways. Each writer actively explored the intersections between agriculture, land, […]

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Editorial Overview: Measuring Sustainability: An artist’s reflection on the 29 years since Wendell Berry’s “Nature as Measure”

By Anna Metcalfe

Link: Table of Contents — Art, Social Change, and a Vision of Sustainability Sustainability – its meaning is often as elusive as the ideal itself. As an artist, sustainability can feel like a distant goal. Artists often struggle to maintain their professional practice while balancing physical well-being, spiritual and emotional wellness and healthy relationships with […]

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Photo Essay

Upstream

By Anna Metcalfe

Upstream is an art project that builds connections and circulates stories among people who are linked to teach other through a common watershed. Experiences and memories about water are collected and shared through conversations over tea. Over time, these stories will help build common ground in communities where water can be a divisive issue.

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A creative vision of sustainability: How informal educational avenues may impact change

By Rachel J. Eike, Sissy Osteen and Erin Irick

A sustainably-minded and technology-driven 2032 scenario was created to illustrate subtle attitudes and habits of characters based upon their collegiate informal learning and leadership experiences while earning an undergraduate degree. The creative scenario suggests that, based upon findings from a SLfSD (student leaders for sustainable development) study, leadership components may be identified and cultivated through informal educational avenues (i.e. student organization involvement) to help communicate and transition others to think and act in more environmentally-minded manners. The objective of the study was to explore the leadership components (leadership roles, personal capacities, and styles) of SLfSD. Quantitative, multivariate regression analysis of purposive sampling of student attendees of the 2013 AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) revealed interesting influencers of leadership styles and personal capacities, including the interaction of gender, age, ethnicity, and leadership role (aspiring vs. formal leaders). This research suggests that SLfSD possess dynamic capacities and preferences that can impact the necessity for and effectiveness of sustainability-focused programming.

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Shade Grown Coffee

By Laura Corcoran

Many migratory and native birds benefit from the habitat created by shade grown coffee plantations.

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Journey

A Wild Compliance

By Ben Weaver

I’ve got maps spread out
all over the kitchen floor
headwaters splintering into deltas

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Pollinators

By Laura Corcoran

In my work on pollinators, I have been focusing on pollinators’ role within our food systems, and how human land use and agricultural practices threaten the diversity of native and non native species alike.

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Report

The Emerald Ash Borer Project

By Josh K. Winkler

This report describes artist Josh Winker’s Emerald Ash Borer Project in Minnesota, United States.

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Vision for Sustainability Education

Determining Essential Components of a College-level Bioenergy Curriculum in the United States Using the Delphi Technique

By Kimi Grzyb, Brian Hartman and Katharine Field

In order to develop bioenergy into a viable industry capable of providing valuable energy and employment, there is an immediate need for a workforce prepared for the impending challenges of this emerging, interdisciplinary industry. To meet this need, it is necessary to identify and prioritize the topics that should be included in a college-level bioenergy curriculum. We implemented a three-round Delphi study to determine components of a college bioenergy curriculum in the US, by establishing consensus among a panel of American bioenergy experts. Round One consisted of a single open-ended question: Keeping in mind the future of a commercial bioenergy industry, what content knowledge should a student have upon completion of a college-level bioenergy curriculum? Responses were qualitatively coded into themes, and experts were asked to rate the importance of each theme using a five-point Likert-type scale during subsequent rounds. The final round resulted in 13 themes: Energy Basics, Types of Bioenergy, Environmental Impacts (including Life Cycle Analysis), Current Technologies, Societal Issues, Logistics, Policy, Biomass Composition, Non-Bioenergy-Specific Fundamentals, Biomass Production, Conversions, Bioenergy Market, and Business-Related Knowledge. Results will be used to bolster the existing bioenergy education initiative at Oregon State University, and can provide guidance to other institutions in the US and abroad interested in developing similar bioenergy education programs.

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Children of Change: An Experiment in Producing Visual Climate Messaging for Parents and Caregivers

By Erica Ramsey Pulley

For my culminating master’s project, I attempted to apply carefully selected theories and research to guide the production of a five-minute video trailer for a potential future documentary titled Children of Change. The video project endeavors to illustrate the myriad ways families and children in the United States are impacted by climate change, including proximity to the processes that contribute to climate change such as fossil fuel extraction, transport, and consumption; how the climate issue is inextricably tied to and will continue to exacerbate existing systems of oppression at home and around the world; and how our children’s health and future well-being are most at risk. Children of Change also documents how parents, youth, and families are engaged in the fight for their lives.
Video can be viewed at: https://vimeo.com/226170224

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Report

Youth Shine in Musical Theatre for Sustainability

By Beth Osnes

I created Shine, a mini-musical performance for 4th-12th grade students that uses theatre to explore issues of sustainability. It weaves climate science and artistic expression into a funny and powerful story that spans three hundred million years of geological time to convey the relationship between energy, humanity, and climate. Rehearsing each song in this half-hour musical immerses youth in the issues surrounding climate and energy and leads participants in embodying different aspects of climate science and human development that brought us to this point– where our use of fossil fuels is impacting our climate. The first half of the show is professionally scripted, composed, and choreographed to tell the story that has already been told by history. The second half—our future story– is made up of skits authored by local youth to generate solutions for their community’s sustainability challenges. A final song and dance celebrates this achievement and embeds the spirit of commitment into the catchy tune that students will be singing for perhaps decades to come.

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Student-Produced Short Films About Impacts of Climate Change on Local Communities: An Effective Approach That Combines Art and Place-Based Learning

By Anne U. Gold, Erin Leckey, Megan Littrell-Baez, Lesley K. Smith and Susan Lynds

Here we describe how science learning can be enhanced through filmmaking. Combining the creative process of film production and its engaging storytelling and artistic components with science learning allows students to take ownership over their learning process and makes science accessible to learners who might not be reached through traditional science classrooms. We describe a model in which students develop a short film that investigates how climate and environmental change impacts their lives and their communities. Students are guided by college student mentors or teachers through a five-step program that includes: (1) selection and research of their topic, (2) development of a storyboard and script, (3) filming, (4) editing, and (5) a capstone screening event showcasing the final film. Through this process, students deepen their understanding of climate science and its complexity, while increasing their appreciation of the impacts of climate on society. Students also gain exposure to science and technology careers, while gaining confidence in their ability to complete a project.

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Assessing the Level of Awareness on Climate Change and Sustainable Development Among Students of Partido State University, Camarines Sur, Philippines

By Ariel B. Barreda

The participation of youth in any disaster risk reduction activities could be enhanced when they have high levels of awareness on climate change. But there seems to be scanty information about their level of awareness. The study was conducted to investigate the level of awareness of youth studying in a state university in the Philippines, and to determine the factors that influenced their awareness. The study employed the descriptive survey method using a 5-Lickert scale instrument involving the students of Partido State University (PSU), Camarines Sur, Philippines. Respondents (n = 247) were selected randomly from the undergraduate student population, and were stratified by their year levels. Although there was no qualitative difference observed among the respondents, the computed weighted mean for all variables under investigated differ across year levels. Based on the computed weighted mean, level of awareness is generally higher among senior students than first year students. Similar observations were made for all variables, i.e. computed weighted means increase as year level increases. In addition, the factors perceived to be significantly influencing the level of awareness of the respondents have differed across year levels. First year students perceived personal experience while second and third year students as well as fourth year students perceived education and government actions, respectively as much important factors that could influence their level of awareness. The channels of information about climate change also differ across year levels based on the computed weighted means. Among the four channels presented in the survey, first and second year students perceived mass media and family and trainings and seminars, third year students perceived internet and social media, and fourth year students perceived education, mass media and family and trainings and seminars as important channels of information. Overall, the differences could be utilized as bases in developing academic as well as extracurricular activities that are sensitive to the sex and year level of the involved students to improve their cognitive adaptive capacity.

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Poetic Essay

Embodying education: performing environmental meanings, knowledges, and transformations

By José Castro-Sotomayor, Jeff Hoffmann, Melissa Parks, Maggie Siebert, Mariko Thomas and Tema Milstein

This essay presents an exploration of a wide spectrum of current ecocultural relations through the creative methodology and expression of performance. We present a script of a performance inspired by a seemingly simple prompt for a pedagogical free write exercise “When I say ‘nature,’ I mean…” The goal of the free write exercise is to illuminate and open up for questioning and transforming our cultural assumptions, embodied meanings, and social constructions associated with the idea of “nature.” The authors/performers reflect about the process of creation and their intimate struggles with environmental ideologies often hidden behind the veil of common sense, political posturings, or disciplined concealments. As an art form, performance allows engagement with imaginations that emerged as radical, thus insinuating the need for a more nuanced and free scholarship, as well as for embracing performance as liberating pedagogic activism.

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Photo Essay

Imagining a sustainable future: Inspiring creativity in science education and outreach

By Jillian L. Blatti, Jiaqi Liu, Frieda Schwebel, Ellen Chan, Felix Monge, Naneh Vartan, Jason Hernandez, Danyal Cave, Edward Garcia, Anjalee Buwanekabahu, Shirley Chang and John Garcia

Art-science intersections are a powerful means to inspire creative thinking in our future scientists, engineers, and citizens, which will allow them to imagine and build a sustainable world. Coupled to active learning and collaboration in science education, art can be a means to evoke deep meaning in abstract concepts such as Planetary Boundaries (PB). Relating PB to an individual’s choices and actions makes these concepts more tangible. As our nation strives to produce more science and engineering majors, we see an emphasis to recruit students to these fields early in their education, but this education does not always inspire creativity or encourage students to use their skills to create a sustainable future. This is particularly true in underrepresented, less privileged populations, where students see a career in science or technology as a means to live a more comfortable life—which can be very resource intensive on our planet. Through our undergraduate research program at Pasadena City College, we translate our research in sustainable materials into lessons to teach underrepresented middle school and high school students about sustainability. Hands-on classroom experiments focused on sustainability and renewable energy drive in-depth discussions relating PB to each student’s actions within their community. Outreach to underrepresented populations has stimulated interest in sustainability and careers in which STEM degrees can be applied to ‘green’ urban areas and make individuals aware of how their choices can impact the environment. Sustainability education is therefore an opportunity to promote diversity in the STEM workforce. Importantly, these outreach efforts have also greatly impacted the community college students who design and carry them out.

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Case Study

Cultivating Change: A Cross-Age Arts, Literacy, and Sustainability Project

By Joyce Kinkead, Andrea Melnick and Olivia Webb

This essay describes a project in which a 4th grade class joined forces with a university class to study and produce as theatre Paul Fleischman’s Seedfolks, an inspiring story of a diverse group of community residents who transform a vacant urban lot into a wonderful community garden. In addition to the arts component, the two teachers unexpectedly found an opportunity to encourage sustainability of education when their students embarked on a pen pal correspondence.

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Opinion

The Story of Data: Subversive Integration of Artistic Knowing

By Dustin Loehr

The field of Arts Education is rich in Data. Where qualitative studies fall short when it comes to influencing wide-spread policy decisions, the author calls Educational Agencies, Arts Educators, Community Arts Organizations, and Teaching Artists to ‘reframe’ their communication findings to positively influence sustainability and increased access to the field. Arts Education Practioners and advocates must increase their education policy literacy to transform into effective agents of change.

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Case Study

Sustainability and the Olympics: The case of the 2016 Rio Summer Games

By Sylvia Trendafilova, Jeffrey Graham and James Bemiller

The Olympic Games are the ultimate mega sporting event with not only hundreds of thousands of athletes, but also hundreds of thousands of spectators, volunteers, media, and security personnel. The Olympics concentrate a large number of people in a confined space (one city or even specific areas within the city) over a relatively small period of time (two weeks), thus introducing inevitable hardship to the natural environment. This case study focuses on the challenges Rio faced in preparation to stage and host the 2016 Summer Olympics Games, and at the same time provide an environment safe to all. More specifically, the case focuses on the water quality in Rio and the associated health risks for athletes competing in the open water events. This case study provides students with knowledge about the history of environmental sustainability in the Olympics and prepares them for a career in a global industry that is increasingly focusing on and implementing environmental initiatives.

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Scholarly Features

Environmental education in teacher education programs: Incorporation and use of professional guidelines

By Rebecca L. Franzen

Faced with everything from climate change to resource depletion, citizens must be environmentally literate. One path to literacy is through teacher education. Participants in this U.S.-based study completed a survey, indicating teaching methods and assessment strategies used to address the Guidelines for the Preparation and Professional Development of Environmental Educators themes. Although many indicated unfamiliarity with the Preparation Guidelines, the majority address them in their teaching. Fostering Learning, Environmental Literacy, and Planning and Implementing Environmental Education were commonly addressed, while Foundations of Environmental Education was not frequently addressed. Discussion, inquiry-based learning, and assigned readings were often used teaching methods, while lesson plans and reflections were common assessments. The results suggest that faculty members are implicitly including EE and that there are gaps in meeting the competencies in EE.

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