Archive: Scholarly Feature

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Alive, Survive, Strive, Thrive: A Grounded Conceptual Sustainability Taxonomy

By Kenneth W. Borland

Abstract: A conceptual sustainability taxonomy has been needed to better communicate the value of sustainability, to align sustainability scholars’ theories and sustainability educators’ practices, and to develop curriculum, teaching, learning, and assessment to enhance college students’ comprehension of and commitment to sustainability across general, major, and co-curriculum. Original conceptual research, including the grounding of a conceptual sustainability taxonomy with early career student affairs educators in higher education, presents a grounded conceptual sustainability taxonomy (Alive, Survive, Strive, Thrive) for educating college students and initiating scholar-practitioner contemplation, discussion, and research.

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A Sustainability Performance Assessment Tool: The SPA System

By Dorothy Paun, Shannon Bray, Tomoki Yamaguchi and Simiao You

Stakeholders have become increasingly vocal about companies’ sustainability impacts, and corporations have responded by issuing sustainability reports that discuss and gauge performance metrics for a variety of social and environmental dimensions. These corporate sustainability reports are public domain and contain a wealth of longitudinal data that could be used by stakeholders, including educators and students. However, these reports appear to be vastly underutilized due to insufficient knowledge of and skills for assessing corporate sustainability information. This article presents the SPA (Sustainability Performance Assessment) System (Paun 2015), an educational tool for mentoring students in corporate sustainability performance research. The Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) G4 framework forms the model underlying SPA. A student learning outcomes survey reported that 96% of the respondents said the SPA System reduced sustainability report complexity through enhancing their sustainability knowledge and/or analytical skills. More specifically, student feedback indicated an increased understanding of sustainability both as a concept and from a business perspective, and the improved ability to assess and compare corporate sustainability performance based on sustainability report information and data.

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Applying AASHE STARS to Examine Geography’s “Sense of Place” in Sustainability Education

By Makayla J. Bonney and Leslie Duram

Abstract: Geography supports place-based inquiry for the learner, applying the old environmental adage of “think globally, act locally” to environmental problem solving. Many within and outside of the discipline of geography see it as a highly appropriate home for sustainability studies. Yet despite a history of human-environment education, place-based relevancy, and support from professional research or education organizations, studies show that geography does not always take a lead role in sustainability education. In the following, we revisit the contested histories of geography and sustainability education and show support for geography-led sustainability curriculum. The scope of this research is universities which have self-identified as leaders in campus sustainability, using the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) participation as an indicator. To best understand the current relationship of geography and sustainability studies in higher education, this study examines the role of geography in offering “Sustainability Focused” courses as reported by AASHE STARS institutions with geography programs. The results show that although geography departments are highly utilized when present at an institution, there is still much room for improvement both within geography departments and campus-wide. We then discuss the implication of these findings, both for the discipline of geography and for students of sustainability.

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Teaching Issues of Inequality Through a Critical Pedagogy of Place

By Anthony Barnum and Jason Illara

This paper examines the conceptualization and implementation of teaching inequality through placed-based and experiential learning while focusing on issues that impact the sustainability of communities through the effects of the social and historical constructs of race, class, and gender. The goal is to push students to rethink issues of sustainability in a more holistic way including social, economic, and political aspects to sustainability. In turn, students are empowered through a Freirian pedagogy to become “student-teachers” for the society in which they live in partnership with a local community organization to create public interactive history exhibits that create educational opportunities to both identify and document historical and current inequalities and their effects on the present moment and to encourage the community to engage with and analyze their own history in a manner to create meaningful dialogue and public discussion for the creation of a more equitable and sustainable society.

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The Role of Sense of Place in Collaborative Planning

By Aaron Thompson and Linda Prokopy

This paper focuses on understanding the collaborative process as a critical aspect of building community capacity to respond to change and uncertainty in the landscape. Can focusing on place-based relationship building enhance a community’s ability to make difficult land use decisions? Collaborative initiatives to preserve farmland and open space have emerged as a process that supports local involvement and ownership of community decisions; however, the variable success of these initiatives highlights the need to evaluate what factors influence individual support for collaboration. This study uses a case study to examine the role of sense of place, as well as other attitudinal and demographic factors, in determining support for collaborative efforts to preserve farmland. Drawing on analysis of responses to a survey of residents in Harrison County, Indiana from a period when the community faced intense growth pressures that threaten unique natural resources and farmland. The findings demonstrate that an individual’s sense of place and environmental attitudes positively influence support for key steps in the collaborative process, including the acceptance of strategies to address farmland loss.

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photo credit: New England Climate Adaptation Project team

Leveraging Place for Critical Sustainability Education: The Promise of Participatory Action Research

By Adrienne Cachelin, Jeff Rose and Danya Rumore

Effective sustainability education is constrained, in part, by an inability to consistently define what it is, who it is for, and how it can best address present-day concerns. Often reduced to a set of behaviors with a future orientation for intergenerational security, sustainability loses the immediacy and importance of issues like hunger, homelessness, and the impact of toxic industry practices on real people in real communities, despite the fact that these all represent foundational aspects of sustainability. Critical sustainability harnesses place and community to make connections between equity, ecology and economy explicit. Requiring a deep connection with the socio-ecological landscapes of our experiences, critical sustainability utilizes individual and community identities in working towards resilience. In this paper, we explore the ways that participatory action research (PAR) can leverage place and community to disrupt systems of power and privilege and demonstrate this approach as both effective pedagogy and a powerful orientation toward addressing community-level climate change adaptation. We contend that critical sustainability education requires sincere engagement with place, along with the shared, community-driven knowledge production that is the cornerstone of PAR.

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Placing Local Food Systems: Farm Tours as Place-Based Sustainability Education

By Laura Johnson, Gary Schnakenberg and Nicholas Perdue

Place can be understood as space endowed with meaning, evoking notions of difference, connection, attachment, and emotion. As processes of modernity and globalization have increasingly homogenized cultural and natural landscapes, place is said to be ‘thinning’ or lost, linked to widening rifts between social and natural worlds. Such homogenization globally has sparked concerns, as people perceive landscape loss and increasing socio-ecological injustices. One such system of homogenization and unsustainability is industrial agriculture, a system that has shifted smaller scale, place-based, and diverse food systems to a global, mechanized one, distancing production from consumption, disrupting communities, and obscuring awareness, understanding, and care.

Yet, as consumer awareness increases and people desire to know where their food comes from and who produced it, inclusive place-based food systems can provide reconnections amongst producers, consumers, community, and the more-than-human world. In this paper, stemming from research in western North Carolina, we bring together literature from scholars of place, agro-food studies, education, and tourism to investigate the role of place in local food systems as well as the potential of small-scale sustainable agricultural places to serve as important educational spaces via community-based farm tourism. To better understand such potential, we draw on a study of the Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture High Country Farm Tour, an annual tour of small-scale sustainable working farms in the North Carolina High Country. Delving into participating producers’ philosophies, practices, and stories reveals passionate sustainable producers firmly rooted in place, while exploring consumer motivations for and impacts of participation makes a strong case for community-based farm tourism and other environmental tourism projects as an avenue for place-based education, community socio-ecological resilience, and sustainability across scales.

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Place, Positionality, and Teacher Preparation

By Amy Vinlove

This paper explores the relationships between teacher and student length of habitation and knowledge of place and the process of learning to teach. A qualitative analysis of social studies instructional units developed by Indigenous and non-Indigenous pre-service teachers working in rural and urban school settings across Alaska, considered in relation to the interns’ relationships to the communities where they were teaching provides the foundation for a framework considering the different ways in which place-based education might be enacted. Data analysis addresses the questions of how individual relationships with place impact the integration of place into the classroom, how a new teacher learns to enact place-based teaching in a way that allows his or her students to reap the benefits of this pedagogical mind-set and whether strategies for learning how to teach in a place-based manner vary depending on the contexts in which the students and teachers are situated.

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“A bird’s-eye view of place”. Title and original artwork by Vedan Sadashiv Koushik, aged 5.

Considerations of place in sustainability education policy: How local contexts inform the engagement of sustainability in education policy enactment and practice

By Jada Koushik

The goal of this paper is to characterize the current state of literature that explores the importance of local contexts in the uptake of sustainability in education policy enactment and practice, with a particular focus on land and place in relation to education policy. Place has been studied by various fields in distinctive ways, and each discipline tends to privilege a certain aspect of place based upon their disciplinary frameworks. As opposed to exploring place through a disciplinary lens, I am seeking to understand place as a holistic, multidimensional concept. Place has historically been conceptualized as static, never changing, and everlasting. In contrast, a more contemporary view describes place as always in process, always becoming; places are never complete, bounded, or finished. This transmutes place into a more subjective concept, something that is rich in imagery, memories, and history but blurred when it comes to limits, power, and hierarchy. Thus, places operate through reiterative and continual practice but can be disrupted through social change and movements, political swifts, and differing ideologies. This protean characteristic of place is significant when reviewing the policy enactments literature, which underscores the fact that schools are always specific, and they are dynamic and shift both internally and externally. This paper seeks to address the question: How can or should considerations of place (e.g., location, local-global, land as historical, contested, impacted by dominant culture) inform the engagement of sustainability in education policy enactment and practice?

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Go Green for the Home Team: Sense of Place and Environmental Sustainability in Sport

By Brian McCullough and Timothy Kellison

The sport industry has a tremendous impact on the natural environment. As a result, sport organizations have implemented ways to reduce their impact ranging from energy upgrades, waste management programs, and fan engagement. However, fan engagement efforts have received mixed results to increase participation in sustainability initiatives. This paper proposes that sense of place can be leveraged using fan identification to increase participation in such initiatives, thereby decreasing the environmental impact of the sport organization and individual fans. A conceptual model is presented and practical examples provided for the use and reference of sport management and sustainability educators or researchers.

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Phenomenology of place: Re-grounding environmental ethics through story

By Jen Christion Myers

This article draws on Heidegger’s philosophy to bring a phenomenological perspective to bear on the question of place. By revealing dynamic human and natural histories, narrative can be a particularly useful tool for orienting our environmental commitments. I share stories from Vieques, Puerto Rico, an island shaped by trauma, to illustrate the power of people articulating what they most value about the places they call home.

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Environmental Study of Sustainable Places, Llansteffan Wales

Sustainable Education from Vermont to Wales: Developing a Sense of Place and Resiliency through Innovative Interdisciplinary Curriculum

By JonathanSilverman and Jeffrey Ayres

Environmental Study of Sustainable Places is a pedagogical experiment in multi-disciplinary curriculum development on several levels: 1) we integrated our multidisciplinary backgrounds in the social sciences and the humanities—political science and international relations with art and aesthetic education—to develop and co-teach these half courses; 2) student learning outcomes, course requirements, interactions and collaborations, multimedia texts (that can range from journal essays to Ted talks to articles from international press to images of environmental artists), and out of class projects, promote interdisciplinary learning; 3) the semester course confronts borders and boundaries of static college curriculum around sustainability as we examine global and local understanding of sustainability, which is a pre-requisite for a residency at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David where students crossed international borders and boundaries to conduct research of sustainable policy and enculturation in Wales, United Kingdom. Students attended interdisciplinary symposiums and work collaboratively with students representing different disciplines from the University of Wales; and 4) we delicately navigated the College’s curricula policy and bureaucracy to gain approval for a paradigm shift to use the concept of sustainability as a “pedagogical big idea” to assure that students would fulfill either of the Liberal Studies Curriculum requirements: Global Issues for Common Good or Artistic Experience.

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Teicher, A. (2009). צילום:ד"ר אבישי טייכר [Senses Garden in Holon, Israel] [Photograph]. Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license. PikiWiki - Israel free image collection project. Retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PikiWiki_Israel_4954_
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Senses of Wonder in Sustainability Education, for Hope and Sustainability Agency

By Marna Hauk, Elise Baker, Rudina Cekani, Kristy Gonyer, Ciarra Green, Katelyn Hale, Linda Hoppes, Kimberly Kovac, Tess Kreofsky, Claire Lagerway, Daniela Perez, Richard Presicci, Heidi Schmidgall, Jenka Soderberg, Kaileigh Westermann and M. Zimdars

Abstract: Recent sustainability education theorists have identified a gap in the research literature regarding sensory entanglement and wonder in sustainability education. Sensory entanglement and wonder are requisite because they bring valuable shifts supporting a more critical and transformative kind of sustainability education by (1) awakening a compassionate connection with the living world, (2) nurturing alternative epistemologies, (3) providing a strengthening function for sustainability educators and their co-learners, for stamina and ongoing engagement, and (4) generating sustainability agency and an active and authentic hope to sustain a sense of the possible in the midst of the dire. This article focuses on how awakening the senses to foster a sense of wonder can nurture grounded, authentic, active hope and agency in sustainability education. It is authored collaboratively by sixteen graduate course participants and faculty co-researchers who discuss interrelated theories pointing to a need to foster senses of wonder in sustainability education. The researchers work in research teams to explore experiential and sense-based hope- and agency-building curricula. Findings include activities and reflections across the five senses as well as with the sixth sense, intuition. Sensing, listening, intimate observing, imagining, feeling, entangling, and wondering can shift unsustainability epistemologies and transform human and cultural engagement. The sense of sound can be immersive and resonant, lending learners to relational and multispecies sensing. Scent can catalyze wonder and inspire experiential, holistic growth and integration of time. Savoring in the sense of taste can extend learners from survival to joy, offering opportunities for mindfulness that can connect cultural and biocultural mutualisms and collaborative sustainability agencies. Pattern sensing for similarity using the visual sense of wonder can support connected knowing and ecological vision. The sense of touch can offer a continuous and mutual comfort and belonging. Visual pattern and texture scavenger hunts can cultivate these sustainability sense capacities. The sixth sense, intuition, opens learners to imaginative, transformative, and connective ways of knowing as place and planet, stimulating hope-giving, integrative sustainability agencies.

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Collaboratively Creating and Sustaining Hope and Agency

By Sherie McClam, Alan Cass, Christina Connors, Diane Frawley, Sadie Heald, Autumn McPartlin, Cheryl Orifici and Lisa Papernik

Abstract: This article reports on an autoethnography in which eight researchers interrogate their experience in a cohort-based education for sustainability advanced certificate program for evidence of practices that generated hope and agency, and worked against the hopelessness that can come with studying problem as big and seemingly insurmountable as sustainability. They found that learning about and tackling wicked problems as a community of practice undermined debilitating pessimism and generated productive hope and collective action.

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Regenerative Hope: Pedagogy of Action and Agency in the Learning Gardens

By Dilafruz Williams

Abstract: Moving beyond the despair resulting from what appears to be a tipping point of life systems due to climate change, this narrative presents a possibility for regenerative hope. The article begins by discussing an emergent typology of hope that includes hokey hope, resolute hope, mythical hope, patient hope, hope deferred, sound hope, authentic hope, critical hope, and transformative hope. Drawing upon this typology, a model for regenerative hope is developed with the following features: care and conviviality, experience and engagement, imagination and joy, risk-taking and belief in possibilities, and critical sensibilities and transformation. Series of photos and voices of youth from a low-income middle school actively engaged in the learning gardens are presented as practical examples of pedagogy of action and agency manifested as regenerative hope.

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Learning Green: Perspectives from U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Educators

By William Sterrett and Scott Imig

Abstract: Opportunities abound for educators to rethink the way teaching and learning occurs for today’s students. Taking time to focus on learning outdoors, on making healthy choices, and on fostering a sustainable learning and living environment is transforming the way schools work across the nation. Through the lens of the three pillars of the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS), this article described examples from a range of school sites and includes the voices of administrators, teachers, and staff in revisiting how we teach, learn, and lead. Helpful tips regarding school sustainability round out the article to provide “next steps” for the reader.

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Discourses of Hope in Sustainability Education: A Critical Analysis of Sustainability Advocacy

By Gerri McNenny and Jan Osborn

Abstract: If we are to educate the coming generation about the threats to the environment and the consequences of the excesses of human actions on our planet, educators need to consider critical pedagogy as a means of engaging students in thought and action. This article examines texts from prominent sustainability advocates and researchers, analyzing how they frame sustainability on a spectrum of hope that will then enable educators to address sustainability education with a realistic sense of agency while preparing students to meet the challenges for a sustainable future. Suggestions for pedagogical applications are included for each category across the spectra of hope.

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Group shot at the Isle Royale Windigo sign 2010

Empathy and Agency in the Isle Royale Field Philosophy Experience

By Lissy Goralnik and Michael Paul Nelson

Abstract: For five years we taught a field philosophy course in Isle Royale National Park to study if and how wilderness experience, coupled with a care-based and community-focused curriculum in place-based ecology and environmental ethics, could help students develop empathy for nonhuman nature. Empathy for the natural world can positively impact environmental attitudes and behaviors; empathy also plays an important role in citizenship skills and actions. Using a constructivist grounded theory qualitative analysis of student pre-, on-, and post-course writing, we found that students consistently demonstrated shifts in empathetic awareness and individual agency all years but one, when the course size was larger. Several factors impacted the development of an empowered sense of self and moral agency, including: the use of narrative and storytelling in the curriculum, the inclusion of student-driven choice-based assignments, and group size. Experiential environmental learning focused on the development of empathy can provide a meaningful path for students to bridge moral agency, environmental attitudes and knowledge, and citizenship skills and behavior so they can connect their values with action These results have consequential impacts for sustainability learning and action.

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Finding Heart: Generating and Maintaining Hope and Agency through Sustainability Education

By Tina Evans

Abstract: In his landmark book Native Science (2000), indigenous educator Gregory Cajete eloquently articulates the motivations and questions that drive this study. For Cajete, effective education of our time entails “finding heart.” Finding heart is an active process within and beyond the person. It is evident in ethically and spiritually grounded work and being that embody meaningful connection to and care for others and nature (p. 288). This article relates to the process of finding heart through sustainability education. It presents a grounded-theory-based study of aspects of sustainability education that motivate or detract from activating hope and agency among undergraduate college students. Specific aspects of conceptual and social engagement, as well as the duration of these effects, are examined in some depth, with the voices of students themselves reflecting the diversity, depth, and power of their experience. The author concludes by suggesting that generating hope and agency among students is a vitally important outcome for sustainability education as part of the larger movement for sustainability. She also suggests curriculum design considerations for effectively activating hope and agency among students.

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Children Voice Biophilia: the Phenomenology of Being In Love with Nature

By Darius Kalvaitis and Rebecca Monhardt

Drawing from a theoretical framework of Ecopsychology and Biophilia this phenomenological study explored the following research question; What is the meaning of the human-environment relationship for children? This qualitative investigation utilizes data from writing samples and follow up focus group interviews with 68 children providing a robust sample of 6-12 year olds perspectives. Qualitative data analysis software using QSR Nvivo ® 7 & 8 was used to systematically provide topic, analytic, matrix and categorical coding for the 265 pages of textual data. Results indicate that children have a love of nature; a positive deep-seated intellectual and emotional appreciation for nature based on “experiences through” and “affection for” nature. When children expressed their relationship with nature they often did so from a place of positive emotional friendship or unconditional love. This study provides a visual representative diagram based on quantifiable qualitative data illustrating the bonds between children and nature. The biophilic results show that children are “falling in love” with nature and this representation can provide a glimpse into the possibility of “standing in love” with nature as people grow into adulthood.

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To Have and To Hold: Sustainability and the Language of Love in Terry Tempest Williams, Pattiann Rogers and Aldo Leopold

By Bonney MacDonald

Abstract: This essay offers reflection on the question of what love has to do with sustainability and environmental awareness. Examining Terry Tempest Williams’ Desert Quartet, Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac and Pattiann Rogers’ Firekeeper: New and Selected Poems, the article explores how and when environmental consciousness arises. The three selected authors offer insight on the roles played by environmental trauma, close and empathetic identification with animals and place, the power of close observation, and the constitutive power of praise. Finally, an etymological reading of the word, “sustain,” suggests new definitions of what it means to have and to hold, to make a pledge to environmental awareness. The essay concludes that the vocabulary and emotional commitment prompted in acts of sustainability partakes in the language of love.

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HEAD, HEART AND HANDS MODEL FOR TRANSFORMATIVE LEARNING: PLACE AS CONTEXT FOR CHANGING SUSTAINABILITY VALUES

By Julia Singleton

This conceptual article presents the Head, Heart and Hands Model for Transformational Learning. The model was conceptualized from a synthesis of diverse literature, such as sustainable education, transformative learning theories, placed-based learning, indigenous learning approaches, experiential learning, eco-literacy, curriculum theory and conceptual change in science classes. Transformative processes are necessary to change the prevalent anthropocentric eco-paradigm of western culture toward more sustainable values and behaviors. Head, hand and heart is a holistic approach to developing ecoliteracy introduced by Orr (1992) and expanded by Sipos, Battisti and Grimm (2008). The model shows the holistic nature of transformative experience and relates the cognitive domain (head) to critical reflection, the affective domain (heart) to relational knowing and the psychomotor domain (hands) to engagement. Pugh’s (2002) pragmatic construct of transformational learning experience offers an analytic tool for measuring transformational experiences through expanded perception (cognitive), expanded value (affective) and active use of learned concepts (psycho-motor). This model not only represents the multi-dimensional nature of transformative processes, it also includes the importance of learning context. The context of place provides a framework of authentic experience for deeper reflection, sense of belonging and body/sensory stimulation that acts as a catalyst for deep engagement required for transformation. Literature in the domain areas are discussed as well as the importance of nature connection and love of place to sustainability values and pro-environmental behaviors.

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Sustainable Being: A Personal Journey Linking Whole Health and Sustainability Education

By LeAnne Robinson

Sustainable being is the concept of living a lifestyle that is grounded in physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. In this article the author shares how her experiences and learning during a sabbatical in India and Germany helped her make the connection between sustainability education, change initiatives, whole health and heartful living. An overview of sustainable being is provided in the context of five principles of living shared by a vedic-eco community in India who is involved in global sustainability efforts. These principles are related to those living in western society with an emphasis placed on the role of sustainable being for educators involved with change initiatives.

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Breathing In, Breathing Out: The Biological Foundation for Sustainable Economic and Social Life

By Priscilla Stuckey

The ecological crisis is a crisis of relationship, and the way forward lies in building more reciprocity, respect, and love into human relationships with each other and with the rest of nature. What is needed is a great economy of give-and-take in which what each takes in is balanced by what each gives out. Nature provides the model for this reciprocity in the biological process of breathing in and breathing out. The rhythm of the breath, found in every life form as well as in every larger community in which living beings participate, provides a powerful model for human decisions and actions in every arena of life. By copying the rhythm of the breath, humans can learn from the wisdom of nature’s economy to revolutionize our relationships with one another and with the larger-than-human world. I discuss the economic model of the modern world and its devotion to linear increase and accumulation, or breathing in without limit, and how profoundly this pattern contradicts the reciprocal model of biological life. I offer historical examples of reciprocal economies among the Northwest Coast Indians in the potlatch ceremony and among ancient Israelites in the Year of Jubilee. I then offer examples of reciprocal practices that emphasize the breathing-out or giving-back half of the breath cycle and that can be practiced in daily life. I suggest that activities of any kind that engage people in giving back, such as showing appreciation, extending care, or pausing for meditation, contribute directly to sustainability because they address the giving-back half of the breath cycle, which is missing or underexplored in modern life.

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Cultivating Intimacy with the Natural World: College Students’ Care, Connection, and Regeneration in an Agriculture-focused Humanities Course

By Joan Armon and Chara Armon

To address solutions to environmental degradation in an authentic context, this qualitative research study examines college students’ responses to outdoor fieldwork in an agriculture-focused humanities course. Students’ responses to fieldwork on organic farms generated three integrated themes. Active care encompasses students’ actions of care for plants, people, and animals; intimate connection includes feelings of kinship with people, plants, land, farmer networks, and love of farming. Of particular interest is the third theme of regeneration, related to actions ensuring flourishing of future generations of humans and the natural world. The study raises questions about the need for significant curricular change in higher education to prepare students to respond effectively to climate unpredictabilities and environmental degradation.

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Teacher Professional Development for Energy Literacy: A Comparison of Two Approaches

By Karla Bradley Eitel, Justin Hougham, Tammi Laninga, Greg Fizzell, Jennifer Schon and Danica Hendrickson

In this program and practices feature, we describe two different models of teacher professional development designed to help teachers build their own energy literacy while gaining tools to bring energy literacy to their classrooms. Through a review of the literature we identify principles by which to compare and evaluate the two approaches. Both were successful in helping teachers to build energy literacy; each had a mix of advantages and disadvantages when compared to the literature.

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Sustainability in Beauty: An Innovative Proposing-Learning Model to Inspire Renewable Energy Education

By Ting Tan, Tian Xia, Hunter OFolan, Justin Dao, Zachary Basch, Karl Johanson, John Novotny, Mieko Ozeki and Michelle Smith

Renewable energy has become an important priority to the development of human society. The authors proposed an innovative “Proposing-Learning” model to improve the renewable energy education at the university level, in which the student community was extensively involved in the selection, development and assessment of a capstone project. In this project, a hybrid energy harvesting system prototype comprised of a bamboo wind turbine and solar panels was developed at the University of Vermont. The project idea was initially proposed through an online collective intelligence voting system, and then discussed in a committee comprised of students, faculty, staff and alumni members. A group of undergraduate students, representing different engineering disciplines, worked with the faculty advisors to create the prototype successfully. Good assessment was received from the students and local community for the project. Finally, the authors discussed the future effort to improve this education model and the potential applications of the hybrid renewable energy system.

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Sustainability in Outdoor Education: Rethinking Root Metaphor

By Adrienne Cachelin, Jeff Rose, Dan Dustin and Wynn Shooter

Recognizing that behavior comes not only from understanding, but also from attitudes cultivated in outdoor settings that elicit visceral feelings toward nature, outdoor educators have unique opportunities to make sustainability comprehensive, accessible, and relevant.  Yet the principal metaphor underlying outdoor education in general, and the Leave No Trace (LNT) program in particular, may be counterproductive to fostering environmentally and […]

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Compost, Blossom, Metamorph, Hurricane – Complexity and Emergent Education Design: Regenerative Strategies for Transformational Learning and Innovation

By Marna Hauk

This work proposes a novel theoretical framework for sustainability education and explores four possible applications of the framework. Insights from complexity and complexity education elide with patterns from nature to birth four patterns of regenerative, emergent education. In this work I explore these four natural systems models of emergence and apply them to education. For […]

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Implementing Education for Sustainable Development: The Potential use of Time-Honored Pedagogical Practice from the Progressive Era of Education

By Cosette Marie Armstrong

Education for sustainable development (ESD), a UN initiative, is an emerging field and a movement advocating for a reorientation of education. Integration of ESD has been slow, especially in higher education. The most notable progress is marked by campus greening and research initiatives, while pedagogical innovation, the topic of this paper, has been much slower […]

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Educators as Architects of Living Systems: Designing Vibrant Learning Experiences beyond Sustainability and Systems Thinking

By Barbara Widhalm

This article discusses how living systems principles can inform educational design. It describes a theoretical framework for creating academic learning experiences as organic wholes that sustain learning verve. The framework is intended to aid educators in awakening a felt sensation of aliveness, vibrancy, and self-organizing creativity in a group of learners. It seeks to create […]

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Growing Our Own: A Case Study of Teacher Candidates Learning to Teach for Sustainability in an Elementary School with a Garden

By Joanne Carney

This case describes how four teacher candidates, placed for a year-long internship in an elementary school with a garden, learned to teach for sustainability. Evidence from the interns’ Teacher Work Samples, survey data, interviews, and observational data are used to assess the extent to which teacher candidates demonstrated the knowledge, skills and dispositions to teach […]

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Teaching for Transformation: (Re)Designing sustainability courses

By Heather Burns

If educators are to effectively prepare learners with the knowledge, skills, and values they will need for creating more sustainable places and communities, a transition must be made from transmissive teaching models to transformative learning processes. But how can courses be designed or redesigned so that they create opportunities for transformational sustainability learning, and how […]

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Negabehaviors and Environmental Sustainability

By Joel Ross and Bill Tomlinson

Helping people learn to adopt more pro-social lifestyles usually involves persuading them to take new, beneficial actions. However, certain pro-social goals, such as achieving environmental sustainability, also require people to stop performing harmful actions—people are commonly instructed to drive less, use less electricity, and otherwise reduce the amount of resources they consume and waste they […]

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The Digital Divide in Kentucky: Is Rural Online Learning Sustainable?

By J. Kirk Atkinson and Phillip Coleman

This paper describes the perceived condition of access to high-speed Internet for many rural Kentuckians, and reflects on the experience of attempting to bring broadband Internet accessibility to a rural area in Kentucky. This experience is not unlike rural areas in other states however, as numerous stories were discovered over an 8-year period. The general […]

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Living Soil and Sustainability Education: Linking Pedagogy and Pedology

By Dilafruz Williams and Jonathan Brown

Sustainability is now permeating educational institutions. Yet the emerging discourse on sustainability education is in many ways caught in a modern web of theoretical, ontological, and epistemological assumptions that are incongruent with sustainability. We introduce an ecologically grounded metaphoric language rooted in living soil as an alternative regenerative framework for linking sustainability pedagogy with pedology […]

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Leadership without Domination? Toward Restoring the Human and Natural World

By Tina Evans

The author constructs a theory of sustainable leadership in contrast to exploitive leadership and argues that all leadership in the modern world falls somewhere on a continuum between these two extremes. The definitions developed for sustainable and exploitive leadership hinge upon the purposes toward which leadership is applied. The concept of sustainable leadership is further […]

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Educating for Sustainability: Competencies & Practices for Transformative Action

By Erin Frisk and Kelli Larson

Achieving a sustainable future requires that individuals adopt different values, attitudes, habits, and behaviors, which are often learned and cemented at a young age. Unfortunately, current educational efforts are inadequate for achieving transformative action.  Even programs whose primary goal is to promote responsible, pro-environmental behaviors have largely failed at creating change among students.  The lack […]

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Living Systems and Leadership: Cultivating Conditions for Institutional Change

By Zenobia Barlow and Michael Stone

Since its founding, the Center for Ecoliteracy, where Zenobia Barlow is executive director and Michael Stone is senior editor, has supported and advanced education for sustainable living in K–12 schools. One of our particular concerns has been leadership and systemic institutional change. We have sought to understand both how schools can themselves change and how […]

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Sustainability, Democracy, Pedagogy: On Locating Ourselves in Dark Time

By Kimberley Curtis

What kind of pedagogy could possibly be adequate to the crises of our times: global ecological disaster, intensification of deep poverty across the world, concentration of corporate power and the concomitant blows to democratic initiative and power, and an increasingly totalizing global form of civilization that depends upon detaching human beings from their practical and […]

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Sustainability Education in K-12 Classrooms

By Wendy Church and Laura Skelton

Abstract: The national focus in K-12 education currently is on core subject mastery and testing; this is a tough environment in which to instill and expand sustainability education.  Even those educators committed to sustainability education often have difficulty finding ways to incorporate what is considered by many to be ‘add-on’ material.  Nevertheless our experience shows […]

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Rekindling Memories of Yesterday’s Children: Making the Case for Nature-Based Unstructured Play for Today’s Children

By Linda Ramey

Abstract This study examined adults’ feelings towards the environment in relation to recalled memories of childhood play. Today’s adults often associate scouting, summer camps, or playing in a creek with environmental education, with positive affect. Tomorrow’s adults won’t have this experience base. Environmental education and outdoor play have become too formalized for children to benefit […]

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Critical Social Theory and Sustainability Education at the College Level Why It’s Critical to be Critical

By Tina Evans

Abstract This article addresses the value of critical social theory (CST) to sustainability education in higher education. CST is a particularly challenging form of social critique, especially for those who are middle and upper class members of industrial societies. It is argued that important sustainability education opportunities raised by CST actually derive from the deeply […]

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Sustainability Education in Practice: Appropriation of Rurality by the Globalized Migrants of Costa Rica

By Brandilyn Gordon, Fausto Sarmiento, Ricardo Russo and Jeffrey Jones

Abstract An innovative framework for sustainability helps investigate the impacts of real estate development and educational attainment of newcomers; more specifically, landscape transformation due to ‘amenity migration’ into the Global South.  We argue that sustainability research requires a de-categorization from mutually exclusive ‘human’ and ‘nature’ divisions, to refocus on intersections of multiple and complex socio-environmental […]

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Landscape Transitions: Integration of Pedagogical Approaches for Sustainability in Tropical American Mountain Communities

By Dustin A. Menhart and Fausto Sarmiento

Abstract Tropical mountain communities are susceptible to natural hazards due to severe local landscape features.  In addition, their peripheral network of disaster mitigation can be meager leading to population loss, not only from the death toll of catastrophic episodes, but also, by overall attrition due to failing socioeconomic ventures that fuel emigration.  For sustainable development, […]

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Transforming Higher Education: A Practical Plan for Integrating Sustainability Education into the Student Experience

By Mark Stewart

Abstract This paper introduces a comprehensive plan for integrating sustainability education into the practices of nearly any college or university.  Best practices in sustainability education including green orientation, first year education, graduation requirements, interdisciplinary education, the campus as a model sustainable community, and sustainability-focused academic programs are combined to construct a comprehensive, easy-to-replicate strategy that […]

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Cultivating Sustainability Pedagogy through Participatory Action Research in Interior Alaska

By Laura Henry-Stone

Abstract As the environmental movement grows into a broader sustainability revolution, we must move beyond the traditional scope of environmental education to address social-ecological challenges through integrated education for sustainability. This paper proposes that the purpose of sustainability education is to foster a community culture that will promote the emergence of sustainability in complex adaptive […]

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Standing in the Crossroads: The Role of Transformative Education in Addressing Sustainability

By Christine Kelly

Abstract Today we find ourselves standing in the crossroads of our future.  Will we learn from our past mistakes and successes or become yet another story of societal and ecological collapse?  As sustainability educators we are called to consider our contribution to education innovation by asking, as does Stephen Sterling (2001), what is education innovation, […]

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Enriching and Evaluating Sustainability Education

By Larry E. Erickson, Wendy Griswold, Keith Hohn and Oral S. Saulters

Abstract Through innovative partnerships, programming and platforms, sustainability education can be enhanced. Unique approaches as crystallized in a Sustainability Seminar, an annual Dialog on Sustainability, and an annual Sustainability Conference have enriched sustainability education at Kansas State University and throughout the region. Multidisciplinary members of diverse partner organizations of the Consortium for Environmental Stewardship and […]

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Multi-Dimensional Sustainability: An Exploration of Unification between Ecological & Social Consideration

By Jordana DeZeeuw Spencer

Abstract This paper addresses 1) the crucial importance of a multi-dimensional vision and approach to sustainability (Wheeler, 2000) and 2) the human responsibility to work toward that end through a transformation in consciousness and action, which ideally will assist in righting humanity’s relationships with itself, all other beings, and the biosphere. The concepts of sustainability […]

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