Archive: Geography

Collaborative Ground Work in an Urban Green School: Empowering Students as Change Agents

By Laura Jennings, Kemeka SIdbury, Tamika Bierlein, Sohail Sukhera, William Sterrett and Jodi Hebert

Abstract: This case study provides insights into a collaborative effort involving D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy, a public university-run lab school in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina. The article overviews the combined efforts of DCVPA staff, university faculty, and community partners to engage the students in unique, hands-on learning experiences, particularly in the STEM areas. Students have taken the initiative to serve as change agents and leaders in the work. Several efforts at the school, including a composting program, a recycling effort, a seedling project, and a mycology lab, provide a window into dynamic experiential learning that has brought the university and school together.

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How to attract new target groups to address the SDG objectives: The case of an intelligent aeroponic community garden

By Heidi Rajamäki-Partanen and Timo Witikainen

Abstract: To successfully implement the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we must encourage all citizens to work together to enable a good life not only for us now but future generations too. In this article, we present an experiment carried out in autumn 2020 on a smart aeroponic garden. The goal of the experiment was to learn more about aeroponic cultivation and IoT technology and to acquire the know-how that would enable the participants to influence the environmental burden of food production. Our experiment showed that technology could also be used to introduce sustainable development themes to reach those target groups whose attention could not be attracted through other methods.

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Sustainability-Themed Programming Around Nature-Themed Literacy: Great Nature Reads and Multilingual Storytime

By Laura Guertin and Karen Theveny

Abstract: A partnership between a university and local arboretum was expanded to include the campus library as a collaborator. Instead of having sustainability-themed programming between the two institutions focus on just the environmental components of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a library brings attention to literacy and information access across all aspects of the partnership. We share two public programs held between our university and an arboretum with strong involvement by the library in the development and execution stages, thereby increasing the connections across the SDGs and progress towards the 2030 agenda.

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Empowering Staff Members to Improve Student Learning in Sustainability Projects: The “We Are All Educators” Workshop at Harvard University

By Kris Markman, David Havelick and Margaret Wang

Abstract: Staff members play an important role in guiding students through living lab sustainability projects at Harvard University. Since there are significant opportunities for co-curricular learning in these settings, we created the “We Are All Educators” professional development workshop to empower those staff members to optimize and track student learning throughout these projects. In this case study, we will briefly summarize key principles of CCL and discuss its benefits as a tool for sustainability education in higher education. We will also describe our planning and implementation process for the workshop, the content of our training materials, and the results. Finally, we will end with key takeaways, as our workshop may be applicable to co-curricular learning in a variety of higher education contexts.

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A Tree, a Rock, a Butterfly

By Julie Dunlap

Abstract: This word journey explores flaws in our approach to cultivating environmental ethics and caring for biodiversity, especially among youths, through the lens of Carson McCullers’ classic story about the tragic but common failure of so many to achieve love between human beings.

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Placemaking Curricula in Teacher Preparation: 
Bridging State Standards and Local Expertise

By Laura Liu

Abstract: This study examined how placemaking curricula shaped teacher candidate (candidate) knowledge, dispositions, and skills to understand, appreciate, and sustain local diversity, as evidenced through candidate reflections and products created in an elementary teacher education course integrating civic science concepts and practices into elementary classrooms. This study explored how placemaking curricula engaged community stakeholders in meaningful shared inquiry on real-world challenges, while meeting state science education standards. Placemaking inquiry projects developed by candidates focused on soil and water conservation, and sustaining diversity in schoolyard spaces. Curricula engaged candidates in learning soil and water conservation techniques from local farmers and conservation leaders, then developing and sharing co-authored civic science children’s books on conservation topics aligned to grade-level standards. As further placemaking curricula, candidates partnered with elementary teachers and students to guide schoolyard observations, designs, and models constructed to sustain diverse abilities, cultures, and ecologies. Presentations to parents and peers celebrated shared insights.

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25 Years Pioneering High Altitude and Glacial Archaeology from the Mountains of Argentina

By Constanza Ceruti

Abstract: Glacial archaeology is an emerging field of scientific research, rapidly expanding in Scandinavia, the Alps and North America. And yet its origins are to be found in the Andes of Argentina. Constanza Ceruti is the first woman high altitude archaeologist in history. Her pioneering contributions to this field of research involve having ascended and explored, sometimes solo and unsupported, more than one hundred peaks above 5000 meters in remote corners of the Andes. In 1999, Ceruti codirected the scientific excavations on mount Llullaillaco (6739 m), the highest archaeological site in the world, and co-discovered three extraordinarily preserved frozen mummies, together with an outstanding collection of artifacts from the Inca civilization (currently housed at the Museum of Mountain Archaeology in Salta, Argentina). In recent years, Ceruti has climbed hundreds of mountains in different parts of our planet, to study (from an anthropological perspective) their role in pilgrimage, folklore, popular devotion, mythology, identity and tourism. Her academic production includes more than one hundred scientific papers and twenty-five books on sacred mountains of the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia and Polynesia. A northern hemisphere predominance in anthropology at large, and particularly in high mountain and glacial archaeology (associated also with mobbing and male chauvinsm in mountaineering), have led to a lack of proper recognition, not only for her own  pioneering career, but for the rightful place of the Andes at the forefront of academic research on the sacred role of mountains in ancient cultures.  

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The Role of Place Attachment and Situated Sustainability Meaning-Making in Enhancing Student Civic-Mindedness: A Campus Farm Example

By Brandon H. Sorge, Francesca A. Williamson, Grant A. Fore and Julia L. Angstmann

Abstract:  This research explores the role that place attachment and place meaning towards an urban farm play in predicting undergraduate students’ civic-mindedness, an important factor in sustainability and social change.  In 2017 and 2018, three STEM courses at a private university in the Midwest incorporated a local urban farm as a physical and conceptual context for teaching course content and sustainability concepts. Each course included a four to six-week long place-based experiential learning (PBEL) module aimed at enhancing undergraduate STEM student learning outcomes, particularly place attachment, situated sustainability meaning-making (SSMM), and civic-mindedness. End-of-course place attachment, SSMM, and civic-mindedness survey data were collected from students involved in these courses and combined with institutionally provided demographic information. Place attachment and SSMM surveys, along with the course in which the students participated, were statistically significant predictors of students’ civic-mindedness score.

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Does transmissive sustainability education encourage behavior change? A case study of a university course on food systems 

By Julia Silver

Abstract: Industrial forms of food production and consumption are tied to environmental and socio-economic crises like climate change and social injustice. Changes in consumer behavior provide a lever to initiate transformations toward a more sustainable food system. One vehicle that is widely recognized as having the ability to encourage behavior change at large is education. Sustainability education has become increasingly popular over the past two decades, often being studied in innovative teaching-learning formats which employ transformative pedagogies that aim to foster critical consciousness through deep listening, dialogue, action, and reflection of students. However, classical teaching formats that employ more transmissive pedagogies, focused on delivery and mastery of content, have been comparatively little researched in the field of sustainability with regard to how they impact student behavior. Thus, this research aims to study if transmissive sustainability education can encourage university students to consume food more sustainably. To accomplish this, a case study with 12 undergraduate students in a food sustainability course was conducted. Mixed-methods data collection and analysis techniques, such as questionnaires and interviews, were utilized in order to track participants’ self-reported food consumption behaviors before, during, and after the course. Results suggest agreement among participants about the importance of course contents, but show no significant changes in their food consumption behaviors. The findings of this empirical study support the conclusion that imparting sustainability knowledge alone is insufficient to trigger behavior change.

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GIS and Sustainability Engagement in Higher Education

By Ryan Kmetz and Kayla Hickman

Abstract: Does the use of an interactive GIS web map significantly influence the level of sustainability stakeholder engagement at institutions of higher education? With over 1,000 institutions of higher education across the globe, the AASHE STARS report is one of the main tools available to sustainability professionals. For many institutions, the STARS report serves as a metric of sustainability progress and a source of new ideas and methods, while GIS provides a platform to display information within a context of systems, places, or times. Interactive web GIS allows for digital storytelling and can allow the user to explore specific information pertinent to their interests. This research explores potential links between the use of web GIS platforms and levels of campus engagement as measured by STARS.

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Case Study: Integrating Scenario Planning into Sustainability Practicums

By Stephen C. Trombulak and Jack M. Byrne

Abstract: Sustainability education can productively focus on concepts and/or skills, each playing an important role in preparing students to promote sustainability in society. We describe here the skills-based curriculum in an environmental sustainability practicum designed for undergraduate students. Although our curriculum provides training in numerous relevant skills, we focus here on one in particular: scenario planning. Originally developed in the 1970s by Shell Oil to develop robust business strategies in the face of future uncertainties, scenario planning is applicable to any planning domain where future conditions may be driven by the outcome of critical unknowns. For example, planning for effective community resilience in the face of climate change may depend on the degree of government support for renewable energy systems. In this practicum, students work in teams of 3-4 on the same challenge: Assess a specified human-natural system for its vulnerability to climate change in the next 20 years and develop solutions that effectively increase the resilience of the system in the face of uncertainty.
Scenario planning involves six steps: (1) Identify driving forces for future changes; (2 and 3) Identify certainties and uncertainties for future conditions; (4) Rank uncertainties by the degree to which they might affect future conditions; (5) Create a 2×2 grid of possible future scenarios based on the two most influential uncertainties; and (6) Describe the future world in each of these four scenarios. Using creative ideation techniques developed by IDEO for their Human-Centered Design methodology, students then use these four scenarios as the basis for envisioning effective strategies for promoting resilience regardless of how the critical uncertainties unfold (adaptive planning) or for influencing uncertainties to increase the probability that preferred scenarios manifest.

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Climate Change Vulnerability, Water, and Extreme Weather: Perspectives from Graduate Environment Students

By Kristy Franks and Travis Moore

Abstract: The experience and impacts of climate change are uneven across generations, income classes, cultural groups, and geographical locations. Efforts to document and understand such experiences and related perspectives are increasing. Particularly among student groups, there is much attention on understanding how children and teenagers perceive climate change. However, until now, such perspectives of graduate students have not been represented in the literature. We, thus, surveyed and spoke with graduate students from a Geography, Planning and Environment Program at Concordia University in Montreal / Tiohtià:ke, Quebec, Canada. As a sample of next-generation decision makers, they shared fears, concerns, and recommendations consisting of both bio-physical and socio-political scientific dimensions. They expressed interdisciplinary perspectives related to climate change vulnerability, mitigation, and adaptation as they relate to water and extreme weather. Their fears included uncertainties pertaining to climate and human behaviors, and the possibility of surpassing global carrying capacities that could result in irreversible and lethal disasters. Considerations involved recognizing the vulnerability of the climate system and of humans, with a focus on socio-political injustices. Students placed a strong focus on emerging opportunities, such as fostering community development and investing in innovative technologies. They recommended power shifts, through paradigm awareness and reformed policies, where currently vulnerable populations access more decision-making power. They suggested fostering interdisciplinary and international cooperation to integrate climate science, involving age-appropriate modelling programs, into school curricula, and learning about human positionality and from resilient populations. We consider wicked problems, psychological distancing, and climate literacy as influential concerns in shaping climate change contexts and literacy. Our methodology allowed research participants to guide the study’s questions and foci with the use of a survey, collectively-generated word collages, and a focus group. The activities prompted space for the group to practice roleplaying as decision makers. As gentle form of Participatory Action Research, the methods could guide other groups to reflect upon and document their perspectives. 

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Unthinking Oil Together: Developing a Collaborative and Transdisciplinary Course to Imagine a Post-Carbon Future

By Gabriel Fuentes, Daniela Shebitz and Julia Nevárez

Abstract: While it is widely recognized that effectively addressing climate change requires a drastic reduction in carbon emissions, we nonetheless find ourselves in an impasse, unable to imagine nor bring about a post-carbon future. This is, in part, because climate change is not only a technological problem, but also a philosophical, cultural, and aesthetic problem—an existential crisis of thinking, or perhaps unthinking. To unthink the carbon regime, higher education must forge new thought models and educational platforms that operate in solidarity across disciplinary scales and territories. This report documents a collaborative course development process for a grant-funded transdisciplinary course entitled: Unthinking Oil: Public Architecture and the Post-Carbon Imaginary. In particular, we discuss a virtual Unthinking Oil Workshop held with students and faculty from a range of disciplines. The workshop provoked broad discussions regarding the role of higher education in addressing the many entanglements between climate change, society, and the built environment.

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Listening for a Life-Sustaining Society

By Jen Mason

Abstract: After 20 plus years as a sustainability educator, the author had one of those lie-awake-at-night-staring-at-the-ceiling experiences where she faced some hard questions about the state of the world. In this article, describes her subsequent journey investigating the role of listening in shifting to a life-sustaining society and her Ph.D. research into how to support listening across differences to address complex social-ecological challenges.

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River Meditations: A Journey into Environmental Education 

By Blake C. Scott. and Merrie Koester

What if a river or a creek were to tell us its story? In this short film and interview, we offer a glimpse into the ecological philosophy guiding our efforts to create “more sustainable ways of living with water and how to appreciate its capacities to support all life.”

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The Thin Blue Line: Community-Based Climate Change Adaptation and the Case of RCE Greater Dhaka (Bangladesh)

By Paul Kolenick

Abstract: In 2008 astronauts aboard the International Space Station captured an image of sunlight as it passed through the Earth’s thin atmosphere, described as the thin blue line of “all that stands between life on Earth and the cold, dark void of space.” At the center of sustainability education is a discourse of climate change and life’s demise on the planet. In this short article, the contributing role of the United Nations University’s Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs) for sustainability education is explored with respect to community-based climate change adaptation, notably through RCE Dhaka (Bangladesh) as an example of the challenges and opportunities for climate change adaptation in one of the most heavily populated megacities of the Global South.

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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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‘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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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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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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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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“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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“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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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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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Student-designed greenhouse for sustainability competencies

By Ian Carbone, Kelly Boulton, Sarah Nathan and Bennett Gould

This case study describes a student-led campus sustainability initiative to design and implement a power-generating greenhouse at Allegheny College. The design of the greenhouse was carried out by students in collaboration with professionals in a variety of learning settings including research seminars, independent studies, paid internships, and senior thesis projects. By providing a detailed account of the student-driven design process and structuring the analysis around a framework of documented sustainability competencies, this paper identifies challenges and opportunities for utilizing living labs for sustainability education. Researchers observed that students who contributed to greenhouse development in multiple capacities developed several sustainable competencies. The project also demonstrates the difficulty of engaging students in both the planning and implementation stages of multi-year efforts. While the student-led design process introduced new logistical challenges, deep levels of student commitment and unique student backgrounds were critical to the greenhouse project’s success.

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Hacking down disciplinary walls: Advancing sustainability and interprofessional competencies through a hackathon model

By Rachelle Haddock, Dr. Rahim Kachra and Dr. Nishan Sharma

The Calgary Interprofessional Challenge (CIC) engages university students across disciplines in a novel 44-hour hackathon based on faculty and peer-to-peer interprofessional education. CIC uses short introductory talks on problem-solving in different faculties, a series of workshops, and expert mentorship from university faculty, relevant specialists, and entrepreneurs as its core curriculum. A recent offering of CIC used the campus as a learning lab by focusing on a sustainability challenge at our university. The CIC model can be replicated at other campuses to advance sustainability, while cultivating interprofessional and sustainability practice competencies such as stakeholder engagement, group collaboration, and understanding of different worldviews and relationships. 

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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.

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David Selby’s Radical Approach to Sustainability Education

By Sue L. T. McGregor

Although higher education institutions are being encouraged to reorient their curricula to address sustainability, not everyone accepts the tenets of the United Nations’ mainstream approach to education for sustainable development (ESD), especially David Selby. This paper recounts intellectual gold nuggets garnered from critically reading his scholarship about education for sustainable contraction to counter climate change and global heating (instead of global warming). His ideas are deemed both enticing and disconcerting but apropos for these ‘interesting times.’ They provide a way for people to walk a different path than mainstream ESD one that respects transience, contraction, moderation and sustainability. This can best be achieved by deep education leading to deep, quantum learning so people can engage with the fears and truths staring them in the face. The thoughts shared in this paper should resonate with educators, politicians, industry leaders, civil society and the media.

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Finding the Math in the Mountains: Place-based Learning in the Mountains of Southwest Virginia

By Heather Askea

Abstract: The purpose of this article is to provide key aspects and learning outcomes associated with the Math of the Mountains Project. Math of the Mountains was a year long grant project that engaged 60 K12 mathematics teachers in the key concepts and applications of place-based learning and mathematics instruction. Through online coursework and peer support, a four-day immersive field experience, and teacher led field experiences, participants applied elements of PBL to create lesson activities that support real-world learning and problem solving scenarios.

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

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

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

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Sulitest®: A Mixed-Method, Pilot Study of Assessment Impacts on Undergraduate Sustainability-related Learning and Motivation

By Alicia M. Mason

Abstract: A United Nations international collaboration between the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) resulted in the creation of Sulitest® (aka Sustainability Literacy Test) an open, online training and assessment tool freely available to higher education institutions globally. This study analyzes the effectiveness of the newly developed Sulitest® to not only measure sustainability literacy of higher education student populations, but also act as a catalyst for boosting affective learning outcomes by: (a) generating interest in sustainability-related issues, (b) improving sustainability-related understandings, and (c) enhancing students’ interests in the subject matter. In order to do so we present a two-phase, exploratory mixed-method pilot study. Preliminary results from this pilot study reveal Sulitest is a useful tool for not only assessing sustainability literacy but also spurring student interests and motivations in sustainability-related subject matters. Findings, discussion and limitations are provided.

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

By Lisa Papania

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

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

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

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

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The Development of Citizen Educators at a Remote Graduate Science Education Program

By Cliff Harbour

Abstract: This paper describes and explains findings from an exploratory, interpretative qualitative case study that examined how a residential graduate program in science education, based in a wilderness area, supported the development of citizen educators. Data collection over a three-year period included 16 in-depth interviews with administrators, faculty, and graduate students; observations of class activities and campus community meetings; and document analysis of curriculum materials. Analysis of the data revealed how the culture of the campus community encouraged students to become citizen educators.

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

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

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

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