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Case Study

Sustainability and the Olympics: The case of the 2016 Rio Summer Games

By Sylvia Trendafilova, Jeffrey Graham and James Bemiller

The Olympic Games are the ultimate mega sporting event with not only hundreds of thousands of athletes, but also hundreds of thousands of spectators, volunteers, media, and security personnel. The Olympics concentrate a large number of people in a confined space (one city or even specific areas within the city) over a relatively small period of time (two weeks), thus introducing inevitable hardship to the natural environment. This case study focuses on the challenges Rio faced in preparation to stage and host the 2016 Summer Olympics Games, and at the same time provide an environment safe to all. More specifically, the case focuses on the water quality in Rio and the associated health risks for athletes competing in the open water events. This case study provides students with knowledge about the history of environmental sustainability in the Olympics and prepares them for a career in a global industry that is increasingly focusing on and implementing environmental initiatives.

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Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash
Scholarly Features

Environmental education in teacher education programs: Incorporation and use of professional guidelines

By Rebecca L. Franzen

Faced with everything from climate change to resource depletion, citizens must be environmentally literate. One path to literacy is through teacher education. Participants in this U.S.-based study completed a survey, indicating teaching methods and assessment strategies used to address the Guidelines for the Preparation and Professional Development of Environmental Educators themes. Although many indicated unfamiliarity with the Preparation Guidelines, the majority address them in their teaching. Fostering Learning, Environmental Literacy, and Planning and Implementing Environmental Education were commonly addressed, while Foundations of Environmental Education was not frequently addressed. Discussion, inquiry-based learning, and assigned readings were often used teaching methods, while lesson plans and reflections were common assessments. The results suggest that faculty members are implicitly including EE and that there are gaps in meeting the competencies in EE.

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Figure 3: Our students participating in the more detailed drawing exercises within the botanical art workshop in class (Photo Credit: VL Rodgers).
Vision for Sustainability Education

Bridging the boundaries of science and art for business students: Integrating botany and artistic perspectives to teach environmental literacy

By Vikki L. Rodgers and Danielle Krcmar

Engaging students not majoring in science, sustainability or environmental studies in learning environmental literacy and shifting their attitudes and behavior toward nature often requires a multi-perspective approach and presents unique challenges. We sought to: (1) pair artistic perspectives with botanical concepts to educate and interest our students in learning environmental literacy, (2) engage our students in careful observation and visualization of nature, and (3) increase the environmental sensitivity of our students by connecting botany with nature based art. To do this we designed a pre-class assignment, an in-class botanical art workshop, and a written reflection assignment that asked students to view, conceptualize, and create works of botanical art as a multi-perspectival process of engaging with relevant scientific processes and environmental concerns connected to botany. Here we provide a justification for the value of bridging science with art, detail our approach, describe student survey responses and thoughtful written reflections, and illustrate lessons learned and future plans.

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Case Study

Hope and a hike: Cultivating nature connection and hope and setting the stage for action through a women’s walking group

By Catherine Dyer

This article focuses on ‘Hope and a Hike’ a women’s walking group in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The group uses an online Meetup to bring women together for weekly one-hour hikes which include information about a local positive conservation initiative (the hope component). It combines exercise, health gains, and social opportunity, with knowledge, positive local conservation success stories and experience in forested areas. The goal is to awaken a connection to the natural environment with hope and a desire to care and take action for the environment. Participants are women, mostly ages 35-70. This case example includes how the group relates to research on: benefits of walking in nature, awe, women, hope, connection to nature, pro-environmental actions and relational activism. Details about hope topics and ideas for expanding the hikes could be used in informal education as well as in course development.

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Case Study

Breaking down barriers to university-community engagement: a Master’s student-led sustainable agriculture workshop for children in Costa Rica

By Olivia Sylvester, Monika Bianco, Janaya Greenwood and Tiyamike Mkanthama

This article describes a sustainable agriculture workshop designed and led by Master’s students to support university-community engagement in Costa Rica. Our project had three transformative goals: 1) to empower Master’s students as educators, 2) to share food security knowledge with community youth, and 3) to strengthen our university-community relationships for knowledge dissemination. For other scholars who wish to apply principles from our Master’s student-led workshop within their local context, we describe our recommendations as well as areas for improvement regarding our three goals. Despite our workshop successes, it was a volunteer project that competed with the academic workloads of the students and the professor. We suggest that community engagement form part of regular academic obligations and courses to increase its accessibility and to provide more opportunities for Master’s students to transition into educators and practitioners before entering their fields of work.

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Media Review

Technical Education Resources for Sustainable Agriculture: The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook and The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables: A Review

By Clare Hintz

Two books dealing with sustainable agriculture are reviewed as resources for teaching: The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook and The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables. Both fill important gaps in the field.

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Report

World University Sustainability Assessment (WUSA) Tool: Investigating Sustainability Content in Mathematics Subject in Universiti Sains Malaysia

By Siti Fairuz Mohd Radzi and Mohd Sayuti Hassan

ABSTRACT: Sustainability and sustainable development have become one of the dominant topics of discussion among individuals, institutions, companies and universities in response to any global issues with regard to climate change. Many universities including Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) have taken the initiative to instil sustainability element in its programme offered to its prospective student. USM aims to pioneer in sustainability area and become the reference point with regard to sustainability in Malaysia. In this paper, we provide the background of our USM and its goals towards becoming the sustainability-led university in Malaysia. We also introduce the tool that we have developed to help in calculating the percentage of sustainability content in any document. We utilize the tool to help us in investigating whether sustainability element is fully instilled in Mathematics programme offered in School of Mathematics in USM. We also provide our recommendation and future works to further strengthen this study in the future.

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Report

Understanding of Sustainability amongst Students of Management– A Case of Indian Institute of Management, Raipur, State of Chhattisgarh, India

By Pramod Kumar Sharma and Sanjeev Prashar

Abstract: India has compulsory teaching and learning of Environmental Education at all levels of formal education. This was mandated through a Supreme Court directive. This study was conducted using a survey instrument that was used as a proxy of sustainability literacy. The instrument had open-ended questions to gauge the respondent’s perspectives, close ended knowledge-based questions, statements to understand attitudes and their awareness of eco-labelling/certification. The target group of study was the entire batch of 90 students (15 Female and 75 Male) that had joined the postgraduate programme in 2014. The students came with about of year of work experience. The major background was engineering and science with only eight percent with commerce background. All were found to be high achievers in their previous education in school and graduation.

Content analysis of the open ended question showed that 24 percent of the students agreed that economic development at the cost of environment is a short term solution, followed by 16 percent each saying that there is a need to have a balance or economic development should be at the least environmental cost. About seven percent said that economic profit can improve the environment and there is no option left if we need economic development. Only six percent putting comfort over the environment. Although the attitude was very positive, about 62 percent of the students were not able to articulate the difference between the quality of life and standard of living. 75 percent of the respondents supported the compulsory CSR act. 71 percent were in favour of extended producer responsibility. There seems to be a limited understanding of sustainable development and equates it to environmental conservation as any lay person who is informed by mass media. 72 percent did not understand the term Green Washing. The awareness was found to be moderate. Profit maximisation was the understanding as the goal of a business. Nearly half of them were of the opinion that consumers will not pay for environmentally friendly products. Although a high of 89 percent said that eco-labelling has an influence on consumer behaviour, very few of them were aware of eco-labels. Almost all agreed that polluters should pay 67 percent of them also believe that environmental clearances are an impediment to economic growth and 64 percent believe that privatisation leads to better utilisation of resources.

The study shows a pro environment attitude but at the same time a limited understanding of the depth of issues and only the economic centric perspective of sustainable development. Only 16 percent gave some hint of social dimension to sustainable development. Awareness of HDI and GDP was high but connection to quality of life was missing. The environment was high on priority as 24 percent of the students agreed that economic development at the cost of environment is a short term solution, followed by 16 percent each saying that there is a need to have a balance or economic development should be at the least environmental cost. There seems to be a limited understanding of sustainable development and equates it to environmental conservation as any lay person who is informed by mass media.
Also it was found that students were influenced by common business perspective being projected in Indian media. Business is becoming a major driver of sustainable development with increasing production and consumption along with population as a major reason for environmental degradation. It is recommended that social and environment be part of ethical framework of business education. It would be useful if details sustainability literacy assessments are done to inform the business management curriculum for the need to include environmental /sustainability management. The impact of undergraduate discipline was found to influence awareness and perception and hence it is important that the management curriculum removes the gap in sustainability literacy amongst students.

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Case Study

The Green School Concept: Perspectives of Stakeholders from Award-Winning Green Preschools in Bali, Berkeley, and Hong Kong

By Ailin Iwan and Nirmala Rao

Abstract: The concept of a Green School is contested, negotiable, and complex, and this study considers stakeholders’ perspectives of this concept. A total of 21 stakeholders (principals, teachers, and parents) from three award-winning green preschools in three different societies were interviewed to discern their understanding of the notion of “green school”. The award-winning green schools were located in Bali (a developing region in Indonesia, a developing Eastern country), in Berkeley (a developed city in the United States, a developed Western country), and in Hong Kong (a developed city in a China, that that acts as a meeting point of East and West). They were selected as they are considered to be the pioneers in this field in their respected regions. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with principals, teachers, and parents at the sites over a 10-month-period. Three concepts related to the Green School, namely Green Education, Green School, and Green Building, were explored. The stakeholders were asked about their preferences in relation to having children educated inside a Green Building or receiving education utilizing a Green Curriculum. Results indicated that stakeholders’ perceptions about the Green School concept were inconsistent. However, they were aligned with the ‘green’ message that each school tries to convey.  Stakeholders, regardless of their cultures, agreed consistently that they preferred preschools implement a Green Curriculum over occupying a Green Building. Implications and future directions for research on Green Schools are discussed.
 

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Case Study

City of Aspen Single Use Bag Study

By Laura Armstrong and Elizabeth O’Connell Chapman

Abstract: Five years after the City of Aspen Waste Ordinance went into effect, this study examines its effectiveness and current shopper behavior. The ordinance banned single use plastic bags from supermarkets and placed a $0.20 fee on single use paper bags. The policy was supported by outreach measures such as distributing reusable bags and education. Results show that single use paper bag sales per $100 of supermarket revenue ranged from a low of 0.59 bags/$100 revenue in 2012 to high of 0.78 bags/$100 revenue in 2014. This rate remained relatively constant between 2014-2016. These low values, combined with the observation that only 15% of shoppers leaving supermarkets were observed using single use bags, indicates that a substantial number of customers choose reusable bags or no bags at all. In contrast, observations made at a nearby supermarket with no bag policy in place indicated that 77% of shoppers left with single use bags. Surveys and interviews indicated that while some people initially opposed Aspen’s bag policy, the community has now generally adapted to and accepted it. These results suggest a level of success in using a policy lever, such as Aspen’s Waste Reduction Ordinance, to advance sustainable behavior.

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Opinion

Waiting for Godot: Leadership for sustainability in higher education and the emergence of Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs).

By Paul Kolenick

Abstract: The question is raised about the nature of transformative change with respect to sustainability in higher education. In particular, should this change be reserved for senior administration? Or alternatively, should faculty and staff as the “institutional middle” of higher education be considered as best suited to lead sustainability on campus, and further, in partnership with stakeholders and others with interests in advancing sustainability within wider society. In this respect, Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs), established by the United Nations’ University (UNU) are considered as a way toward transformational change in higher education by bridging the gap between higher education and multiple stakeholders with interests in sustainability. Complexity theory, and particularly the notion of complex adaptive systems (CAS), is applied toward an understanding of RCEs as a venue for sustainability leadership in higher education.

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Case Study

Connecting through the lens: Cross-cultural perspectives on urban design and water infrastructure using participatory photography as an observational learning tool

By Molly Gail Mehling, Gregory Galford, William Biss, Darlene Motley, Yandi Andri Yatmo and Paramita Atmodiwirjo

This case study shares a unique educational experience that combined sustainability and design education with international partnerships that sought to investigate and visually analyze relationships between housing design and water infrastructure in both Pittsburgh, PA (USA) and urban centers of Indonesia. This project built upon an existing foundation of international relationships between faculty and institutions within a consortium framework. The project used a pre-course and a faculty-led student trip to establish relationships among faculty and students based in the United States (US) and Indonesia and to determine preliminary shared research goals to be built upon for future research collaborations that can attain a deeper and longer-term relationship. Students who participated in these courses refined their visual communication skills, gained a valuable global perspective on urban water management, were exposed to participatory photography as a research tool, and were strongly affected by their cultural experiences in Indonesia. Peer work between US and Indonesian students provided opportunities for students to exchange ideas and perceptions about the observed environment, which are influenced by their familiarity and unfamiliarity with the setting. The experience of this project can serve as a primer for the sustainability educator who is interested in interdisciplinary and international educational endeavors.

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Campus agriculture education: educating food citizens or producers?

By Brandon Hoover and Lindsey MacDonald

Colleges and Universities around the U.S. have quietly invested in campus agricultural projects (CAPs) as interdisciplinary space for sustainability and food system education. In 2009, the College Sustainability Report Card showed that 29 percent of college campuses had some sort of campus farm or garden (Sustainable Endowments Institute, 2009). Agricultural education is no longer limited to traditional land grant research farms. CAPs have emerged in small and large, vocational and liberal arts institutions; but what role do these programs truly play in educating future farmers and food system professionals? Is preparing students for a career in the food system a goal of the relatively young campus agriculture movement? If so, what are the educational objectives and the pedagogical process for achieving them? Using qualitative and quantitative analysis of a regional inventory and a national survey, this article explores the themes associated with the campus agriculture movement and calls for a greater focus on the direction and purpose of campus agricultural education.

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Our Shores: Ultrarun for the Love of the Lake

By Allissa Stutte, Evan Flom and Andy Butter

We are three friends who ran 1,352 miles around Lake Superior on an expedition that began in May and ended in August 2016. ​As we undertook our expedition on foot we not only aimed to collect water samples for a global microplastics initiative by the environmental non-profit Adventure Scientists, but also to sit down and capture the stories of people who dare to carve out a living on Lake Superior.

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Gardening with Nature

By Kelly Cartwright

This essay is a personal reflection on the practice of gardening with nature. I explore how my gardening practices have influenced the other species in my yard and the associated changes in myself. Of key importance is that my role as a gardener has allowed me to have a deeper relationship with nature.

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Planting More than Just Veggies: Student-Created Plans for a Sustainable Urban Farm

By Daniela Shebitz, Sergio Capozzi and Jackie Park Albaum

We present a non-formal learning experience between Kean University students and Groundwork Elizabeth that draws upon the ecologically renewing and civically engaging mission of renewable agriculture. Under increasing urbanization pressure in the New York Metropolitan Area, Groundwork Elizabeth emerged as a nonprofit organization dedicated to address challenges of food security and environmental degradation. During the spring of 2015, 17 students in the School of Environmental and Sustainability Sciences at Kean University created a plan for the design and management of the Liberty Hall Farm, which Groundwork Elizabeth manages. The capstone students worked on six projects that were proposed by the Groundwork Elizabeth: 1) permaculture design, 2) water management, 3) soil management, 4) a medicinal plant garden design and implementation, 5) an online farm records tracking system, and 6) education curricula for primary and secondary schools visiting the farm. A summary of these actions and the project outcomes are presented.

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The Place of Food Systems: Exploring the Relationship between Sense of Place and Community Food Systems Engagement

By Jeremy Solin

This qualitative research study examined the relationship between sense of place and engagement in community food systems. Narrative inquiry, phenomenology, and case study methodologies were used to capture the rich, lived experiences of 29 participants involved in community food systems. The participants were affiliated with one of three organizations in Wisconsin. The results emerging from semi-structured interviews uncovered the interrelated motivations, outcomes, engagement activities, and senses of place of the participants. The study proposed that food, particularly the growing and eating of local food, had the unique characteristic of connecting people to the social and ecological aspects of place in ways that developed a strong sense of place and an integrated human-nature worldview centered on food (a “foodview”). The results also supported a multi-dimensional understanding of sense of place.
The results of this project will be useful to community organizers, food systems advocates, and sustainability educators.

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Incorporation Of Traditional Knowledge Into Geoscience Education: An Effective Method Of Native American Instruction

By Wendy Smythe, Richard C. Hugo and Sean McAllister

Here we present a place-based culturally competent Geoscience Education Program (GEP) implemented in an Alaska Native (AN) community, in which we coupled Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines. The GEP was built upon collaborations with the school district, tribal government, community, and a National Science and Technology Center engaging K-12 students about relevant environmental topics of interest to the tribal community, such as the health of local riverine and coastal ecosystems. Our pedagogical approach promoted learning rooted in local history, culture, and language while encouraging students to build STEM expertise. This paper describes a successful Geoscience Education Research project using bioassessment of coastal marine habitats with shipworms as an indicator organism to monitor the health of coastal resources. As an authentic research project, the study not only produced real-world data that substantially benefited the tribal community, but also a novel scientific finding – that shipworms may facilitate bioassessment of marine environments.

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Science in the Learning Gardens

By Dilafruz Williams

A brief overview of a three-year project funded by the National Science Foundation can be seen in the video: http://stemforall2017.videohall.com/presentations/914. This project supports racial and ethnic minority students to succeed in science by engaging in real-life, active, culturally relevant education in the Learning Gardens. To capitalize on school gardens that are sprouting nationally, a 3-year partnership project called Science in the Learning Gardens or SciLG began in 2014. The enclosed flyer provides a description of the project which shows promise as middle school students are motivated to learn and engaged in the gardens as they grow food and connect with soil.

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Intersections of Regenerative Agriculture and Food Justice: A Journey

By Cirien Saadeh

This paper explores research and transformative community organizing done in North Minneapolis, MN. The North Minneapolis community is working to transform their local food system through a bottom-up, community-based, community-led multi-layer organizing plan. As part of my research I supported the community in exploring what their vision was and what plan would need to be built to make that vision a possibility. Regenerative agriculture was key to this.

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Organizing Alternative Food Futures in the Peripheries of the Industrial Food System

By Sam Grant

This article tells the story of two examples of local food systems initiatives involving the author, his students, and a diversity of community stakeholders. The focus is on an approach to local food systems work that builds local capacity and consciousness to create regenerative and transformative food systems. It briefly highlights a few of the many challenges that consistently show up in such work. The article encourages a transdisciplinary, intercultural, transformative approach to sustainability education and regenerative agriculture. As we face the complex socio-ecological challenges of the twenty-first century, an important opening emerges for sustainability educators and agroecologists to amplify the edges of socio-ecological consciousness and capacity and direct in sight and commitment toward action that best regenerates soil, ecosystems, communities and nourishes mutually sustainable futures.

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Editorial

Seed Exchange and Soil Fertility: What More is Needed to Vision Our Shared Future

By Christine Kelly

Kelly JSE March 2017 Future Casting Issue This time of year I am always itching to break ground on a new vegetable garden—one that will overflow with juicy strawberries and blueberries; bright green spinach, kale, and broccoli; plump peas, pumpkin and potatoes; all varieties of peppers, onions, tomatoes, beans and squash to please any palate; […]

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Report

Bridges of Collaboration and Exchange

By Kim Kita and Aines Castro Prieto

Imagine a world where people hold the highest standards for collaboration, understanding, and mutual respect. Imagine a world where people are engaged and hold a deep commitment to creating genuine, just, and mutually-empowering beneficial relationships. Imagine a world where people have the ability to connect across cultures, appreciate, and deeply listen to different perspectives, understand complex systems – and how we all fit into them – and together co-create solutions to the most daunting of global challenges. Imagine a community of people bringing forward energy and a sense of possibility, and stepping up to create the world we want to live in.

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Opinion

Future Casting: Back to the Future

By Zenobia Barlow and Michael K. Stone

Future casting for us begins with going back — to the real basics, to understanding our place and the people who sustained themselves here for hundreds of years, engaging in real-world problem solving in pursuit of “the right kind of change at the right time.”

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Opinion

Earth Leadership

By Fritjof Capra

In our state of acute global crisis, we urgently need new leaders. In this short essay, I would like to sketch out my vision of such a new kind of leadership.

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Opinion

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: Reframing our Goals for Education

By David Sobel

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: Reframing our Goals for Education

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Report

Preparing the Future Sustainable Energy Workforce and The Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education

By Kenneth A. Walz and Joel B. Shoemaker

Abstract: When examining energy consumption in human history, it is evident that society is entering a new era where the costs of energy generation from renewable sources are now competitive with fossil fuel generation. In light of this advance, this report examines recent milestones in the renewable energy sector, and projects what the near future might hold. In the years ahead, growth in the renewable industry will create increased demand for a trained workforce of scientists, engineers, and technicians with knowledge of renewable energy. Faculty development and educational programs will play a key role in preparing the next generation of renewable energy professionals. This report highlights the impact of one such initiative that was funded by the National Science Foundation. Educators are called to join the effort to create a sustainable future powered by renewable energy.

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Opinion

A Future Invested in Sustainability: Sustainable Architecture and Education in the Midwest through the Ethical Philosophy of Luce Irigaray

By Andrea Wheeler

Wheeler JSE March 2017_Future Casting Issue PDF Abstract: Theories of sustainable architecture that address sexual difference are rare in an architectural context, whether in the United States or Europe, and this paper proposes a critical perspective on architectural design using sustainable schools as an example and adopting the question of sexual difference. Informed by the […]

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Opinion

Hope in the Liminal State

By Mary Jackson

Abstract: Inspired by the entanglements of the Cosmos, this essay is a response to the JSE special call for papers on future casting sustainability education. The author’s approach reflects an integrated view of humans, moving beyond Anthropocene, capitalism, and Donald Trump to the idea of the Chthulucene, an era of reciprocity amongst human and more-than-human. In challenging times, such as this, sustainability education can look towards the future through hopeful pedagogies of interconnection through reciprocity, storytelling, and embracing the bio-cultural diversity of Earth.

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Opinion

Reframing Humankind’s Relationship with Nature: Contributions from Social Exchange Theory

By Keri Schwab, Daniel Dustin and Kelly Bricker

Abstract: In this paper we compare and contrast the Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen, 1985) with Social Exchange Theory (Homans, 1958) as conceptual foundations for eliciting pro-environmental behavior. We reason that Social Exchange Theory provides the better orientation because of its metaphorical power in casting humankind as being in a reciprocal relationship with nature rather than being in a superior position over nature. We illustrate our thinking by discussing ecosystem services (Melillo & Sala, 2008) as nature’s contribution to humankind in return for humankind’s responsible environmental stewardship.

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Report

Encouraging Revolving Door Usage in a Mixed-Use Building: The Influence of Visual Prompts and Descriptive Social Norms

By Jeffrey Louis Perrin and Perrin Dumar

Abstract: This field experiment investigated effects of a descriptive norms-based sign combined with five footprint sticker decal prompts directing individuals to help save energy by using a revolving door, as opposed to a swing door, to exit a mixed-use building. We found that the percentage of individuals using the revolving door increased in both conditions (weekday and weekend day) after we implemented the sign and decals. Notable considerations in creating descriptive norms-based signage to encourage environmentally responsible behavior in mixed use buildings are discussed.

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Report

Increasing a Sense of Place Using Blended Online and On Site Learning

By Tina L. Salata

Abstract: Finding time for place-based instruction can be difficult using a traditional ground classroom or online format. This is a case study report showing how blending the two modalities can increase opportunities to go more in depth on environmental topics. This blending of both classroom and online creates a sense of place and encourages teaching with multiple learning styles. The increased classroom flexibility allows more individualized instruction for student’s needs and interests. This report will share how an environmental biology class implemented a blended learning class over two semesters. Results of this pilot show an increased student effort by allowing for more varied learning about the local environment.

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Case Study

Making Sustainable Development Real Through Role-Play: “The Mekong Game” Example

By Andrew Perlstein, Michael Mortimer, David Robertson and Holly Wise

Abstract:
This paper describes a role-playing, negotiation “game” based on the Xayaburi Dam in Laos. We have used this activity in our graduate programs as a tool for bringing to life the complexities of decision-making around natural resources, economic development, and sustainability. Over the past several years of using the game in the classroom, we have found it to be an effective means of exposing students to the kinds of opportunities and constraints that different stakeholders face as well as the kinds of communication and negotiation tactics they might use to influence outcomes. We provide background on the real-world situation on which we based the fictional scenario for the game and discuss the learning outcomes we have observed.

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Case Study

Learning for Sustainable Development: Integrating Environmental Education in the Curriculum of Ordinary Secondary Schools in Tanzania

By Beatus Mwendwa

Abstract
The study assesses the extent to which curriculum of secondary schools in Tanzania addresses sustainable education through integration of environmental education. Specifically, it evaluates the subjects used to deliver environmental education in secondary school. Also the study found out perceptions, challenges, and recommendations for implementing environmental education. This research adopted a case study, qualitative approach to study the subject matter in its natural settings while making sense of the contents of the subjects and perceptions of stakeholders. Cross sectional, stratified sampling involved both students from all classes, experienced teachers in geography and biology and a head teacher as well. It was found that most environmental education competencies are delivered mainly through the geography subject, and some in biology using an integrated teaching approach. Students and teachers were fairly knowledgeable and had understanding of basic environmental issues. Main challenges facing implementation of environmental education included an integrated learning approach, inadequate knowledge on environmental education, lack of support from each other and from school administration, and cultural myths and beliefs.

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Case Study

Climate change communication beyond the ‘ivory tower’: A case study about the development, application and evaluation of a science-education approach to communicate climate change to young people

By Maximilian Riede, Lars Keller, Anna Oberrauch and Steffen Link

Abstract: The aim of this case study was to develop, apply and evaluate a science-education workshop format to communicate climate change to young people. Based on current theory in climate change communication and Education for Sustainable Development, the workshop has been applied in different contexts with more than 300 children and teenagers. A specification of the consecutive steps should help practitioners to use the workshop in their contexts. While results of the application of the workshop should give an insight into what can be expected from the workshop, an impact assessment of the participants who took place in the workshop outlines the effects it has on students. This paper does not only provide hands-on advice on how theoretical climate change communication knowledge can be translated into action, it also outlines the impacts of the described workshop.

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Photo Essay

Constructing Nature

By Garrett Hansen

Abstract: As native Midwestern prairie and savannah landscapes continue to be destroyed, some environmentalists are working to reconstruct the prairie and savanna ecosystems that greeted European settlers a century and a half ago. This series of photographs engages those reconstructed landscapes and considers the fundamental question of what we consider natural. As many of these sites are used for educational and scientific purposes, this series also engages how the arts can contribute to our understanding of place.

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Opinion
Vision for Sustainability Education

The new “Three Rs” in an Age of Climate Change: Reclamation, Resilience, and Regeneration as Possible Approaches for Climate-Responsive Environmental and Sustainability Education

By Marna Hauk

Abstract: This thought piece proposes the adoption of a new “3 Rs” to inform a climate-responsive environmental and sustainability education (CRESE): reclamation, resilience, and regeneration. As a changing climate becomes the larger campus of our learning, denial and top-down emergency preparedness both prove to be insufficient. We are invited into a deeper approach. Reclamation and resilience fold in (1) the saving of enduring biocultural lifeways and patterns and (2) the dynamic flux-states of panarchic socioecological resilience models. These two partner with (3) regeneration: context-responsive social collaborations; eco-socially-embedded capacity building systems; and the promise of regenerative design. These three approaches allow us to re-envision educational systems and encounters that are proactive rather than only reactive or responsive in metabolizing persistent climatic volatility. These three approaches – reclamation, resilience, and regeneration – echo the three approaches to climate change that Pelling has suggested (2009) – mitigation, adaptation, and transformation. Note, however, unlike Pelling’s model, these approaches are conceived as simultaneously requisite literacies and movements rather than as competing. Reclamation, resilience, and regeneration represent ever-more-complex types of capacities and support capacity building aimed together toward life-supportive, dynamic, complex systems transformations. Environmental and sustainability education that fosters skills of reclamation includes preservation, conservation, recording, and the establishment of libraries and sanctuaries of exemplar systems. Environmental and sustainability education (ESE) for resilience includes network extension and adaptive capacity building. ESE for regeneration nurtures emergent complex systems metacognitions, creativities, and transformative, transgressive social approaches that are connective, disruptive, and innovative and model and embody complex emergence. Regenerative ESE fosters skills to facilitate catalysis of emergent regeneration, self-organization, and transformation into more complex living systems. All of these position embedded learners in pro-active, systems-intensive embodiments of the types of living networks that foster survival, flexibility, thriving, and phase-change during our entry into a time of consistent climate turbulence.

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Report

Learning through place: Evaluation of a professional development program for understanding the impact of place-based education and teacher continuing education needs

By Katherine Linnemanstons and Catherine Jordan

We report an evaluation of a place-based education (PBE) teacher professional development program that aimed to understand the perceived impact of PBE on students and teachers, constraints to implementation of PBE in schools, and strengths and limitations of the professional development program, as identified by teachers. Nine teachers, the full 2014 cohort of participants in Wilderness Inquiry’s PBE professional development program, completed a written reflection exercise and were interviewed following the implementation of a PBE lesson or unit developed as part of their professional development program. Findings indicate that teachers perceived PBE to have several important impacts on students, including stronger engagement in learning, enhanced collaboration, and heightened significance for the concepts learned. Teachers also perceived impact on themselves, including professional growth, sense of fulfillment and an expanded repertoire of teaching approaches. However, there were perceived constraints to implementing PBE, including support from peers and administrators, time, money, weather, and the composition of the class. This research adds to a growing body of research reporting positive impacts of PBE. Teachers’ feedback on the professional development program highlighted specific aspects of an effective professional development program. An enhanced understanding of the benefits of and challenges to PBE and program characteristics that maximize teachers’ time at a professional development program will help educators and curriculum developers to better support, develop, and encourage the implementation of PBE in standardized curriculum.

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Vision for Sustainability Education

Immerse in Your Watershed: Problem-Based, Service Learning for Undergraduate Sustainability Education

By Dina Chammas-Gass

This case study describes a problem-based and service learning module in which undergraduate students participated in a community-based project. Students joined a group consisting of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), public and private organizations, concerned citizens, and city officials to tackle issues concerning the local watershed. The case study took place over a number of years from 2014 to 2016 and will continue in subsequent academic years with a new group of multidisciplinary students.
Students put together documentation for a grant application that resulted in the city receiving $2.5 million dollars in grant money towards sustainable stormwater management systems. This aspect of the project included extensive data collection and analysis, much like the kind of work water conservationist in the field would perform. Students continued the work by using the data to plan and design appropriate, site-specific best management practices (BMPs) for the campus and in subsequent courses will implement these designs on site.
The mode of instruction described in this case study proved quite engaging to the students because it put them in the heart of an actual local project, doing work that was removed from a purely academic exercise – thereby offering a real-world scenario as field employees. The goal is to provide hands-on instruction that inspires and engages students and allows them to apply concepts of watershed management as a service to their local community.

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Examining the Influence of Outdoor Recreation, Employment, and Demographic Variables on the Human-Nature Relationship

By Kelly Cartwright and Denise Mitten

The human-nature relationship can be quantified using connection to nature indicators. A mail survey of conservation gardeners (n = 180) provided insight into four such indicators (Connectedness to Nature Scale, Nature Relatedness Scale, Environmental Motives Scale, and Inclusion of Nature in Self Scale). The indicators selected allowed for the evaluation of nine parameters in relationship to the outdoor recreation, employment, and demographic characteristics of individuals. The outdoor recreation categories resulted in the highest number of significant relationships. Non-consumptive activities, such as bird watching and hiking, were positively correlated with indicators reflecting equality with nature. Consumptive activities (fishing, hunting) and those requiring equipment or movement away from home (backpacking, camping, and kayaking) were positively correlated with indicators reflecting comfort in large-scale nature. The employment and demographic variables had few significant relationships; volunteering demonstrated weak positive relationships with several indicators, as did female gender. This research provides information about the indicators in terms of what they reflect and how they may be influenced by a person’s background.

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Media Review

Sustainability education and radical possibilities: A book review of David Selby and Fumiyo Kagawa’s Sustainability frontiers: Critical and transformative voices from the borderlands of sustainability education

By Jay Shuttleworth

Sustainability education examines the confluence between society, environment, and economy. Yet, an overemphasis on economy has historically trumped attention to the other sphere’s needs. Such an imbalance, editors David Selby and Fumiyo Kagawa argue, calls for a radical reconceptualization of sustainability education. In their book, Sustainability Education Frontiers: Critical Transformative Voices from the Borderlands of Sustainability Education, they invite authors from ten different countries to discuss how sustainability education can be transformed to meet the needs of a diverse and interconnected world.

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Case Study

Case Studies in Sustainable Social Work: MSW Students Explore Principles in Practice

By Kevin Jones, Lindsay Merritt, Ashley Brown, Shelby Davidson, Diana Nulliner, Jennine Smart, Lisa Walden and Nick Winges-Yanez

In 1999, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) in the United States published a policy statement on the environment that acknowledged the social work profession’s apparent “lack of interest” in environmental issues, and called for a new urgency among social workers to address the challenges of pollution, environmental contamination, and resource depletion. Despite this call for urgency and the increasing certainty of widespread social and environmental crises due to climate change, the integration of ecological concepts into mainstream social work education and practice has been slow and sporadic. Only recently have some social workers begun to openly discuss a re-centering of social work within a sustainability paradigm, emphasizing the importance of interconnectedness among humans and the natural world, interdisciplinary alliances and partnerships, and holistic justice-focused practice. This paper explores the potential for a case study assignment in a Master of Social Work (MSW) program to help make explicit connections between sustainability concepts introduced in the classroom and the practical application of these concepts in a wide range of social work practice settings. Three sample case studies from students are presented, and advantages and challenges of this pedagogical approach are discussed.

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Media Review

Book Review of Systems Thinking Made Simple: New Hope for Solving Wicked Problems

By Jeremy Solin

In this book review the author summarized the text, Systems thinking made simple: New hope for solving wicked problems by Derek and Laura Cabrera (2015). In the text, cognitive thought is described as a complex adaptive system and four simple rules of thinking are included as an approach to problem solving.

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Case Study

“Don’t Step on the Ants!” Biomimetic Pedagogy for Sustainability in a Costa Rica Study Away Experience

By Cosette Marie Armstrong

Abstract: This case example outlines a study away experience in Costa Rica focused around the Life Principles of Biomimicry for the purpose of stimulating connection with and affection for nature. Janine Benyus (1997), author or Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, has long been cited for her declaration that affection is conservation’s linchpin. To address the tendency of some sustainability learning to propel learners into fear and despair, this learning experience was centered around positive solutions and emotional inspiration in nature. An outline of lesson plans, assignments, and activities all designed to foster affection for nature are outlined here for other educators who wish to foster the affective domain in sustainability learning.

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Vision for Sustainability Education

Education for a Sustainable Future: Benchmarks for Individual and Social Learning

By Jaimie Cloud

This document is a provisional draft that has emerged out of an initial “State of the Field” issue and database, published in JSE in 2014 and a follow-up conference in Winter of 2015.

Jaimie Cloud of the Cloud Institute has been the lead organizer and author of this document. See the opening pages for the large number of additional contributors.

A process for comment and revision will be announced during Spring/summer 2016.

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monarch place issue
Editorial

Place and Resilience: Editors’ Introduction

By Chiara D'Amore, Clare Hintz, Cirien Saadeh and Jeremy Solin

Just as place scholarship reaches across and through many disciplines, so this issue ranges widely, including 14 scholarly features as well as media reviews, case studies, photo and poetic essays, and sustainability journeys. Disciplinary lenses include the arts, sociology, philosophy, natural resource management, sports science, and archaeology, among others.

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Journey

Los Museos De Montaña De Reinhold Messner Identidad, Turismo Y Sustentabilidad En Los Alpes De Sud Tirol

By Constanza Ceruti

This paper describes a group of mountain museums set amidst the Eastern Alps and the Dolomites, considering their significance for the cultural identity, heritage education and sustainable tourism in South Tirol. The importance of the Mountain Museums is analyzed in connection to their setting and to the development of the communities in the area. The exhibits are analyzed considering their role in the construction of a regional identity and in the education towards the appreciation and preservation of the natural and cultural heritage of mountains, locally and worldwide. For the purpose of this research, the author visited the six buildings belonging to the net of the Messner Mountain Museum and she conversed with the director, Mr. Reinhold Messner, who is often credited as the most remarkable alpinist in history.

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The Hualapai Ethnobotany Youth Project

By Carrie Calisay Cannon

Many people believe the desert is a harsh forsaken place, but for the Hualapai Tribal people of Northern AZ it is home; a place where every plant has a name, a purpose, and a story. The Hualapai Ethnobotany Youth Project is celebrating its tenth year of existence. It is an intergenerational program bringing Tribal elders and youth together to share about the plants that sustained the people for millennia.

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Photo Essay

The City of Roses—Pasadena City College and the Chemistry Research Laboratories

By Jillian L. Blatti, Anthony F. Cuccinello, Betsy Juarez, William Liang, Jianyi Lu, Nikolai Massine, Jennifer Portillo, Elliot Pourmand, Anakany Ramirez, Vanessa Sanchez and Carina Sepulveda-Torres

As a background for these student responses, I would first like to describe the distinguished program they are a part of at Pasadena City College (PCC). The Early Career Undergraduate Research Experience (eCURe) is a program at PCC that provides students with an undergraduate research experience in the natural or physical sciences at the onset of their scientific careers. This unique experience inspires enthusiasm for scientific research by introducing students to research projects with broader impact in terms of sustainability, energy, the environment and emerging scientific technologies. In this particular eCURe research group led by Dr. Jillian L. Blatti, students have devised methods of synthesizing sustainable paints and testing their resultant properties; they have transposed their tested methods into lesson plans to engage local high schools in scientific outreach efforts, inspiring the next generation of scientists and science educators in sustainability education. As part of this outreach effort, students collaborated with Penn State University’s Nanotechnology Applications and Career Knowledge (NACK) Network in their Remotely Accessible Instruments for Nanotechnology (RAIN) program to bring hands-on experience with advanced analytical equipment to high school students via the Internet, including a scanning electron microscope and atomic force microscope, which they used to analyze sustainable paints they crafted in the classroom. In these highly interdisciplinary and collaborative projects, PCC students are learning to integrate concepts from their science courses into a research-based setting, generating novel questions, designing experiments, analyzing the results, and communicating their science to a broad audience. This innovative community college research program has inspired our students at PCC to continue scientific research in sustainability that they have become passionate about as they transfer to four-year institutions. What follows is accounts of chemical research in sustainability in the chemistry research laboratories at Pasadena City College, the eCURe students’ ‘sense of place’, and how it impacted their views on sustainability research and education.

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Case Study

Open Spaces of Democracy: Connecting Students, Wilderness, and Community through Experiential Learning

By Eric Morgan

Chronicling a semester-long civic engagement project, this essay explores the efforts of a senior seminar course to collaborate with a local wilderness preservation organization. The essay reflects on the role of students in their communities, their connections to wilderness, and the challenges and rewards of civic engagement.

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