Archive: Departments

Media Education and Ecological Modernism: Embodiment, Technology and Citizenship

By Carl Bybee and Shelby Stanovsek

Abstract: The field of media education, emerging within the instrumental vision of modernity, has largely ignored its unspoken modernist assumptions. In this article, we argue the time has come to fully engage an embodied view of media from an evolutionary, ecological perspective—what we might call ecological modernism. This is a perspective that views media as evolving mediations through various material/technical practices, where body knowledge, rather than some idea of objective reality, is understood as the empirical ground for how we come to make sense of ourselves and the world. The focus is then shifted from the problem of subject versus object relationships to how subjects and objects are mutually constitutive. By extension, the juxtaposition of the concept of citizen with the body clarifies yet another crucial dimension of the embodied perspective. Two examples of “citizen”-based media education projects are briefly reviewed from this ecological modernist perspective in order to consider the implications of resituating grounded citizen-oriented media education.

Continue Reading

The Tree of Life (2011), Eco-theology & Film: A Conversation with Prof. George Handley

By Benjamin Thevenin and George Handley

Movies as Mirrors is a conversation podcast in which guests discuss films that reflect a social issue that interests or affects them. On this episode, Professor of Humanities George Handley discusses the 2011 film “The Tree of Life” with podcast creator Benjamin Thevenin and guest-host Camlyn Giddins. The conversation explores the film’s representations of our relationship with the natural world, and in particular its use of eco-theology to introduce its audiences to ecological issues. We discuss the value of film as environmental education for the public and the need for more nuanced cinematic representations of issues like climate change.

Continue Reading

Connecting Youth, Eco-Media and Resilience in Appalachia

By Derek Douglas, Emmanuel Garcia and Mary Grueser

Abstract: In the summer of 2019, the We are All Connected urban-rural youth media program launched Something in Our Water, an eco-media documentary project that investigates the shared problem of water sustainability, public health, and climate change in their communities. This article discusses the transformative experience that the youth from New York City and the Clearfork Valley in the East Tennessee Appalachian mountains had as they learned about the history of multinational coal mine companies’ economic and environmental exploitation of the community, and the fierce and unequal power relations that continue to challenge environmental advocates today. With a focus on the perspectives of one of the Tennessee youth producers, the article reflects on the impact intergenerational learning and multicultural collaboration can have in nurturing future youth and community eco-media activists in Appalachia in the face of deeply rooted local and structural constraints. Through the process of documenting struggles in urban and rural communities, the youth team developed a deeper understanding of how the environmental justice movement cuts across differences to show how everyone is connected and can be empowered to take action.

Continue Reading

Training community-based journalists for climate change reporting: lessons from South Africa

By Brett Cohen and Leonie Joubert

Abstract: Reporting to the public on climate change impacts, adaptation, and mitigation requires journalists to be equipped to engage with a wide range of technical content in order to communicate it in an accessible and engaging way. Recognizing the need for journalists from a wide range of backgrounds, including those from community newspapers and radio stations in South Africa, to be able to undertake this task, the South African Department of Environment Affairs in partnership with GIZ commissioned the authors to develop and deliver a four-day climate change reporting training programme. This paper presents an overview of the structure and content of the course, and details the reflections after undertaking such an endeavor.
Based on the lessons learned, and an awareness that this kind of training may take place in the context where working community-level journalists may have a low knowledge base (of both the journalistic craft, as well as the content of climate science) the following recommendations emerge: scientific training may need to be combined with basic journalistic training (depending on the participants); learning-by-doing is central to journalists building their capacity in climate reporting training; and mother-tongue delivery of material is critical to the success of such technical training courses.

Continue Reading

Snacking on Media Literacy: Young Children, Sustainability, and Design in Media Literacy Education

By Chelsea Attwell

Abstract: This case study illustrates a cross-curricular learning experience, anchored in standards, where teachers and students actively engaged in co-constructed, inquiry-based learning and design thinking. The particular question this case study addressed was “How might students connect with environmental citizenship in authentic ways through media literacy experiences?” Specifically, the case study invited primary level learners to engage in a multimodal experience that was anchored in media literacy concepts and process. A pedagogical approach rooted in media literacy theory subsequently empowered students to make positive environmental changes in their communities and develop citizenship skills for the future. The project sought to develop awareness of sustainability through analysis, re-design, and production of snack food packaging. Educator reflections offer ideas for project improvement, such as producing for a wider audience, offering more choice, and making broader subject connections. This case study has implications for practice by demonstrating that, through various stages of scaffolding and integrated lesson design, young children are capable of applying sophisticated media literacy theory, inquiry, and design thinking to meet multiple curriculum standards.

Continue Reading

Moving from STEM to MESH

By Tim Wise

America is falling behind the rest of the world in science and math. There is therefore, a renewed emphasis on STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). But while mastery of STEM subjects is essential to the functioning of society, we’ve neglected some other areas that are at least as important, if not more so. But without an equal commitment to comprehensive civics education — an examination of subjects that touch on the relationships between people, government, the economy, and media — all the technical know-how in the world will be for naught. The author suggests a renewed focus on MESH education, which stands for Media Literacy, Ethics, Sociology, and History. Because if these are not given equal attention, we could end up with incredibly bright and technically proficient people who lack all capacity for democratic citizenship.

Continue Reading

Coal’s Last Gasp, Its Resuscitation by Media, and the Habitus of NIMBY

By Carolyn Fortuna

Abstract: The shift away from coal to renewable energy for electricity generation is producing environmental benefits during the climate crisis but also poses uncertainty for coal producers and others along the coal supply chain. Media representations of the coal debate shape how citizens understand and respond to it. This commentary exposes how audiences – even of pro-environmental media – reproduce dominant discourses promoted by fossil fuel corporations and reconceptualize those discourses into a Not in my Backyard (NIMBY) worldview. Critical discourse analysis helps to reveal how tensions between coal companies and renewable energy proponents are exacerbated by controlled coal messaging. Coal propaganda evokes images of a noble and reasonable energy source and places coal within a positive framework that enhances local knowledge, protection, and economic security. Conclusions point to the importance of media literacy instruction as a means for consumers to gain critical distancing strategies and broader perspectives about the climate crisis.

Continue Reading

Engaging with Things: Speculative Realism and Ecomedia Literacy Education

By Benjamin Thevenin

Abstract: In recent years, media scholars and educators have made an effort to address ecological issues in their work. Ecomedia literacy adapts the principles and practices of the media literacy movement in order to prepare the public to critically engage with the relationship between media and the environment. However, this article argues that the philosophical frameworks, on which existing approaches to media literacy education are founded, are limited. The field’s reliance on traditions of constructivism and cultural studies allows learners to engage with ideas, but not things. The article argues that an ecomedia literacy that draws from speculative realism—in particular, in recognizing the reality of non-human things, emphasizing materiality, and challenging the nature/culture divide—will more effectively prepare the public to critically engage and practically respond to pressing ecological issues such as climate change.

Continue Reading

Ecomedia: The metaphor that makes a difference

By Antonio Lopez

  Link to the JSE April 2020 Ecomedia Literacy Issue Table of Contents Lopez Ecomedia JSE April 2020 Ecomedia Literacy PDF   Abstract: Media is an ambiguous metaphor that changes meaning depending on how it’s used by educators. Typically media are only characterized by how they represent reality and communicate ideas. Consequently, the metaphor assumes a […]

Continue Reading

“Solarpunk” & the Pedagogical Value of Utopia

By Isaijah Johnson

Abstract: This paper examines the ecologically oriented speculative fiction genre known as “solarpunk” and its value for the cause of environmental justice. This article argues that the status quo is characterized by relative inaction on the issue of fighting climate change and that this inaction is the result of an inability to imagine a “green” future. As a form of speculative fiction which explicitly depicts such green futures, solarpunk may be a valuable tool in promoting action by overcoming widespread cynicism about the future. Solarpunk fiction is thus a useful tool for sustainability educators because it encourages critical examination of one’s environmental impact. This article details the ways in which solarpunk stories function as counter-hegemonic media by intertwining issues of race, gender, sexuality, class, and colonialism with an ecological ethic.

Continue Reading

Green Guerrillas Youth Media Tech Collective: Sustainable Storytellers Challenging The Status Quo

By Jason Corwin

Abstract: The Green Guerrillas Youth Media Tech Collective, a community organization based in Ithaca, New York, set out to define sustainability in their own terms by giving a diverse group of local adolescents the opportunity to engage subjects of environmental and social justice through digital media production within the auspices of a unique afterschool job-training program. Interviews with youth participants and adult mentors illustrate key concepts for environmental and sustainability educators desiring to facilitate engaging learning environments utilizing multimedia. Excerpts of their interviews provide a lens into the workings of a non-formal educational environment that explicitly embraced media literacy, media arts production, and community engagement to advocate for issues of justice and sustainability while facilitating opportunities for ecological learning. This case study highlights the potential of digital storytelling to foster students’ knowledge retention, connection to nature, sense of empowerment, and ability to create positive change in their communities.

Continue Reading

Fake Climate News: How Denying Climate Change is the Ultimate in Fake News

By Antonio Lopez and Jeff Share

After the 2016 US-presidential election and Brexit referendum, fake news emerged as a quintessential democratic problem that media literacy was tasked to solve. The broad social concern about fake news acknowledges that the public sphere is a kind of commons that requires tending, and reminds us of the human (and civic) need for authenticity, honesty, clarity, and fairness in our shared discourses. In light of the perceived danger to democracy that fake news embodies, increasingly media literacy is seen as fundamentally about cultivating civic engagement skills. In addition to improving the news and information ecosystem of social media, media literacy promotes critical thinking skills and fundamental research techniques to distinguish legitimate and authentic information from propaganda, disinformation, hoaxes, lies, and blatant manipulation.

Continue Reading

Bella Gaia and the Pedagogical Power of the Overview Effect: An Interview with Kenji Williams

By Antonio Lopez

Bella Gaia (Beautiful Earth) is a performance that combines a world-music inspired soundtrack with projected graphics, animations and video to educate about climate change. A hybrid of art and science, the nonlinear performance is an example of an emerging form of ecomedia in which remote sensing media are used to transform audiences to experience Earth as an organic, living organism. Bella Gaia’s creative director and creator, Kenji Williams, discusses this new form of educational experience. The violinist, composer and filmmaker incorporates a neuro-science driven methodology to create “immersive live theater, mixed reality, and interactive data visualization.”

Continue Reading

Teaching for Environmental Justice at the Educational Video Center

By Steve Goodman

While teaching about climate change in K-12 schools often focuses on the catastrophic crises it is causing on a global scale, for students from poor and historically marginalized communities a pedagogy of environmental justice centers their own local neighborhoods, schools, and homes as sites for investigation and action. The Educational Video Center (EVC) in New York City has practiced this critical pedagogy for over 30 years developing students’ media literacy and civic engagement as they learn to question and bear witness to the toxic environmental conditions in their communities. Links to EVC student produced documentaries spanning three decades chronicle the impact of garbage landfills in the ground, sanitation truck fumes in the air, lead dust and black mold in the walls of their public housing apartments. Through these inquiries, students learn how such environmental pollution is linked to disproportionately high rates of lead poisoning and chronic asthma among low income communities of color. As a form of participatory action research, they not only learn to use the power of media to educate the public about the inequitable policies that produce these environmental and public health crises. They also use their videos to make a call to action for greater accountability and sustainable environmental justice.

Continue Reading

The Pedagogy of Sustainable Web Design

By Denis F. Doyon

As education increasingly emphasizes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), many media educators may choose to promote skills-based technology curricula as a substitute for critical forms of media literacy. This poses a challenge for media educators who are trying to incorporate environmental issues into their pedagogical practice. As a website designer, I have wondered how my work contributes to the climate crisis, and more important, if there’s anything I can do to reduce the carbon footprint of the websites I create.  What I’ve learned not only shows me how I can create more eco-friendly websites, it also suggests how educators can encourage students to investigate the environmental impact of new media technology while they learn technological skills. Since media production is an important component of teaching media, media educators often create their own web-based projects or assign them to their students.  These can become ecomedia literacy projects by 1) investigating the environmental impact of websites, 2) using critical media literacy skills to verify environmental claims made by tech companies, and 3) learning and implementing best practices of sustainable web design to minimize the carbon emissions associated with student and faculty websites. At the very least, students can be challenged to evaluate the environmental footprint of their web-based projects.

Continue Reading

Book Review by Jeff Share

By Jeff Share

In her latest book, Why Trust Science?, history of science professor Naomi Oreskes does a wonderful job discussing the complexity of this question. She takes a difficult task and rather than simplify it, she dives deep into an exploration of the historical and philosophical roots and traditions of Western science, taking the reader along an analysis of case studies where science got it wrong. This is a fascinating and accessible read that considers numerous domains and issues to bring the reader to Oreskes’ ultimate point, that trustworthy science depends on consensus, diversity, and methodological openness and flexibility (p. 249). For media literacy educators, this book provides insightful examples of media representations of science with a powerful critique of the myth of objectivity and the value of trustworthy science.

Continue Reading

Sustainability Education, Responsible Truthfulness and Hypnotic Phenomena  

By Four Arrows, aka Don Trent Jacobs

I propose in this essay that a key to rebalancing life systems now being harmed by human activity requires a return to the priority of “truthfulness” as practiced by traditional Indigenous cultures for whom words are sacred vibrations of energy, requiring close attention to how one describes reality as truthfully and holistically as possible. This contrasts with the use of deceptive language common today. Furthermore, because words have the power to hypnotize self and others, awareness of trance-based learning is vital for helping assure one’s beliefs are not based on untruthful sources. I assert that there is no better way to explain how intelligent people can destroy or allow for the destruction of ecosystems without referring to unconscious acceptance of misguided hypnotic directives. Uncritical hypersuggestibility relates to the rise of fear-based living, authoritarianism and deceptive hypntoic language that has been cultivated under the dominant worldview. A solution is to return to awareness and intentional use of trance-based learning for maintaining or re-establishing healthy, reality-based ways of being in the world such as humans did well for most of human history.

Continue Reading

Deconstructing Free Enterprise and Reconstructing for Sustainability: Cultural-Ecological Propaganda Analysis for Educators

By Rachelle F. Marshall

In the spring of 2017, a conservative think tank mailed 300,000 copies of a book to US teachers and college faculty to encourage widespread uncertainty about climate change and promote neoliberal, free enterprise discourse in US schools. Teachers have been targets of free enterprise propaganda campaigns throughout the last century. This most recent event stresses the need for critical media literacy in teacher preparation programs and throughout the US education system. From an EcoJustice Education perspective, this paper demonstrates how to perform a cultural-ecological propaganda analysis to assess the power-knowledge relations that circulate within a text’s discourse. A Foucauldian approach to discourse analysis allows readers to draw conclusions about texts without requiring background information about the texts’ authors. Even when information about an author is available, as it was in this case, grounding evidence of intent and effect within the discourse itself strengthens conclusions by challenging the author’s arguments rather than the author’s self. Along with an overview of common propaganda techniques, a thematic analysis identifies the main messages of the text and a rhetorical analysis explains how the messages are delivered and to what effect. Rhetorical devices, fallacies, contradictions, formatting, and hierarchized thinking are deconstructed to highlight flaws in the logic and reasoning of arguments. Educators must find opportunities to disrupt dominant discourses that perpetuate the unsustainable model of free enterprise and reconstruct community from an ecologically sustainable perspective. Humanity can no longer afford to prioritize fiscal economy over ecology. This paper concludes by sharing an alternative resource that educators can use in preparation for teaching about global warming and climate change. The two guides offer opposite lenses for understanding global warming and could be used in classroom activities with students as sample texts for critical analysis.

Continue Reading

Briefing: Project Look Sharp’s Decoding Media Constructions and Substantiality

By Sox Sperry

This article explores how teachers can integrate the theory and practice of media literacy education into the teaching of sustainability content. It highlights two lessons, one for elementary students on bottled water choices and one for high school students on climate change and agriculture, detailing lesson construction and execution. The article explains how praxis, the intersection of reflection and action, can be brought to life in classroom settings using contemporary media documents as codes to deepen understanding and to initiate involvement for change.

Continue Reading

Strategies and Tactics for Interdisciplinary Experiential Environmental Education and Digital Media Production

By Andy Opel

This essay describes a series of interdisciplinary projects addressing environmental issues in Florida where faculty and students from different departments collaborate on complex problems and produce multimedia work aimed at reaching a public audience. Through a series of brief case studies, a model of interdisciplinary experiential education emerges, providing a pathway forward for other faculty to create community engaged projects that have real world impacts.

Continue Reading

For the Love of Nature: Bringing Environmental Justice to Urban Elementary Students

By Lizzette Mendoza, Brad Rumble and Jeff Share

This essay explores the role of critical pedagogy in environmental justice education. We discuss the need for teaching a love of nature (biophilia) as an entry point for developing a caring relationship and sense of stewardship with the natural world. Place-based education and ecopedagogy offer liberatory potential to make education more transformative and focused on the intersections between social and environmental justice. After discussing theoretical approaches of ecopedagogy and indigenous perspectives, we describe a project in which a principal converts the hardscape at two schools into natural habitats and a new teacher engages her students in ecopedagogy.

Continue Reading

The Origin of Resources: Sustainable and Experiential Learning in Italy

By William Pettit and Candice Smith Corby

Held near Siena, Italy, our 3-week summer abroad program, The Mindful Palette of Stonehill College, combines art, gastronomy, and agricultural studies that strive for cultural mindfulness through holistic and experiential learning processes. A strong belief in sustainability, both philosophically and praxis, underlie these unique experiences. We share the complexities of attaining a sense of mindfulness with modern expectations and preconceptions. We address strategies to convince and support students to not only taste-test but to learn and embrace another culture and the environment through interdisciplinary activities and media formats. Through immersive and hands-on learning, we explore the intersections of food culture and the arts, so that students gain a comprehensive understanding of the impact of the handmade and the value of personal labor. A nose-to-tail mindset defines how and what materials we use. Until the modern era, art-making, food preparation, and scientific experiments were born out of the kitchen, both as laboratory and studio. The hearth was also the heart of the home—and therefore defined the family and cultural identity. Artistic practices that begin with the origins of our resources and have connections to the kitchen fortify our lessons and touch upon many of the aspects we find most important in the act of mindful learning—awareness of the self and the other, and our material’s origins and potential uses. They result in seeing how the daily and divine are one and the same.

Continue Reading

Blooming in the Doom and Gloom: Bringing Regenerative Pedagogy to the Rebellion

By Tema Milstein

Transformative sustainable pedagogy and public intellectual work share the same aims and guideposts, including upholding higher education’s foundational intentions of fostering moral character in tomorrow’s leaders. Radical modes of sustainable education, including regenerative pedagogy, which tends to the global shift to restore, respect, and regenerate ecological and societal balance, and inside-out pedagogy, which helps learners take their inner seeds, sprouts, and blossoms of good ecocultural intentions to stages of external fruition, speak both to educating learners and engaging the public. If pedagogues aim to encourage students to put beliefs into action and be leading voices in ethically addressing today’s pressing environment and society problems, this may require role modeling by having the courage to do so themselves. In these contexts, the author relates her own experiences speaking for Extinction Rebellion as an illustration of expanding notions of what it means to be a sustainability educator today.

Continue Reading

“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