Archive: Education Setting

Kita Castro

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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Worldviews, A Mental Construct Hiding the Potential of Human Behaviour: A New Learning Framework to Guide Education for Sustainable Development

By Emilia de la Sienra, Tanzi Smith and Cynthia Mitchell

Abstract: Latest results in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) research and practice show a tendency towards more holistic approaches aiming at deep transformation of the self and the meanings of human existence. Aligned with this, we present the Transdisciplinary Framework of Worldviews and Behaviours (TFWB) to describe the possible formation and expression of a worldview, a complex constellation of meaning and identity from which all human conduct emerges. Four key principles arising from the TFWB are: 1) The whole embodied nervous system is greater than the sum of its separated parts, especially when it comes to intelligence (information processing) and learning (meaning making); 2) The mind is a highly emotion-dependent and mostly unconscious entity; 3) A worldview is a unique arrangement of meaning each person builds, and lives through; and 4) Increasing self-awareness about how a personal worldview is formed and expressed generates increasing opportunities for that individual to explore and build a different meaning for their experience, or to explore and choose different forms to express it (behave). The TFWB informs a new perspective on learning that could be useful for the achievement of ESD’s transformative goals, guiding the innovative design of educational initiatives encouraging new conceptualizations about the meanings of being human; thus, facilitating potential behavioural transformations toward a more sustainable existence.

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Critical sustainability studies: A holistic and visionary conception of socio-ecological conscientization

By Felipe Ferreira

Abstract: Sustainability has the potential to provide a holistic framework that can bridge the gap that is often found between socio-economic justice and environmental discourses. However, sustainability and sustainability education have typically accepted the prevailing socio-economic and cultural paradigm. It is my aim in this paper to demonstrate that a truly holistic and visionary sustainability (education) framework ought to demand radical and critical theories and solutions- based approaches to politicize and interrogate the premises, assumptions, and biases linked to the dominant notion of sustainability. If we are to envision and construe actual sustainable futures, we must first understand what brought us here, where the roots of the problems lie, and how the sustainability discourse and framework tackle—or fail to tackle—them. To do this is to politicize sustainability, to build a critical perspective of and about sustainability. It is an act of conscientização (or conscientization), to borrow Paulo Freire’s seminal term, of cultivating critical consciousness and conscience. In lieu of the standard articulation of politics as centralized state administration, ‘critical sustainability studies’ is based on a framing that gives prominence to a more organic, decentralized engagement of conscientious subjects in the creation of just, regenerative eco-social relations. It illuminates the ideological and material links between society, culture, and ecology by devoting particular attention to how knowledge and discourse around and across those realms are generated and articulated. I believe that future scholarship and activism in sustainability and sustainability- related fields would benefit immensely from dialoguing with this framework.

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Do Malaysian Journalists Really Understand What Sustainability Is?

By Mohamad Saifudin Mohamad Saleh and Nik Norma Nik Hasan

Abstract: Is it important to educate the media on sustainability? This paper debates the need for sustainability education to be nurtured among media practitioners in Malaysia. Media play a vital role in educating society in three main areas of sustainability including environment, economy, and social justice. In this paper, six media practitioners from two local Malaysian printed media organizations, The Star and Utusan Malaysia, were interviewed to gauge their understanding on sustainability education, perceptions on their pivotal role in sustainability education, and the challenges they face in the process of educating society about sustainability issues. The findings of this study show that most Malaysian media practitioners displayed a clear understanding about sustainability education and they also realized their responsibility for not only informing but also educating society about sustainability issues and the importance of sustainable lifestyles. The ultimate challenge the media faces in terms of sustainability education comes from the media organizations themselves, such as the existence of gatekeepers who control the news. Overall, this study demonstrates that the Malaysian media’s involvement in sustainability education is no longer a myth. We hope that this study may provide direction in sustainability education not only among the Malaysian printed media, but also for developing and Southeast Asian countries, and the rest of the world.

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Using Global Climate Change as a Platform for Interpreting Graphical Data

By Karena M. Ruggiero and Barry W. Golden

Abstract: Scientific literacy through critical-thinking and problem-solving is an important part of the future of our nation. Understanding of science and engineering concepts creates informed citizens who can contribute to democratic conversations and be knowledge consumers. Scientific literacy also requires an understanding of data and data analysis. This lesson uses Global Climate Change as a platform for understanding graphical data by exploring the manipulations of graphs and helping students recognize the ways in which perspective and scale play a role in graphing data. The lesson provided is designed to be covered in 90 minutes with high school students. Using four graphs of global temperature change, students will work in groups to analyze graphs and recognize the way in which scaling can play an integral role in the perception of information as well as an understanding of the degree of temperature change over periods of time due to global climate change.

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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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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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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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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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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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University-Museum Partnerships: Reflections on Programmatic Best Practices for Sustainability Collaborations

By Sandra Rodegher and Stacey Freeman

Abstract: In order to effectively address global sustainability challenges, a wide spectrum of society must be engaged. Universities generate knowledge, enhance understanding of sustainability problems and identify potential pathways to solutions. However, the information they produce often does not reach the public sector. Primary and secondary schools contain expert teachers and science communicators, but they are often limited by educational standards and other teaching duties. On the other hand, museums, such as science and natural history museums, are particularly skilled at translating scientific information so that it engages and excites the general public without the limiting expectations of school systems. Thus, partnerships between museums and universities offer great potential for disseminating sustainability knowledge and solutions on a global scale. However, given the complexity of sustainability problems, partnerships between universities and museums require a deep level of collaboration beyond the scope of information or resource exchange. In this article, we explore our experiences collaborating with museums, reflecting on challenges and, ultimately, identifying four main focal areas to successful, transformational collaborations. Though we focus on museum partnerships from the university perspective, we contend that any institution can apply these four steps to make progress on wicked problems that require immediate action.

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U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award from 2012, 2013, and 2014: Teacher Perceptions of Ecological and Democratic Principles

By Tania McKey

Abstract: The study was a descriptive and correlational quantitative study of U. S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) teachers’ perceptions of ecological and democratic principles in their schools. Descriptive statistics described the ED-GRS teachers’ perceptions of how the ecological and democratic principles operate in their schools. Correlations were used to look deeper at the ecological and democratic principles and to what extent these principles were related. Teachers in ED-GRS award winning schools reported evidence of ecological and democratic principles. The findings suggested that ecological and democratic principles had a positive relationship among them. In addition, there were seven principles that had strong, positive relationships among each other as perceived by teachers in ED-GRS award winning schools. I concluded from the data that sustaining ecological change requires evidence of democratic leadership and community. This study contributes to the field of educational leadership by providing a descriptive analysis of a newly-created United States Department of Education award. In addition, this study provides schools and school leaders with information as how to make sustainable changes that lead to healthy, high performance schools including a theoretical framework to provide guidance in making the sustainable changes.

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The Cure is in the Cause: A Rationale and Guide for Scaling Up Indigenous Principles & Practices for Resilience and Sustainability

By Dawn Marsden

Abstract: Healing a world on the brink of eco-social collapse requires an understanding of how planetary health has declined, how sustainable societies worked before, and how we can restore them. Global colonizing processes established a worldview of economic domination and competition that has had detrimental impacts upon our social and environmental systems. Archeological and mathematical studies of the rise and fall of human civilizations concluded that egalitarian societies with low environmental exploitation were the longest lasting in human history, and that high economic stratification, and/or overexploitation of resources were precursors to societal collapse. Indigenous community systems were relatively egalitarian and environmentally sustainable. Hypothetically, if we use Indigenous eco-social systems as a guide for community planning, then eco-social collapse can be averted, and eco-social resilience and sustainability can be restored. A framework of Indigenous principles and practices is included, with examples of goals, activities and indicators.

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Environmental Literacy in Environmentally Themed Higher Education Courses

By Jordan A. King and Rebecca L. Franzen

Abstract: This study sought to determine the influence of environmentally themed higher education courses upon students’ self-perceptions of their environmental literacy. Past research has suggested mixed conclusions about the objectives, approaches, and impacts of environmental and sustainability education in higher education. This study assessed environmental literacy and the influence of pedagogical perspective and instructor emphasis in environmentally themed higher education courses. Using the Hollweg et al. (2011) framework for environmental literacy, the study assessed students’ self-perceptions of their environmental literacy in a pre- and post-test format. Data were analyzed using a paired samples t-test and one-way ANOVA with a Tukey HSD post-hoc test. The results of the study showed that environmentally themed higher education courses are having a significant influence on students’ self-perceptions of their environmental literacy. However, instructors seemed to emphasize behavior least of the four aspects of environmental literacy. These findings suggest that environmentally themed courses are having a strong impact, yet further integration of environmental education principles may be meaningful. This study clarifies the impact of environmentally themed higher education courses. The distinction between pedagogical perspectives delineates new understandings of the differences in environmental literacy change. This study serves as a ground for future research to build the implementation of environmental education in higher education.

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M31, Andromeda Galaxy, photo: Hubble/NASA

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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The Future of Sustainability in Higher Education

By Nathan Hensley

Abstract: In this article, I explore the future of higher education within the context of teaching and learning for sustainability. Challenges currently facing sustainability education are identified along with opportunities to face these challenges in ways that are transdisciplinary and holistic. I make the case that envisioning the future of sustainability education enables practitioners and educational theorists to better meet the needs of today’s generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987). My vision of the future of sustainability education in higher education is grounded in transformative, experiential, and place-based approaches. Engaging students in authentic inquiry in the classroom enables students to become better citizens and stronger problem solvers within the context of sustainability and beyond.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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“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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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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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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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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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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The History Workshop of the Cumberland County Historical Society

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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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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Photo Credit: Evan Loney

Mauna a Wakea: Reconfiguring Our Sense of Place

By Kimberley Greeson and Evan Loney

Abstract: This photo essay reflects one sense of place from Mauna Kea.

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Design Team:  Shannon Lecher and Alex Gillis

A Word on Place : Altering the Meaning of Place with Typographic Installations

By Matthew Groshek

Abstract: With the challenge of exploring a particular rural site and responding with installations of type, students investigate the intersection of place, preconception, knowledge, experience and design. With a project named 4 (or 5) letters in a field, student teams participate with the changing conditions of a site and audience to alter the meaning of a place.

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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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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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Ifunanya Ezimora, Cindy Frantz, John Perterson, Rumi Shammin, Oberlin College

Transforming Despair: Narratives on Global Warming and its Effects

By Ifunanya Ezimora

Ezimora et al JSE Nov 2015 Hope Issue PDF share: Bookmark on Delicious Digg this Recommend on Facebook Tip on Hyves Mixx it up Share via MySpace Share on Orkut Share on Reddit Share with Stumblers Tweet this Follow this posts comments

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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_
senses_garden_in_holon.jpg

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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Permaculture as Hope and Agency for Sustainability

By Tina Evans

Abstract: This interview-based article discusses how permaculture philosophy, practice, and education represent important avenues for sustainability-oriented hope and agency. The author interviews Permaculture Design Certification instructors from the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute’s two week long course held in summer 2015. Interviewees offer perspectives on permaculture as a well-founded and well-developed philosophical approach to sustainability, as a framework for practical application of sustainability principles, and as a foundation for community organizing and development. The author seeks to inspire sustainability educators and practitioners to consider permaculture as an important vehicle for teaching, learning, and doing sustainability.

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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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At Lipscomb Academy

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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