Archive: Departments

“Educating for Water Resilience in the Context of Climate Crisis”—Journal of Sustainability Education Special Issue Released for United Nations World Water Day 2020

By Amanda Bielawski

This editorial overview provides an introduction to this special Journal of Sustainability (JSE) issue devoted to water and climate change, which is being released during United Nations World Water Day 2020. The article contextualizes some of the water security risks that are exacerbated by climate change, such as increasing floods and droughts. This piece further provides a brief overview of the articles in the special water and climate issue of the JSE.

Continue Reading

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.”

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Words for Water

By Mary Dougherty

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

Continue Reading

Seeing Water Through the Trees: Maasai Activists in Kenya Among Indigenous Leaders Worldwide Calling for Upstream Forest Conservation as Nature-Based Solution for Downstream Water Security Amidst Climate Crisis

By Amanda Bielawski

Abstract: This article posits that Maasai Indigenous activists’ call to save Kenya’s Mau Forest Water Tower for its ability to protect downstream water security has emerged as an environmental-policy microcosm illustrative of globally surging interest in such Nature-Based Solutions (NBS).  Through an analysis of the Mau Forest issue, a series of United Nations Development Programme case studies, and increasing inclusion of NBS for water at recent global policy events such as the United Nations General Assembly and World Economic Forum, this article suggests that a new water infrastructure policy paradigm appears poised to increase implementation of NBS-informed by Indigenous and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (ITEK). The potential of this paradigm shift is illustrated by the North American Indigenous Mi’kmaq concept of Two-Eyed Seeing, which encourages the synthesis of solutions from both western-emanating Scientific Ecological Knowledge (SEK) and ITEK on a path toward positive social-ecological outcomes.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Dissecting the Average Shower and Its Impact on the Planet: An Invitation to Collaborate — Part Two: The Recirculating-Shower Design Elements

By Linda Pope

Abstract: Part Two of a two-article series describes water conservation through graywater use and rainwater harvesting. Sustainable methods of heating water for a recirculating shower, and potential methods for water filtration and purification are presented. Also addressed is the feasibility of sustainable showering alternatives. An opportunity for educators and students to collaborate in the development of an off-grid recirculating shower is provided as well.

Continue Reading

Dissecting the Average Shower and Its Impact on the Planet: An Invitation to Collaborate — Part One: Human Water Usage and Global Impact

By Linda Pope

Abstract: Part One of a two-part article outlines a brief history of showering and questions current showering practices. Current global levels of water use and availability are discussed, plus water use in the United States, relative to Americans’ frequency of showering. The energy requirements for cities to provide clean water is outlined as well as the carbon dioxide emissions that are subsequently released during water delivery and wastewater disposal. In Part Two, water conservation through graywater use and rainwater harvesting is described, and sustainable methods of heating water are offered. Possible methods for water filtration and purification are presented. The feasibility of alternatives for a more sustainable shower is addressed. Both articles conclude with an invitation to students and instructors to collaborate with the author to construct a prototype of an off-grid recirculating shower.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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)

Continue Reading

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).

Continue Reading

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.”

Continue Reading

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.”

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Improving Water Resilience Through Environmental Education

By Molly Nation, Serge Thomas, Sara Combs, Emily Daniels, Chaquer Talamas and Gabrielle Vignet-Williams

Anthropogenically-induced water quality issues are plaguing the people and environments of Southwest Florida. In 2018, nutrient-rich runoff into waterways caused one of the largest and longest occurring algal blooms in the area; however, many were unaware or misinformed about the causes or impacts of these blooms. Young people are at the forefront of this changing environment and will continue to face water reliance issues in the years to come (Leal, et al., 2015). However, gaps within the existing science curriculum do not address the anthropogenic actions that are leading to these crises (National Research Council, 2012). Southwest Florida is being drastically altered by the large number of people who move to the area each year; urban sprawl, habitat loss, and human-induced climate change are impacting the region (McVoy, et al. 2011). Local water quality issues necessitate a more focused, specific effort to build awareness and knowledge to ensure clean and safe water is locally available. Therefore, the need for Environmental Education (EE) is becoming increasingly important for students to be able to make informed decisions about personal actions contributing to these issues. The project, Future Leaders of Water Quality (FLOW) focused on educating teachers and students by engaging them in environmental literacy, specifically focused on water quality education in local middle schools. Project FLOW worked with local teachers to develop an innovative, five-day, lesson plan focused on the causes and implications of anthropogenically-induced eutrophic conditions. Data were collected throughout the implementation to measure the impact of the curriculum intervention that addressed water quality issues of the region. The results of the study suggest exposure to the lessons increased student understanding of water quality issues and motivated students to take personal action to improve water resiliency within their local communities.

Continue Reading

Embracing Our Place: Sustainability and a Bioregional Watershed Education Approach

By Nathan Hensley

Formal educational models are overemphasizing standardization and therefore underestimating the benefits of place. Place-based education is under researched within the field of educational studies and this article attempts to tackle this divide. This article unpacks the definition of place-based education while exploring its relevance to virtually any educational situation. Additionally, a framework for application of place-based education is offered. The proposed framework is supported by a description of its benefits. The idea of a watershed is used to further contextualize the discussion. Recognizing the importance of maintaining the health and integrity of our watersheds is a vital part of a strong sustainability-oriented education program. The reverence and respect for a watershed must be embedded within an ethic which embraces the value of all life on this planet and place-based education is one way to cultivate this reverence and respect.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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?

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Radical hope: Transforming sustainability

By Laila Strazds

While sustainability is often perceived from a framework of fear, emergent understandings of sustainability are rooted in pedagogies of hope. In particular, radical hope, or critical-transformative hope, is transforming sustainability. Radical hope is contextually dependent and is made meaningful when in action. Collective movements such as the buen vivir social movements and transition movements are realizations of radical hope in praxis. Overall, this paper aims to demonstrate that through a multiplicity of movements, sustainability is in the process of continual becoming.

Continue Reading

Benefits of “Flip” Teaching Techniques in the Environmental Planning and Sustainability Classroom

By Stephen Buckman, K. David Pijawka, Matthew Gomez, Jonathan Davis, Adenike Opejin and Yousuf Mahid

Breaking though to millennials in the classroom is becoming an important objective for all educators. These students demand more from their learning experiences and many traditional education techniques are often ineffective. One technique that holds potential is “Flip” education, a unique active learning approach. Although Flip is normally associated with the hard sciences, this paper presents a case study that demonstrates its effectiveness in the social sciences, specifically an upper division undergraduate environmental/sustainability planning class. Two important takeaways from this study include: 1) that teaching must be more student-centered, allowing students to take more control of their own education as assigned material be available before the fixed class time so as to allow class time for more active learning; and 2) Students report improved learning when Flip experiential methods are used in conjunction with some form of standard professor lectures. 

Continue Reading

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.”  […]

Continue Reading

 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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

School gardening as a means to influence pupils’ nutritional attitudes and behavior: A study at general and vocational high schools in Vienna

By Thilo Rademacher, Friedrich Leisch, Valentin Fiala and Bernhard Freyer

Abstract: The impact of school gardening on nutritional attitudes and behavior regarding purchase and consumption of food is explored with pupils who participated in school gardens. The researchers of the recent study conceptualized a framework of potential factors influencing nutritional behavior based on empirical data with pupils from general and vocational high schools in Vienna. Three hundred and sixteen pupils, aged between 16 to 21, were interviewed in a cross-sectional study. The pupils who participated in school gardening are significantly better informed about sustainability than the pupils who did not. There is a significant difference between pupils who took part in school gardening and those who did not, regarding their self-assessment towards their connection to nature and sustainability. The total consumption of vegetables has increased within the families of participating pupils by 17%. School gardening seems to promote pupils’ reflection on their own diet as well as foster a favorable attitude towards a healthy and sustainable diet. We conclude that the implementation of school gardening has a significant positive impact on pupils’ attitude and behavior towards sustainable diets.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Taking Sustainability Personally: The Impact of Teaching Sustainability Agency on Learning

By Lisa Papania

Abstract: Students are transformed when they realize that their theory-based actions have real and meaningful impact. Student learning outcomes are enhanced when they realize this impact. This is important, because the topic of sustainability involves a huge amount of grim data about the state of the planet and our impending demise; and an urgent call for action to make positive impact. To enable my MBA students to take action, I designed an experiential, action-research and transformational pedagogical approach; and a mixed-methods study to assess if/ how students engaged with, and learned or cared about sustainability when it was delivered at the level of personal impact and personal action. I found that making sustainability personal did not cause alienation, but did significantly contribute to learning and caring in all students in the course. However, students’ comfort with uncertainty moderated their perceptions of learning, which provides insight for how to improve the course in the future.

Continue Reading

Developing, Piloting, and Factor Analysis of a Brief Survey Tool for Evaluating Food and Composting Behaviors: The Short Composting Survey

By Jennie Norton, Becky Pearson, David Gee and Nicole Stendell-Hollis

Abstract: Household composting is a practical sustainable behavior which should be further investigated. The Short Composting Survey was developed for use during the Compost Project pilot study to measure the knowledge, values, barriers, and social norms surrounding composting (n=25). The purpose of this research was to describe the testing and refining of the survey tool for the pilot study. Statistical analyses included calculating the Index of Item-Objective Congruence (IIOC) values and conducting a confirmatory factor analysis following administration of the survey. Nine respondents assisted with survey tool development by completing the IIOC, and values ranged from 0.29 to 0.66 which indicated that all of the survey questions matched more than one construct. The factor analysis resulted in a three-factor solution with a cumulative loading of 71.2%, meaning that these identified factors contributed 71.2% of the variance in responses. Factor 1 (“Values”) proved to be the strongest factor, explaining 36.6% of the variance, whereas Factor 2 (“Social Norms”) explained 20.04%, and Factor 3 (“Barriers”) had 14.6%. This survey may be useful for future food composting and sustainability-related research efforts.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

A Pedagogical Framework for the Design and Utilization of Place-Based Experiential Learning Curriculum on a Campus Farm

By Julia L. Angstmann, Amber J. Rollings, Grant A. Fore and Brandon H. Sorge

Abstract: Campus agriculture projects are increasingly being recognized as spaces impactful to student engagement and learning through curricular and co-curricular programming; however, most campus farm activities are limited to agriculture or sustainability programs and/or co-curricular student clubs. Thus, campus farms are largely underutilized in the undergraduate curriculum, marking a need to explore the efficacy and impact of engaging a diverse array of disciplinary courses in the rich social, environmental, and civic context of local sustainable agriculture. The Farm Hub program presented here incentivizes instructors to refocus a portion of existing course content around the topic of local, sustainable agriculture, and reduces barriers to using a campus farm as a situated learning context for curricula. A pedagogical framework founded in place-based experiential learning (PBEL) theory was developed to guide instructors in the development and implementation of 4–6-week inquiry-based PBEL modules embedded in existing courses. The framework was converted into a research protocol to quantify program implementation fidelity and PBEL best practice adherence for the proposed lesson plans (intended) and their implementation (applied). The framework enables the development of a cohesive cross-curricular program so that the impact of implementation fidelity and best practice adherence to student learning outcomes in scientific literacy, place attachment and meaning, and civic mindedness can be assessed and the results utilized to develop a formal farm-situated PBEL pedagogical taxonomy. This framework can be applied to PBEL curriculum in natural spaces beyond campus farms.

Continue Reading

Interacting Pedagogies: A Review and Framework for Sustainability Education

By Jason Papenfuss, Eileen Merritt, David Manuel-Navarrete, Scott Cloutier and Bonnie Eckard

Abstract: Although the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005–2014) was a period of rapid pedagogical revitalization and innovation, much sustainability education today is still delivered using transmissive and instrumental pedagogies common across higher education. Now that the field has integrated many of the insights from the decade, students and facilitators should continue innovating along themes consistent with the goals of sustainability: transformation and emancipation. Yet, more clarity is needed about pedagogical approaches that will transform and emancipate students, allowing them to become innovators that change existing structures and systems. This paper presents a framework combining four interacting (i.e., complementary) pedagogies (transmissive, transformative, instrumental, and emancipatory) in sustainability education, helping to reify pedagogical concepts, rebel against outdated curricula, and orient facilitators/learners on their journey toward transformative and emancipatory learning. The authors begin by reviewing the evolution of sustainability education and transformative learning theory prior to introducing the framework. The paper concludes with a vision of sustainability education that incorporates contemplative pedagogies as essential methods in a field in need of cultivating hope, resilience, and emergence.

Continue Reading

Media Strategies Impacting Millennials’ Sustainable Apparel Purchase Intention

By Lauren (Reiter) Copeland

Abstract: With apparel and textile production finding itself a leader in social and environmental responsibility issues, the call to action to influence purchase intention for sustainable and responsible apparel is necessary to both the environment and humankind. Literature supports the connection between consumer knowledge of social issues within the apparel and textile industry and purchase behavior. Cowan and Kinley (2014) identify attitudes as the strongest predictor for purchasing environmentally sustainable apparel. This study looks at the interjection of a type of popular and accepted medium, film, as a possible catalyst to knowledge and attitude change in millennial consumers regarding responsible apparel. This is an exploratory quantitative research study to explore possible future directions of how to impact sustainable purchase intentions of millennials in a consumer driven society. A total of 128 participants from a large Midwest university took part in the study during spring and fall 2016. This study found that millennial consumers had significant change in their purchasing behavior regarding responsible apparel. They also considered themselves more knowledgeable regarding the topic. However, their change in attitudes was not towards being more concerned with what was happening in the industry nor their willingness to sacrifice price and style for responsible apparel.

Continue Reading

“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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Using Sustainability as a Framework for Marketing Curricula and Pedagogy

By Shikha Upadhyaya, Mine Üçok Hughes and H. Rika Houston

Abstract: As noted by a growing number of marketing scholars, the importance of educating marketing students on sustainability should be an important objective for marketing educators and business schools alike. The focus of sustainability-based marketing education is on the greater good of the environment and society, while adjusting internal and related external processes to sustainability principles. In this conceptual paper, we adopt a broadened definition of sustainability distinct from the narrow understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) adopted by the business world in general and make recommendations for using this broadened definition to reframe marketing curricula and pedagogy. We give specific examples of assignments and pedagogical approaches for four core marketing courses as well as four marketing electives. By doing so, we hope to foster a new marketing mindset and a new generation of marketing practitioners who embrace, internalize, and practice sustainability holistically.

Continue Reading

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. 

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Environmental Sustainability Education at Three Elementary Schools

By Lauren Madden and Rachel DiVanno

Though often considered an area of importance and emphasis, the enactment of Environmental Sustainability Education can vary considerably across schools and settings. This study used a narrative approach to tell the story of Environmental Sustainability Education at three schools within a 10-mile radius of our institution: a public charter school, a public school with a magnet STEM program, and a private Friends school. Our findings are discussed using the NAAEE’s Essential Underpinnings of Environmental Education, and shed light on possible future direction for pre- and in-service teacher education in Environmental Sustainability Education.

Continue Reading

Teaching Sustainability: Recommendations for Best Pedagogical Practices

By Heather Burns, Sybil S. Kelley and Heather Spalding

Although sustainability has become an important focus in higher education, there is a need for understanding how sustainability competencies can be cultivated in college and university courses and programs. This article argues that learners who are to become capable of affecting holistic sustainable change, transforming values and culture, healing the earth and human communities, and designing creative solutions, must have the opportunity to engage in learning processes that reflect these learning outcomes. We outline key elements of sustainability pedagogy and suggest best pedagogical practices for designing engaging and holistic sustainability learning.

Continue Reading