Archive: Adult Learning

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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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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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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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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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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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Book Review: The Forest Garden Greenhouse by Jerome Osentowski

By Tracey Urbick

Abstract: Book review of The Forest Garden Greenhouse by Jerome Osentowski.

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Façade of tower overlooking former slave market on Île de Gorée (Senegal), now preserved by UNESCO as a “memory island” for intercultural dialogue and reconciliation. Graffiti spells Allahu Akbar. Photo by Adrian Fielder (2000)

Fostering Hope in Calamitous Times: A Review Essay on Randall Amster’s Peace Ecology (2015)

By Adrian Fielder

Abstract: This essay examines Randall Amster’s book Peace Ecology as a critical intervention articulating vital connections among discourses from peace and justice studies (on one hand) and the most vexing problems addressed by sustainability studies (on the other): from violent conflict and social inequity to environmental injustice and global ecocide. Reading this dialogue through the lens of hope, the author argues that Amster’s synthesis of this research provides effective tools for helping educators, students and practitioners of sustainability to generate new thought – and direct action – around these issues. By cataloguing and analyzing the many successes of ecological peacebuilding without absolving the paradigms of thought that continue to propagate war against people and planet, Amster empowers us to avoid both the trap of despair and the delusion of complacent optimism in order to foster the conditions that promote human beings’ mutually-beneficial peace and coexistence with each other and with the Earth.

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The Purpose, Design, and Evolution of Prescott’s PhD Program in Sustainability Education

By Rick Medrick

        Medrick JSE Nov 2015 Hope Issue PDF Abstract: This article examines the purpose, design, process, and operations of Prescott College’s PhD Program in Sustainability Education. It describes how students come into the program, participate in foundational course work, operate within a cohort framework, and provide feedback and support for each person’s […]

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Why We Need Wendell Berry

By Jane Schreck

Schreck JSE Nov 2015 Hope Issue PDF Abstract: This essay chronicles three experiences I had within a matter of days that clarified for me how easily the good sense of Wendell Berry’s thinking is drowned out by the reductive presuppositions of modern industrialism and how necessary his thinking is for our hope of survival. With […]

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On the Future of Hope

By Douglas Dupler

Abstract: The concept of hope is rich in context, and working with it from different angles can enhance inner resources. Framing hope as a process offers tools for sustainability educators: subjective exploration, empathy development, critical thinking, and civic engagement.

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Book Review: “The Living Universe: Where Are We, Who Are We, Where Are We Going?” by Duane Elgin

By Chiara D'Amore

In The Living Universe: Where are We, Who are We, and Where are We Going, Duane Elgin presents a powerfully compelling argument that the most fundamental challenge facing humanity during this time of crisis is to visualize a future of great opportunity and that the foundational story guiding the reality people create on Earth is whether the universe is alive and to be loved and nurtured or dead and to be feared and consumed. This article provides a review of this powerful book with an eye to the connection between love and sustainability.

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Sustaining Love

By Mark A. Burch

‘Sustaining Love’ explores education for sustainability as a psycho-cultural transformation rooted in moments of personal emotional enmeshment in Nature. It is argued that while technical and economic development provides some of the necessary conditions for meeting our collective sustainability challenge, our choices along the way must be informed by a sense of identity and shared fate with infra-human species and the natural world.

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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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The Love of Art in Correctional Education—Endless Possibilities for Critical Literacy

By Susanne Gardner

Full PDF: Gardner JSE Vol 7 Dec 2014 Abstract:  Finding out what students enjoy most, and designing a teaching curriculum to include those enjoyable activities, is the key to motivation and learning in a nontraditional educational environment.  At the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup, ESL students love art expression in any form, thus, the instructor […]

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Education in a Culturally Diverse Post-Secondary Classroom: A Space for Potential Transformative Learning for Sustainability

By Helen I. Lepp Friesen

This conceptual article examines how teaching and learning has changed and continues to change as a result of the increase in cultural diversity in post-secondary classrooms. It focuses on how students’ and instructors’ culture and traditions impact the teaching and learning experience in culturally diverse post-secondary settings. Providing evidence from theoretical perspectives, this review assesses the need for and the potentially transformative nature of education that is sustainable.
English may be the lingua franca on North American university campuses, as well as on many campuses around the world, but since students and instructors come from many different backgrounds, just because English is the predominant language does not necessarily mean that education based on Western principles is the only way to do education. International students and instructors come from countries where education may be conducted differently and since the North American university system requires learning to be demonstrated in certain ways, it puts students that come from different systems at a disadvantage. Therefore it would seem that North American universities could benefit from the tenets of culturally sensitive teaching that Gay (2000) suggests as comprehensive, multidimensional, empowering, transforming, and emancipatory.

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Cook County Green Corps African American Trainee Experience in a Green Job Training Program

By Lena Hatchett, Susan Ask, Nancy Pollard and Loretta Brown

This case study describes the Cook County Green Corps program, a green job training program serving African American young adults from a low-income neighborhood. The program was implemented by an interdisciplinary organizing team to build knowledge, skills, and participation in sustainable jobs and urban agriculture among young adults. The trainees’ experience was documented by a program evaluation survey, environmental knowledge survey, and 1 year reflection interview. We summarize the experiential design, implementation and evaluation of the program. We discuss the limitations and the benefits of the program for trainees and the neighborhood. We share recommendations for future green job training programs that can best serve urban neighborhoods.

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Enhancing food security through experiential sustainability leadership practices: A study of the Seed to Supper program

By Denissia Withers and Heather Burns

Experiential and inclusive sustainability leadership practices in learning garden programs can lead to increased community food security. This recent study shows that Oregon Food Bank’s Seed to Supper program increases food literacy, builds social capital, and creates opportunities for fostering inclusive leadership in learning garden communities. Through a mixed-methods community-based research process, the study found that learner empowerment through food literacy and sustainability leadership increased access to locally-grown foods for food insecure populations. The leadership model discussed in this paper uses the concept of the web of inclusion (Helgesen, 1990) as a framework for discussing the intricate social networks within the Seed to Supper program.

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Teacher Professional Learning Communities for Sustainability: Supporting STEM in Learning Gardens in Low-Income Schools

By Sybil S. Kelley and Dilafruz Williams

In order to address the ecological and social problems of sustainability in our modern times, citizens need to be empowered with an understanding of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts and practices. Furthermore, STEM must be democratized and taught in life-giving and life-sustaining ways that include all students instead of the small fraction of “high achievers” and limited to the “potential” scientists, engineers, and mathematicians. At present, K-12 students and their teachers rarely have the opportunity to learn beyond their concrete school walls and to reconnect with nature, exacerbating their disconnection of STEM from real life and hence sustainability. We believe that engagement with school grounds and gardens and the very soils on which learning takes place can provide simple yet authentic day-to-day educational experiences that can bring mindfulness of lessons related to the cycles of life and death and to the interplay of justice and power in our communities. To transform teaching and learning in the classroom, teachers need different learning experiences that provide them with the time, space, and appropriate supports to translate their learning into teaching practice making education relevant to life. School gardens provide a rich context for learning both for teachers and students by embracing experiential, integrated, and collaborative learning. This study highlights an example of a summer program that involved teachers in hands-on education related to STEM in the learning gardens at four low-income schools in southeast Portland representing the growing ethnic, linguistic, and cultural diversity of the districts in the metropolitan area. Teacher voices capture the essence of learning STEM in the learning gardens, and also address issues of social and environmental justice.

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Influences of Field Immersion, Disciplinary Projects, and Extra-Disciplinary Activities on Transformative Learning in an Experiential Learning Project

By Radha Pyati and April Moore

This paper presents a case study of an experiential learning project, an analysis of its transformative learning effects, and a description of the aspects most influential on transformative learning. The project is an eight-day houseboat excursion with students at the University of North Florida. Student work products were evaluated for evidence for transformative learning. The most powerful factors causing transformative learning were the experiential aspect of studying in the field, projects done strictly within a student’s major discipline, and extra-disciplinary projects done intentionally outside a student’s major discipline.

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Fostering Sustainability Through Watershed-Based Education

By Rita Vazquez and Rosalinda Uribe

Daily news relentlessly confirms that we have not been able to find a balance between the environment, the economy, society and culture. The trend of worldwide development is increasingly far from sustainability and it seems that we cannot perceive evident and subtle interconnections required to understand the whole picture. Thus, issues such as the loss of biological diversity, weakening of cultural diversity and poverty, have usually been dealt with separately. Nevertheless, they are in fact closely connected and relevant to sustainable development. A holistic and more comprehensive approach for action at all levels is required to attain sustainability, as pointed out by the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). Water can be seen as one common thread to link those issues. On the other hand, Education must be at the core of sustainable development for either to be successful. Water education is therefore a core element to achieve sustainability. Watersheds are a natural starting point for a holistic, comprehensive approach, as they can be described as a physical-biological unit, as well as a socio-economic-political unit, which can be used for planning and management of natural resources. A watershed perspective facilitates education to be locally relevant and culturally appropriate. Herein we will discuss some examples of watershed-based education in Latin America, addressed to provide a better understanding of local environmental, social, cultural and economic topics and issues from early childhood.

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The Accidental Sustainability Agent

By Mark Apel, Christopher Jones and Daniel McDonald

While a number of universities across the nation have sustainability education programs, land grant universities and their Cooperative Extension departments are in a particularly advantageous position to foster sustainability education. At the University of Arizona (UA), this is being accomplished through its Cooperative Extension cadre of education programs in agriculture; youth development; natural resources; horticulture; family, consumer and health sciences; and community and economic development. A working group within UA Cooperative Extension has been tasked with evaluating the reach of sustainability concepts while developing opportunities for its faculty to further integrate sustainability education into its programs, such as through student externships. Preliminary evaluation results indicate that Extension’s programs positively embody the concepts of sustainability without creating the need for new, deliberate programming around sustainability education.

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These twenty high school students were part of the first Conservation Leadership in Action Week, an experiential conservation camp hosted by the Tennessee Aquarium and Baylor School in Chattanooga, TN.  These ambitious teenagers spent the week discovering conservation challenges, including urban water quality, biodiversity of Tennessee rivers and streams, and how day-to-day actions impact our environment.  Sustainable Food Day was a big hit, as students spent the morning on a local farm picking beets.  With the help of a local chef, students cooked these beets for dinner that evening.  For many, it was the first time they were responsible for their food from farm to table.

Conservation Leadership in Action

By Ashford S Rosenberg

These twenty high school students were part of the first Conservation Leadership in Action Week, an experiential conservation camp hosted by the Tennessee Aquarium and Baylor School in Chattanooga, TN. These ambitious teenagers spent the week discovering conservation challenges, including urban water quality, biodiversity of Tennessee rivers and streams, and how day-to-day actions impact our environment. Sustainable Food Day was a big hit, as students spent the morning on a local farm picking beets. With the help of a local chef, students cooked these beets for dinner that evening. For many, it was the first time they were responsible for their food from farm to table.

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Amenity Migration: a comparative study of the Italian Alps and the Chil-ean Andes

By Axel Borsdorf, Rodrigo Hidalgo and Hugo Zunino

Abstract:
Amenity migration involves people moving to perceived desirable regions, usually for non-economic reasons, such as a physical or cultural environment that is seen as more beautiful, tranquil or inspirational than their current, usually urban environment. the Italian Alps and Chilean Andes have recently experienced significant amenity in-migration after decades of net population decline. Whereas amenity migration in other parts of the Alps, and the Americas is well-studied, here we represent some of the first demographic data, and also cultural-geographic analysis, comparing these two regions. In many respects, the two regions are similar, including the socio-economic situation of existing population and the principal reasons that amenity migrants arrive. IN both regions, perceived beauty and tranquility of the natural mountains environment is the main attraction for amenioty migrants. In addition, migrants come to experience a different cultural milieu that thy perceive as less stressful than the usually urban environments that they emigrate from. In the Italian Alps, close proximity to urban areas bring more day migrants, and the longer cultural history of teh region has led to more conflicts of values between amenity migrants and long-term residents than is seen in the relatively culturally young Chilean Andes.

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Sponsoring the Journal of Sustainability Education

By Clare Hintz

Sponsoring the Journal of Sustainability Education The Journal of Sustainability Education is actively seeking partners, sponsors, and donors to collaborate on moving the field of sustainability education outward and deeper. The Journal is a premiere publication with dynamic content elements, a blend of peer reviewed and timely interviews and media pieces that draw over 11,000 unique visitors […]

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Buildings, Climate Change, Education and Action: The role of the building sector systems in climate change mitigation

By Peter Papesch, Jeff Haberl, Robert Koester, Dan Proctor and Bob Berkebile

In this clarion call for broad-based change in the way buildings are designed and built and occupied, Papesch and his colleagues bring attention to the broad swaths of society that are involved in this fundamental aspect of our daily lives. While bringing into play diverse groups of lay people and professionals, from poets to engineers, with a focus on architects and designers, they call for changes at every level, from the development of a Green Mindset among the population at large, to local governmental code changes to, as they argue most importantly, fundamental changes in design curricula that lead to the primacy of an interdisciplinary approach to climate change mitigation in building design.

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Northwest Earth Institute’s Discussion Guides Enhance Sustainability Education at University of Michigan

By Mike Shriberg

Mike Shriberg shows the power of implementing a true discussion-based curriculum in his sustainable campus course at the University of Michigan.

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The Importance of Controversy: Is Education for Sustainable Development Too Nice?

By Robert Bray

The Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) community, argues Robert Bray, is shy to confront controversy. In this quick review of three controversial issues—population control, the role of science, and limits to growth—he quickly points out how important it is to embrace controversy as a way to arrive at sound policy.

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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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