Archive: April2024

The Middle Way of Sustainability: A Journey from Academia to Conscious Capitalism

By meg ferrigno

Abstract: This article traces the evolution of MoonPads, a social benefit company founded by the author, weaving a narrative that spans personal experiences, academic pursuits, and a commitment to sustainability, social equity, and menstrual justice. The article explores the interconnected journey from childhood influences, through academic endeavors in sustainability education, to the entrepreneurial realm, shedding light on the intersection of gender equity and environmental sustainability. MoonPads emerged as a response to period poverty, seeking to provide accessible and eco-friendly menstrual products while challenging societal stigmas surrounding menstruation.

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The Deep Time Walk – How Effective Is It?

By Stephan Harding and Robert Woodford

Abstract: At Schumacher College, Dartington, UK in 2008 we introduced the Deep Time Walk – a transformative learning experience in which college participants walk 4.6km in the countryside of the Dartington Estate representing the entire 4,600 million years of our planet’s history. The aim of the walk is to increase the ecological awareness of participants by giving them an embodied experience of the immense age of our Earth. At certain points during the walk a facilitator explains key events in earth history, such as the formation of the planet and the first appearance of living cells. Here we assess the effectiveness of the Deep Time Walk offered to eleven distinct groups of walkers during 2022 -2023. Participants on each of the eleven Deep Time Walks were asked to respond to a simple questionnaire asking them to quantify how much of seven qualities they felt immediately before and immediately after their walk (these were: Awe and Wonder, Sense of Earth’s Ancientness, Connection to Nature, Consequences of the Crisis, Hope, Commitment to Personal Change and Commitment to Political Change) . In total, 153 participants took part in the eleven walks and responded to the questionnaire. Analysis of the data showed a highly statistically significant increase across all seven qualities (p<0.00001 for each quality), suggesting that the Deep Time Walk is an effective means for developing and enhancing ecological awareness and commitment to action in these times of severe global crisis. Qualitative data were not collected during this phase of the study due to time limitations during walks. We recognise the importance of this kind of data and are devising ways of gathering it for both past and future walks.

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One Poem at a Time: Using Culturally Sustaining and Disruptive Pedagogical Curriculum to Engage Students in Critical and Reflexive Thinking

By Heather L. Moulton

Abstract: One way to disrupt traditional Eurocentric teaching practices is through modifying curriculum in classes. Particularly, in an English Composition 101 course, an ongoing assignment called the Poetry Journal may assist students in thinking critically and reflexively. The concept was inspired by a high school English teacher, Brett Vogelsinger (2016), called “4 Reasons to Start Class with a Poem Each Day.” His four reasons: 1. Poems are short; 2. Poems are intense; 3. Poems connect (to other readings); 4. Poems inspire (writing). When building the assignment for a community college class, an instructor may make intentional (disruptive) choices for the poems. This article explores the project, which is grounded in culturally sustaining (Paris, 2021) and disruptive pedagogies (San Pedro, 2018)—both of which encourage the rethinking and dismantling of traditional Eurocentric-based instruction—and how the author (full-time faculty at a community college) applied said pedagogies to a specific in-class student activity to engage students in critical and reflexive thinking.

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Upholding the sovereignty of diverse knowledges by supporting Indigenous science in high-impact education

By Nina Fontana

Abstract: The Keepers of the Flame Initiative, now in its fifth year, is a dynamic partnership between cultural fire practitioners, UC Davis faculty, and a diverse study body. This experiential learning initiative at the University of California, Davis centers Indigenous Fire Workshops, focusing on cultural fire. By centering Indigenous science and teaching approaches, this initiative inherently becomes high impact. High Impact Practices (HIPs) are pivotal educational interventions that promote holistic student development and experiential learning. These practices encompass features such as setting appropriately high expectations, experiences with diverse people and circumstances, sustained student engagement over an extended period, meaningful interaction with faculty and peers, public demonstration of learning, real-world relevance of classroom learning, and structured opportunities for reflection. The Keepers of the Flame Initiative incorporates two types of powerful high impact practices: collaborative group projects and community-based learning. These educational practices significantly enrich student learning and particularly benefit historically underserved students as well as broader student populations. I analyze HIP features within the Keepers of the Flame Initiative using survey data gathered in winter 2023, while also delving into the importance of Indigenous-led educational approaches. Indigenous perspectives and educators are crucial in broadening educational approaches, providing a pathway to uphold sovereignty of diverse knowledge systems, and nurturing a sense of responsibility towards land stewardship and environmental justice.

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Sustainability in the Community – All Hands on Deck

By Jennifer Logan and Robin Sronce

Abstract: Southern Arkansas University has developed the SOAR Sustainability Conference to spotlight current sustainability-related efforts. SOAR, representing the southern Arkansas region, was added to the conference name to signify the area of emphasis for the event. This spring conference event has been held in April of 2022 and 2023. The 2023 conference included over 50 presenters from academia, private businesses, government agencies, and volunteer organizations. Session topics were aligned with the critical components of sustainability education including anticipatory thinking, empathy, change of perspective, justice, responsibility, and ethics. Surveys were distributed to SOAR conference attendees to gauge their level of attitudes, knowledge, and behavior regarding sustainability issues. Responses were very positive overall, showing gains in attendees’ attitudes, knowledge, and behavior between 2022 and 2023. The behavior category showed the largest annual increase while knowledge gains over the same period were lower. Overall, the SOAR Sustainability Conference has shown success in engaging students and community stakeholders to take part in this effort to address sustainability-related challenges in the area.

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An Intentionally Designed Sustainability Course: Integrating Service-Learning and Community Engagement into Sustainability Education

By Amélie Y. Davis, Steve G. Green, Kurt A. Heppard and Daniela S. Lawrence

ABSTRACT: In this paper we offer an approach to sustainability-related education that can help students integrate the lessons they are learning in the classrooms to the type of real-world applications they will encounter in the workplace. We believe that by using our campus as a living-learning laboratory and engaging students in hands-on projects within a campus lab that directly contribute to one of their institution’s leading sustainability initiatives, we can unlock the highest levels of educational achievement and student satisfaction. We describe our course as intentionally designed because we have developed it with a specific purpose that goes beyond the stated learning objectives. Our course not only addresses recognized institutional and course-level educational outcomes, but also uses a community engagement approach that also directly supports important aspects of an enterprise-wide Sustainability Strategic Plan. We present relevant literature, highlight the significance of our approach to sustainability education, and describe its impact at our institution and in the community. We then offer detailed descriptions of our course’s activities, discuss lessons-learned and suggest future potential avenues of research and application. We hope this case study may prove to be an exemplar or a catalyst for other institutions of higher education as well as inspire further research aimed at improving sustainability education.

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The Long Haul: Reflections on Decluttering

By Melissa Fockler

Abstract: This photo essay illustrates my journey of decluttering my childhood home. I have spent eight-months decluttering so far. Interestingly, I initially planned to declutter quietly and not document my experience. But the more I decluttered, the more I felt there was a story to tell, a cautionary tale of sorts. In this essay, I document my reflections on decluttering and raise questions about Western consumer culture. Logos and brand names have intentionally been edited/removed from photos.

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