December 27th, 2014

JSE comes of age on the international stage

By Larry Frolich and Jen Mason

Frolich editorial icon

Now in our fifth year of publication, the Journal of Sustainability Education boasts viewers from over 200 countries—in other words from nearly every country or political unit on today’s world map.  The contributors of the 24 works in this issue hail from 8 different countries, and nearly every piece carries some international and/or cross-cultural significance.  Alexandar and Poyyamoliee bring us a view of environmental education for girls in Tamil Nadu province of India, whereas Gkiolmas and Skordoulis make a case for using Greening the Academy: Ecopedagogy through the Liberal Arts as a text in Greek universities. This resonance around the world was not, admittedly, something that we expected for JSE, and speaks to the force with which interest in sustainability-related questions, and their educational solutions, are moving forward on a global scale.

Two other explicit goals of the journal do manifest themselves on the screens of this issue.  One of these is evident to us in the struggle to write this editorial introduction without using the words “article,” “page” or “author.”  From the start we have wanted to use the “free color ink” and dynamic interface of the digital screen to include photos, images, audio, video, graphics and other multi-media formats.  Nearly every contribution in this issue contains a visual of some sort, and our recent themed issues have also included an interactive gateway data matrix.  In this issue, Suzanne Gardner brings us beautiful and thought-provoking images of art and literacy from behind prison walls in the U.S. and Elizabeth Meacham’s poetic essay includes the self-system drawings of her students.  As the screens become increasingly flexible in size, as our perception of what is off the screen, and the ability to extend infinitely beyond its bezels matures, and as we move further into the dimensions of depth—with 3-D virtual worlds part of the creative pallet—and time—with changeable and non-endings to our creative works—JSE will continue to push the genre boundaries of academic and timely publishing.

Secondly, the works in this issue show the breadth of definition for sustainability that has been a core principle for JSE from its inception.  In fact, with only three of the 24 articles containing an explicit environmental or ecological focus, this issue delivers on our continued resolve to include the social, political, cultural, artistic and equity dimensions of sustainability.  Kolan and Sullivan TwoTrees proactively explore the relationships among power, privilege and sustainability, while Meo et al. bring us the design perspective with a look at life cycles for manufactured goods.

As a species, we are in the exciting midst of the most significant evolutionary transition of our short 100,000 year run:  the move to the city, mostly complete in the Northern hemisphere, halfway there in the global South.  Banai as well as Frederick and Pijawka provide a fascinating perspective on urban planning and sprawl.  In this young century, sustainability must and will be about how we adapt to the urban overhaul, not only in our ecology, writ large to include economies, but also to the reweaving off our social and cultural fabric.  The Urban Century is before us—JSE will be the outlet that helps us learn and teach how to make it sustainable in every way.

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