Archive: Departments

Supporting Eco-Character Development Through Community-Based Inquiry Learning

By Andrea Kunze

Abstract. This study investigates whether children at an urban place-based environmental education camp can develop three dimensions of eco-character development after week-long participation: Head (knowledge), Hand/Feet (action), and Heart (care/connection). Using a community-based and inquiry-driven curriculum, campers practiced the roles of an arborist, ecologist, and environmental steward. Fifty-five Campers were assessed on all three dimensions using a 10-question pre/post-survey. An overall increase in content knowledge, relationships with nature, and motivation for pro-environmental behaviors were found. Outdoor environmental education summer camps and other out of school experiences may be the new avenue for educators and instructors to consider when trying to promote positive eco-character development in future generations.

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Effect of Ecopedagogy-Based Environmental Education on In-Service Teachers’ Consumer Behaviour in Turkey: A Follow-Up Study After Seven Years 

By Emel Okur-Berberoglu

Abstract:  Ecoliteracy can be defined as an understanding of natural systems and connections between biotic and abiotic factors within sustainable future. Green consumerism is an observable side of ecoliteracy. The aim of this study is, therefore, to examine the long-term effect of environmental education programmes intended for in-service teachers in terms of behavioural change. The teachers were joined ecopedagogy-based education programmes funded by TUBITAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) in Turkey and were followed up after seven years. The methodology of the study was mixed method within a case study. Quantitative data were collected by a survey and analysed by R statistics. Qualitative data were analysed by content analysis. It was found that the green consumer behaviours of in-service teachers have improved in the long term. However, it is needed more follow up studies within different time frames and country comparison studies in the future.

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Incorporating Public Deliberation into Sustainability Education

By Lisa Morano and Windy Lawrence

Abstract: A course in sustainability was implemented at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD).  The course was open to all students at UHD with a goal of teaching sustainability as the complex interaction of multiple fields (economics, social science and environmental science).  UHD’s Center for Public Deliberation (CPD) was interested in applying the concepts of public deliberation into courses outside of communication.  For effective public deliberation, students need to learn the skills of soliciting and incorporating diverse opinions as a pre-requisite of working together toward a solution.  Many students attracted to sustainability, including science and technology majors, do not realize that most problems of sustainability are not merely technical problems but problems that arise from conflicting ethical frameworks.  Students outside of public deliberation rarely have an opportunity to practice engaging in the tools that will be critical for them to develop solutions within the complexity of current social systems.  We review the value of public deliberation in higher education and the logistics of bringing public deliberation into a sustainability course.  We summarize the logistics of the collaboration with a focus on deliberation, planning and action in a semester-long group projects with a focus on creating healthier communities.  We report on the impacts of both the communication and science faculty and the survey data from students.  Finally, we discuss the value of such a collaboration in sustainability education.

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‘Challenge to the South’ Revisited: A Case Study Worldwide of Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

By Paul Kolenick

Abstract: Three decades ago Julius Nyerere (1990) wrote Challenge to the South. In response to the legacy of colonialism, Nyerere challenged the nations of the Global South to advance their development and to free their people. These concerns are as relevant today as they were in the 1990s. Established for the United Nations Decade of Education Sustainable Development in 2005, there are now over 175 Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs) on Education for sustainable Development (ESD). This paper offers a case study of RCEs worldwide with a particular focus on challenges, and responses, including a focus on the select Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of poverty and health. Further, an account is given of RCEs which have attended to the recognition of Indigenous and traditional ways of knowing. 

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Beyond Traditional Teacher Professional Development: Innovations in Teacher Professional Learning in Environmental and Sustainability Education

By Julie Ernst, Deanna Erickson, Eva Burgess and Ryan Feldbrugge

Continued implementation of conventional professional development strategies will likely fall short of the innovations needed to prepare teachers to fully engage in and implement environmental and sustainability education. The Rivers2Lake education program based in Superior, Wisconsin, USA illustrates a transformational approach to teacher professional development.  We examine the program as a working example of three UNESCO learning processes that have been identified as aligning with and contributing to education for sustainability (Tilbury, 2011): collaboration and dialogue; engaging the whole system; and active and participatory learning.  Through a review of these processes, the article offers considerations for innovating teacher professional learning for environmental and sustainability education.  Key recommendations include shifting from isolated professional development events to ongoing professional learning as well as further investigation of the specific mechanisms that drive each of the UNESCO learning processes.

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Wanting to Share: How Integration of Digital Media Literacy Supports Student Participatory Culture in 21st Century Sustainability Education

By Andrew Bernier

Abstract: Recognizing that most modern students have access to smartphones equipped with multi-media capture capability, this article explores how sustainability education must include digital media literacy in 21st Century learning. Through the lens of a sustainability and media teacher, the article analyzes literature from the fields of digital media literacy, 21st century skills, and sustainability education. The author ties together theoretical and practical methods of how embracing digital media when teaching sustainability can enhance student learning and sharing of sustainability knowledge. With references to emerging trends, critiques, and challenges to media technology adoption in sustainability education settings, the author outlines several techniques to empower teachers and students to incorporate technology they already use daily, and share their work with greater audiences to engage communities beyond the classroom.

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Vanessa Nakate and Perceptions of Black Student Activists

By Chelsea McFadden

Abstract: This editorial discusses the intersection of environmental and racial justice and how the movement has failed to center voices most affected by climate change.

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Students’ Participation in Tree Planting Activity: Promoting the 21st Century Environmental Education

By Christopher H. Punzalan and Ma. Lyka M. Balanac

Universally, trees have been an important part of urban landscapes for millennia since they offer adequate benefits to humanity. Studies highlighted the positive impacts of biodiversity conservation in the students’ academic performance but there is still lack of literature pertaining to its role on the promotion of environmental education in the Philippines. On this note, this study aimed to analyze the Filipino senior high school students’ perceptions and experiences on participating in a tree planting activity, identify the implications of tree planting activity in studying Earth and Life Sciences, and explore the perceived constraints and opportunities. The study design is descriptive-qualitative in nature. Based on the qualitative data analysis, five themes have emerged such as: (1) simple yet beneficial; (2) opportunities and constraints; (3) practical application of learning; (4) environmental awareness promotion; and (5) mitigating environmental degradation. In conclusion, tree planting activity as a part of the field study program in schools is one of the most effective ways to combat and slow down the effect of global warming while promoting the students’ academic interests. This study also highlighted the positive impact of tree planting by improving the Filipino students’ perceptions of life, community, and environment which is the goal of 21st century education. Lastly, the study recommends the development of extension programs to school communities in the Philippines and worldwide that will arouse the interests and participations of the students to tree planting activity, gardening and ecological tours by partnering with relevant organizations and agencies.

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The Impact of Environmental Biology Courses on the Human-Nature Relationship and Pro-Environmental Behavior of College Students

By Kelly Cartwright

The relationship with nature and pro-environmental behaviors of community college students in introductory environmental biology courses were assessed using psychometric instruments and environmentally-themed Likert-based statements. Post-class, students demonstrated an increase in level of concern for non-human species and viewed themselves as closer to nature. Students’ motivation for environmental concern for other people or themselves was not affected by completion of the course. As a result of the class, students demonstrated increased levels of pro-environmental behavior, such as thinking about the environment, recycling, and energy and water conservation. Changes in relationship with nature and pro-environmental behavior were moderated by professor, suggesting that the professor’s teaching style and attitude may influence students’ views and attitudes. Neither gender, age, student status (full- or part-time), nor type of class (with lab or without lab) influenced students’ relationship with nature or pro-environmental behaviors. Substantially increasing the personal responsibility and degree of interaction with course content, as reflected by the comparison of an honors section to regular sections, did not result in significant changes in either relationship with nature or pro-environmental behavior. Applications to course instruction and environmental education at large are discussed.

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Linking sustainability education with the Sustainable Development Goals in K-12 schools

By Emily Hurd and Alison A. Ormsby

Sustainability education has changed identities a number of times over the last decades. How might whole-school sustainability (WSS) prepare students to address current global issues?  A focus on teaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) creates opportunities for students to develop systems thinking and to learn to take civic action.  We visited four schools in the United States to observe and document replicable models of K-12 WSS.  In our research, we used a mixed methods approach to code data from interviews, classroom observations, and school campus tours.  Results from a case study analysis of four K-12 schools map out pathways toward implementing and refining WSS education programs to include the SDGs, systems thinking, and civic action.

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From children’s literature to sustainability science, and young scientists for a more sustainable Earth

By Quan-Hoang Vuong

As the future of human development increasingly hinges on the need for sustainable education, this essay re-examines the imminent threats to humankind and the relevance of achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the engagement with sustainability science among today’s young scientists. It also discusses some socio-political and economic challenges to achieving sustainability and argues that developing sustainability science is difficult but not impossible. The hope lies in our current efforts to build productive and creative scientific communities through nurturing youth engagement with science via multiple channels such as children’s literature and science communication.

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Creative tools and design principles for sustainable classrooms

By Neda Movahed and David Manuel-Navarrete

Standardized, assembly-line models of education have created significant momentum for unsustainable classroom situations. Classes are sustained throughout the term using ranking systems and proof of outcomes such as grading and reporting on content knowledge acquired. There is a clear ending in sight. Both students and instructors are often bound to this ending, often feeling a deep sense of relief at the end of each class session. As sustainability educators, we have become conscious that industrialized methods of education no longer serve societies re-envisioning ways of sustaining themselves. Sustainability Education necessitates sustainable classrooms – spaces that are alive, adaptive, and open to innovation. We explore design principles that can support sustainable classrooms, focusing on creativity, humanity, horizontality, and compassionate facilitation. We share examples of creative learning tools used in a 300-level Sustainability classroom in Arizona State University. Data collected through student interviews and journaling are woven throughout the article to ground our viewpoints with practical insight.

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Farm-to-Table: How One Teacher Fostered Passionate, Project-Based, Place-Based Learning

By Jacquelynne Anne Boivin

Abstract: While passionate, project-based, and place-based education may sound like a stream of buzz-phrases or fads in education at face-value, this article uncovers their impact on student engagement and academic proficiency. While they are not textbook, traditional, pedagogical approaches, they are esteemed in the field of Education as undeniably effective and worth teachers’ consideration. This article discusses the impactful aspects of a.) passionate teaching, b.) project-based learning (PBL), and c.) place-based education (PBE). A former fifth-grade teacher’s experience in creating and implementing a curriculum titled, “Farm-to-Table,” contextualizes the power of passionate teaching, PBL, and PBE when used simultaneously. The article concludes with special considerations for other teachers that warrant attention before they start planning their own passionate, PBL, and PBE curriculum.

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The Power Game: Developing Influence and Negotiation Skills for Sustainable Development

By Elizabeth Hurley, Michael Mortimer, Jerry Abrams and David Robertson

Abstract: This paper describes the outcomes of a game designed to teach advanced leadership skills, specifically influence and negotiation strategies, to current and aspiring sustainability professionals at Virginia Tech’s Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability. In the game, students assume the role of a key stakeholder and practice principle-based negotiation, conflict management, consensus building, and related influence skills needed by professionals working on complex sustainable development challenges such as the transboundary resource issues
regarding hydropower and watershed management. We collected pre- and post- survey data to assess the effectiveness of the simulation in developing students’ negotiation and influence skills. Results suggest that the training helps students develop confidence in using influence and negotiation skills and feel more competent and better prepared to serve as leaders in the field.

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Campus Forest Carbon Sequestration: An Undergraduate Project Experience

By Mark Bremer, Emily Frisa, Rachelle Maccarone and Daniel Seif

Abstract: Predicted changes in climate have generated interest in strategies to mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases and increase education on the topic. Our study involved an instructor-led team of 19 biology undergraduate students that aimed to quantify tree carbon sequestered on 67 hectares of a university campus forest near Utica, New York, and estimate its monetary value as a carbon offset. We identified individual hardwood and conifer trees and measured diameter at breast height (DBH) of 343 trees within fifteen 0.04-hectare sample plots during a 3-week period. We estimated total campus forest carbon to be 7,678 Mg and annual sequestration to be 82 Mg C/year. We also found additional educational value of this voluntary field research project beyond traditional ecology field exercises. Campus managers could choose to count sequestered carbon as an offset to annual CO2 emissions from campus operations. Although our campus is not eligible to sell the accumulated carbon, we calculated a one-time offset to be worth $143,397 on the voluntary carbon trading market. Future studies could benefit from the efficient sampling methodology we used to quantify carbon contained in large forest areas and increased student learning from project-based field exercises.

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An Audio Journey Through Solutions to Global Warming in Pennsylvania

By Anna Nguyen and Laura Guertin

Abstract: Podcasts are increasing in popularity as an educational tool in recent years, but there remains a lack of podcasts that focus on climate change. The goal of this project was to create a series of audio files that address global warming solutions in the state of Pennsylvania, with each episode based upon a drawdown solution. Project Drawdown is a nonprofit organization that models how to reach “drawdown”— the future point in time when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline. This audio collection contains new and original podcasts addressing each Project Drawdown sector of global warming solutions, such as materials and waste, electricity generation, and land use. To highlight efforts in Pennsylvania, thirteen interviews were conducted with scientists, journalists, and professionals from organizations across the state, such as Feeding Pennsylvania, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), Philadelphia Green Roofs, StateImpact Pennsylvania, and Land Air Water Legal Solutions. Named Drawing Down in Pennsylvania, the podcast collection starts with an introductory episode, then eight episodes each corresponding with one of the Project Drawdown sectors, and wraps up with two additional episodes – one titled “Hope” with messages of optimism towards achieving warming solutions from the interviewees, and a special episode that focuses on The Pennsylvania State University and its efforts toward to drawdown. The audio collection is published online, together with corresponding transcripts and supplemental materials. It is hoped that these podcasts will help inform Pennsylvania residents to make choices and to take action for a sustainable future. For residents outside of Pennsylvania, these drawdown efforts can be applied to different populations and regions. The entire podcast series can be accessed at: https://sites.psu.edu/drawingdownpa/ and is suitable for middle school through college classrooms as well as general audiences.

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How An Arboretum Outreach Activity Changed Students’ Attitudes Towards Sustainable Development

By Laura Guertin, Karen Theveny and Ivan Esparragoza

Abstract: In Fall 2017, Penn State Brandywine kicked off an initiative titled Sustainovation, emphasizing programming and community collaborations through sustainability and innovation. The campus identified Tyler Arboretum as a community partner to work with to assist in advancing their education and outreach goals. Students from across the campus came together at the beginning of the semester for an initial meeting to be introduced to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to meet the community partner and to hear about the semester project of adding sustainability education to the arboretum’s fall festival Pumpkin Days. In addition, a validated survey from Biasutti & Frate (2017) was given to the students to define their attitudes towards sustainable development before working with this partner and the project. The survey addresses four sustainability constructs of Environment, Economy, Society, and Education. At the end of the semester, the same survey was given to student participants in this Sustainovation project for Tyler Arboretum. Aggregate data show that there is a statistically significant difference in student attitudes at a minimum 90% confidence level (t-test) for eight of the twenty survey statements in the constructs of Environment, Economy, and Society.

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Inspiring Action, Efficacy, and Connection: Weaving Sustainability into Environmental Science Curriculum through a Connected Learning Model

By Teresa Bertossi and Philip Halliwell

This comparative case study of teaching and learning experience explores connected learning design principles to improve engagement in higher education and weave sustainability practice into introductory environmental science curriculum through the integration of community, place, peer support, networking, and technology.  For this study teaching and learning took place in multiple settings, online and in a brick-and-mortar classroom, and in students’ communities. We set out to ask: In what ways might the implementation of connected learning principles be used to improve engagement and weave sustainability into environmental science curriculum, broaden interest in science literacy, and encourage community action in introductory higher education courses? Comparative analysis and collaborative autoethnography methodologies were utilized to compare professor experiences for analysis and synthesis of patterns.  Findings suggest that connected learning curriculum can broaden access to science, improve engagement, and help weave sustainability into a variety of courses by presenting students with relevant applied opportunities, connections and critical thinking about place and community, peer support and intergenerational connections, networking, and technology. Students can also gain a sense of agency and career relevance especially important to students who might otherwise feel they cannot “do science” or make a difference in a changing world.  Lastly, this approach can improve instructors’ teaching experiences by relieving time and content constraints to incorporating sustainability into other course subjects as students submit more interesting passion-driven work, and are encouraged to network with and learn from individuals (family, community, and scientists) outside the classroom they may not have otherwise sought out.

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Thinking Like a Trout Stream

By Julie Dunlap

Abstract: Aldo Leopold’s classic essay, “Thinking Like a Mountain,” has been a touchstone of environmental ethics and sustainability education for over seventy years and continues to challenge and inspire wildlife ecology undergraduate students, and many more. But has it lost some power in the face of mounting evidence of accelerating damage and growing threats to the natural world, threatening biodiversity and human society on a global scale? Students and others now need another Leopold story, one that encapsulates an environmental ethic with a call for urgent action, a metaphor that urges not just change, but rapid transformation.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 […]

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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

By Amanda Bielawski and Cora Kammeyer

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

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

By Cleary Vaughan-Lee and Sara Dorman

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

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Words for Water

By Mary Dougherty

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

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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.

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The Body that is a River

By Eileen Delehanty Pearkes

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

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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.

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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.

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