Archive: Non-Traditional and Informal

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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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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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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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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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Pedagogies for Hope and Transformation: A Book Review for “A People’s Curriculum for the Earth” by Bill Bigelow

By Emily Zionts

Abstract: The anthropocene era is one that is rife with ecological and social crises. Although many have been aware of the enormity of these problems and their systemic roots, the widespread educational response has not been sufficient in preparing youth to take part in creating a more just and sustainable world. Climate change is an umbrella issue for much of what the worlds facing. It is time for teachers to take the lead in using the classroom as a place to bring relevant, critical, joyful education that will lead to action in this crucial time. The following article is a book review for A People’s Curriculum for the Earth, a powerful resource for helping teachers equip students to confront our interconnected global crises, especially the climate crisis, and to highlight stories of teachers, activists, and organizations working to make a difference.

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Speaking Our Truth: A Dialog on Hope and Agency in Education and Life

By Tina Evans and David Greenwood

Abstract: The authors engage in a written dialog about their experiences with and understanding of hope and agency in the context of higher education happening in the midst of many converging crises of sustainability. The authors discuss their personal and professional views about teaching sustainability and about leading and collaborating in sustainability-oriented efforts. They consider sustainability and sustainability education efforts as both internal processes that take place within the person and external processes oriented toward others and the world. They explore questions of leadership and authority in relation to hope and agency and discuss the importance of making and communicating honest appraisals of the current situation of humans and the biosphere as a basis for fostering clear-eyed hope and agency in themselves and students.

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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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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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Hope … in a Hopeless World?

By Randall Amster

Abstract: Writing an essay about hope in these times feels like an indulgence of privilege. Still, with full awareness of the implications, I want to insist that we not lose hope, that we make it meaningful, and that we go so far as to make its cultivation a central focus of our lives and work. This essay is intended to serve as a calling card for like-minded inquirers to reach out across time and space, to find ourselves and one another in the engaged optimism of meaningful work in the world, and as an acknowledgment of appreciation for all of those who do so.

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Love as a Great Transition Story

By Duane Elgin

The stories we tell shape our view of ourselves and the path we take through this time of collective awakening and global turning. We have the ability to consciously choose narratives that offer realistic beacons of hope to guide our way through the Great Transition. To achieve authentic and lasting reconciliation as the foundation for our future, we require the power of love and compassion as a practical basis for organizing human affairs.

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Cultivating Connection and Care – The Case for Family Nature Clubs

By Chiara D'Amore

This article briefly summarizes a body of research in which love is understood to be at the core of three primary life experiences that foster life-long care for the environment: time in nature, especially during childhood; close role models for care of nature; and participation in an organization that fosters direct learning about nature. From this foundation, family nature clubs are presented as having a fairly unique capacity to offer all of these experiences. The family nature club founded by the author, Columbia Families in Nature, is described in some detail, including photos and quotes from the participants and summary results from research on the broad effects of family nature clubs is presented. All together, the case is made that family nature clubs are a ripe opportunity for communities to cultivate connection, care, and love between people and the natural world.

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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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Nature-Based Therapeutic Service: The power of Love in Helping and Healing

By Shawna Weaver

This article is an introduction and exploration of the potential for a new approach to mental healthcare. This approach blends mental health treatment with nature and service for a therapy that is systemically beneficial for the individual, the community, and nature together. Called nature-based therapeutic service (NBTS), it is a method within the construct of ecotherapy that is both nature-based and service oriented. It involves empowering clients to serve nature, to develop relationship, build skills, connect to the community, and gain a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Foundational fields related to NBTS include ecopsychology, sustainability education, biophilia, service learning, the study of altruism, trans-species psychology, and other psychological theories. Based on research from these contributing fields, the assumption is that a mutually beneficial therapeutic approach can reconnect humans with nature for individual and community sustainability, through the power of relationship, compassion, empowerment, and love.

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An Ecology of Love: Women Farmers, Sense of Place, the Georgic Ethic, and Ecocentricity

By Clare Hintz

Women farmers in the U.S. are more likely than men to adopt more ecologically-based practices on their farms. In order for such practices to increase, it is relevant to understand how these women farmers learn the values and skills that shape their work. Place attachment (including the emotional connection to a locale and the intangible, felt meanings, values, and symbols) and place meaning (including personal values, socially and iteratively constructed values) seem to be important drivers of active care for place. These are mediated by ecological and social knowledge, experience, social relationships, and identity. If these factors are supportive rather than in tension with place attachment and place meaning, an active care for place can further develop the context for emotional bonds and the story of the locale. Regenerative farmers as well as others who work directly with the land are perhaps uniquely positioned to be leaders in the process of becoming part of a place. In this paper I summarize the literature about farmers’ relationship to place using a framework developed from the general sense of place literature. Finally, I discuss two aspects of this framework that emerged from research with 14 women farmers in Wisconsin and Minnesota: a georgic ethic and an ecocentric perspective: functional components of an ecology of love.

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Finding Nature, Finding Love

By Daniel S. Helman

Camping in the national forest is recounted via a poem, replete with rhyme, relation, and rapture.

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The Poetics of Vulnerability: An Artist’s Experience of Exploring her Creative Edge

By Jennifer Finn

This article is an exploration of vulnerability and the experience I had as an artist inhabiting the art of writing poetry; a creative medium that is new to me. I begin with a brief examination of vulnerability as it is defined today culturally and move towards a personal exploration of what vulnerability feels like within an intentional and unfamiliar creative process. Through this process I learned from vulnerability– things like like navigating open space, respecting how growth unfolds, that vulnerability is an integral part of loving an living life fully, the relationship between vulnerability and love, and the magic that happens when bodily experience aligns with word. This article is an exploration, and affirmation, of vulnerability as a deep site for learning and growth and a requirement, if we are to love deeply.

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Sustainability Education Framework for Teachers: Developing sustainability literacy through futures, values, systems, and strategic thinking

By Annie Warren, Leanna Archambault and Rider W. Foley

The Sustainability Education Framework for Teachers (SEFT) intends to build a capacity for educators to be able to understand: (i) the broad, complex nature of sustainability, (ii) the problem-oriented, solution driven nature of sustainability, and (iii) how sustainability connects to them as both citizens and classroom teachers. SEFT embraces four ways of thinking––futures, values, systems, and strategic which are conceptualized as being bi-directional and interconnected. The framework aids in linking sustainability topics that are seemingly disparate to the novice teacher population by building upon knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for problem solving with respect to complex sustainability challenges. Imagined as a conceptual framework, it offers organizing principles for examining and considering sustainability problem/solution constellations in a coherent fashion. The framework provides the opportunity for self-reflection and independent enquiry by considering and learning through real world foci. Likewise, SEFT offers a logical framework for working in interpersonal, intragroup, and intergroup situations. The four lenses require considering critical inquiries related to societal values, equity, and visions of the future; unpacking the status quo; and exploring and articulating pathways towards a sustainable tomorrow.

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Learning and behavior change in a Girl Scout program focused on energy conservation: Saving energy to ‘save the planet’

By Gillian Puttick, Kim Kies, Cecilia Garibay and Debra Bernstein

This study presents outcomes from the Girls Energy Conservation Corps, a research and development project that produced a series of six patch activity guides for girls age 8-14 who are members of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. The program focused on integrating engaging online and real world activities that involved girls in learning about climate change and their role in it, in saving energy, understanding the importance of collective goals and action to address climate change, and using new media creatively to educate peers and the community about energy conservation. Positive changes in knowledge, behavior, and attitudes pre to post suggest that a carefully designed program can address the challenges of educating children about energy conservation and climate change at this age, even if participant exposure to the program is brief. Findings also bring to light that developmental differences may be important to deconstruct in future studies when applying adult-tested behavior change models and theories to youth.

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Put A Brick In The Toilet: Overcoming Student Perceptions of the Effectiveness of Naïve Environmental Solutions

By Theodore J. Hogan and Paul Kelter

Eat local. Choose a reusable bag instead of plastic. Put a brick in the toilet. These are intuitively simplistic environmental “solutions” that may do little but make a person feel environmentally virtuous. Energy and environmental science teaching requires us to change students’ preconceived simplistic notions about solving environmental issues if we want these future leaders to make real environmentally effective decisions. Students need to understand that the energy input in a disposable plastic bag is dwarfed by the energy expenditure of driving to the grocery store with a reusable bag, so that they don’t make symbolic, but ineffective decisions. One approach is to have students attempt to develop a “sustainable” product. The complexity of environmental solutions becomes evident when we have to evaluate the energy use and environmental consequences from raw material sourcing to reuse.

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From the forest to the classroom: Energy literacy as a co-product of biofuels research

By Justin Hougham, Steve Hollenhorst, Jennifer Schon, Karla Bradley Eitel, Danica Hendrickson, Chad Gotch, Tammi Laninga, Laurel James, Blake Hough, Dan Schwartz, Shelley Preslley, Karl Olsen, Liv Haselbach, Quinn Langfitt and Jennifer Moslemi

The Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) is a biofuel research project that includes a holistic educational approach to energy literacy. NARA research is focused on woody biomass as a feedstock for biofuels and associated co-products, particularly in the forested areas of the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Extending beyond the science of biofuels, the NARA project examines many social elements of our energy economy, including education. Projects that can combine research and connections to educational venues provide excellent opportunities to expand the impact of grant funded proposals. Keys to making this possible include coordination across disciplines, interpretation of research results, and research processes in the field coupled with investment into integrated educational strategies within the project. This paper outlines elements of the NARA approach to energy literacy, offering strategies for approaches to broader impacts in projects beyond the energy sector.

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Original artwork for the KEEP Activity Guide (Linda Godfrey, 1998)

Designing Resilient Energy Education Programs for a Sustainable Future

By Jennie F. Lane, Annie Baker, Becca Franzen, Steve Kerlin and Susan Schuller

Effective teacher professional development in energy education is essential to creating a sustainable future. This article highlights and describes three key components of the Wisconsin K-12 Energy Education Program (KEEP) that have led to two decades of increased statewide energy literacy. The success of the program can be attributed to supportive partnerships that guide staff, the development of an adaptive conceptual framework, and a professional development network for teachers. We offer these components as a guide for other energy education programs to promote future successes in teacher professional development in energy education.

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Achieving Energy and Ecological Literacies for All: Linking Ecology and Energy Education. Perspectives from Sessions at Ecological Society of America (ESA) 2014 Annual Meeting

By Leanne M. Jablonski, Kenneth Klemow and Gillian Puttick

Linking ecology and energy literacy efforts is an essential step for producing scientifically literate citizens who are able to make informed choices about energy, yet the two literacies have developed independently. To explicitly link these, we explored the interface between ecology, energy and education by inviting experts from diverse fields to share perspectives on how to improve public literacy in ecology and energy. This paper presents a synthesis of three organized sessions at the Ecological Society of America (ESA) August 2014 annual meeting: a symposium on a broad range of issues related to energy, ecology and sustainability; an organized oral featuring innovative approaches using ecological concepts to educate Kindergarten through college students about energy, and a share-fair where these innovations were demonstrated. Presentations represented all age-levels, non-formal and formal education, the geophysical sciences, public policy experts, government agencies, ecologists and sociologists, faith-based and environmental non-profits.

Diverse, creative and innovative educational approaches are underway, with major government funding attesting to their import. For ecologists, most of the energy applications centered on sustainability issues, and focused on climate change caused by fossil fuel development. Emerging considerations include direct impacts of energy development and transmission on ecosystems. Conversely, energy literacies should consider the role of ecology, given the ecological impacts involved in decisions about energy extraction and transport. General public audiences including environmental, faith-based and environmental justice communities are increasingly considering environmental dimensions in energy decisions and policy outreach but often on single, time-sensitive issues. Adult education would benefit from a more comprehensive integration of energy and ecology.

We propose that including an explicit ecology dimension in the energy literacies, and similarly involving energy application in the ecology literacies, would be synergistic and allow these inclusive and inherently interdisciplinary fields to flourish and best serve our educational goals of achieving an informed citizenry.

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Columbia Water & Light: A Case Study in Energy Education

By Alex Dzurick

Columbia Water & Light is a municipal electric and water utility with a number of energy education programs. By hiring a full-time education and outreach coordinator, Water & Light has been able to create connections with existing audiences in the community. Historical and current programs have earned awards for the utility. Water & Light’s education programs touch on the science, math and social forces behind energy in the community through projects with adults and children alike. By addressing energy education from a number of angles, Water & Light hopes to provide the community a holistic view of their energy use and how they can improve, with a goal of increasing participation in the utility’s efficiency programs. Short descriptions of a number of programs highlight the work that Water & Light’s education and outreach team has developed over a number of years.

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Global Sustainability: An Authentic Context for Energy Education

By Danica Hendrickson, Kimberly Corrigan, Alicia Keefe, Danielle Shaw, Sheeba Jacob, Laura Skelton, Jennifer Schon, Karla Bradley Eitel and Justin Hougham

Reimagining energy education involves moving beyond the basics of energy use, conservation, and efficiency toward a more robust exploration of energy. This exploration should address energy access and equity, the impacts of energy choices, and personal attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors related to sustainable energy solutions. One approach to encourage this evolution is to use a learning context that inspires educators and students to delve deeply and methodically into the social, economic, and environmental interconnections of energy issues—in other words, to learn about energy within the context of global sustainability. In this article, we share Facing the Future’s definition of global sustainability education (GSE), explain why GSE is an effective context for energy education, and use Facing the Future’s newest energy curriculum to demonstrate how GSE can be employed to develop engaging and rigorous interdisciplinary energy curriculum.

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Enabling energy conservation through effective decision aids

By Shahzeen Z. Attari and Deepak Rajagopal

Why don’t people adopt energy efficient appliances and curtail their behaviors to decrease energy use? People may not know which behaviors are truly effective and may be insufficiently motivated to change their behaviors. We focus on one area of this problem by first analyzing existing decision aids, tools available to help users make effective decisions. We explore EPA’s Energy Star program, DoE’s EERE calculators, and LBNL’s Home Energy Saver tool. We highlight their strengths and limitations and propose a framework to expand the functionality and uptake of the information through such aids. We suggest improvements along two broad areas. One area concerns the analytic capabilities and the information content of the decision aid, which focuses on (1) multiple goals and constraints, (2) hidden costs, and (3) heterogeneity in user characteristics. The other pertains to the framing so that users can easily process information through decision architecture by limiting choice overload and incorporating smart default options.

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Figure 3.   The green circle in this diagram represents any social system (an organization, community, school, family, etc.).  The progression shown in the circle begins with difference and illustrates a common pattern by which power is accrued by individuals who embody certain characteristics.

Privilege as Practice:  A Framework for Engaging with Sustainability, Diversity, Privilege, and Power

By Matthew Kolan and Kaylynn Sullivan TwoTrees

This paper explores the intrinsic but often weakly developed links between sustainability and issues of diversity, power, and privilege. It offers a systems-oriented conceptual framework for exploring and understanding how issues of diversity, power and privilege operate in social-ecological systems. This framework can be used as a learning tool with a wide array of audiences (higher education, organizational development, adult learners) and educational contexts (including but not limited to sustainability education programming).

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Back to the Future: Revisiting the “Whole Earth” Concept of Sustainable Tools for 21st Century Education

By Susan L. Stansberry and Edward L. Harris

The “Whole Earth Catalog” (1968-1972) featured a collection of creative ideas, articles, and durable, practical tools promoted from a utilitarian, environmentally conscious, and intellectual perspective. The wisdom inherent in the catalog may be of value to education today, as we seek innovative, timeless, and empowering technologies to promote sustained learning for all. This purpose of this article is to position the discussion of sustainable educational technology tools for 21st Century education within the context of the “Whole Earth” standards: 1) High quality at a reasonable cost, 2) Easily accessible, 3) Useful and relevant to independent or self education, and 4) Capable of launching a cascade of new opportunities.

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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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A review of the book: Greening the Academy: Ecopedagogy through the Liberal Art

By Aristotelis S. Gkiolmas and Constantine D. Skordoulis

The authors review the book “Greening the Academy: Ecopedagogy through the Liberal Arts”, by Samuel Day Fassbinder, Anthony J. Nocella II and Richard Kahn, from the point of view of Environmental Education, as well as from that of Education for Environmental and Ecological Justice. The review focuses on the importance of the book for tertiary (university level) educational fields. It tries to study the parts of the book within the framework of two major axes transecting all similar – environmental or ecological or justice – educational and research fields: the axis of “old vs. new” and the axis of “local vs. global”.

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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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The Self System Drawing: Teaching a Sustainable Worldview through Creativity

By Elizabeth Meacham

A personal reflection, from the professors’ perspective, of an arts integrated learning tool created to teach systems concepts in college level environmental studies and sustainability courses.

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Place-based outdoor learning and environmental sustainability within Australian Primary School

By Amanda Lloyd and Tonia Gray

Learning in the outdoors has significant educational advantages for children in the Primary School years and the need to connect with nature is becoming increasingly prominent in research worldwide. Pro-environmental behaviour, especially in the early years, has been shown to have a causal relationship with connectivity with the natural environment. Place-based outdoor learning promotes a relationship with the natural environment and constructs deep environmental knowledge and understanding of the world that surrounds learners. Embedding Indigenous culture and knowledge into outdoor learning within Primary School programs enables local knowledge and understanding to permeate throughout activities in explicit and experiential ways. A place-based pedagogy recognises the importance of forming intimate relationships with place through regular visitations to the same outdoor environment. One of the many global challenges confronting teachers working in Primary schools is how to implement holistic learning into their educational programs. This paper explores how an Australian case study utilises place-based outdoor learning and environmental sustainability within the school curriculum.

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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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Student sustainability education in action in Latin America and the United States

By Joshua Klaus and Erin Clark

Ecology Project International (EPI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing place-based, ecological education partnerships between local experts and high school students to address critical conservation issues. This photo essay depicts local students in action at EPI’s programs in Baja California Sur – Mexico, the Galapagos Islands – Ecuador, and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The photos show students engaging in field science, applied conservation, and sustainability-related activities geared toward helping them develop environmental literacy.

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From Participant to Planner: A Longitudinal Approach to Youth Leadership Development

By Jane Harrison, Kristi Lekies and Kristen Arnold

This article examines how an experiential education opportunity affected leadership development of a young adult over a five-year time period. The individual participated in a series of authentic environmental leadership activities which emphasized direct experience, peer-to-peer mentoring, and youth-adult partnerships. We illustrate how sustainability educators and planners can engage youth in meaningful leadership activities and encourage long-term leadership cultivation. Challenges to facilitating environmental youth leadership are also addressed, including relating to and providing appropriate support for adolescents and young adults.

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Building and boarding a bigger boat together: Learning about sustainability through direct encounters with diverse people in our watershed

By Laura S. Meitzner Yoder, Tom C. Hartzell, Jonathon W. Schramm and Lisa R. Zinn

Regional movements toward sustainability recognize that we share a common future. An approach to sustainability education infused with social justice requires joining this common endeavor alongside transformational approaches on individual, community, and larger scales. Transformation occurs most deeply through developing personal relationships with others working in these complex areas. Such relationships humanize abstract issues and build empathy, and they also help learners to better understand and describe ways in which they share similar motivations towards sustainability with others who initially seem quite different from themselves. This paper describes how a residential and experiential undergraduate semester in sustainability studies used personal encounters with a diversity of actors in our watershed to illustrate the range of people who must be considered and included in moving toward regional sustainability. Engaging a broad spectrum of people enables students to acknowledge the need to move forward alongside those who are different from and similar to themselves in various ways, redefining “them” as “us” within the watershed.

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Teaching Sustainability through Adventure

By Jeni Henrickson and Aaron Doering

Adventure has been incorporated into sustainability education in a variety of ways, including through outdoor education and, more recently, through technology-enhanced learning. Technology has, for example, expanded opportunities for experiential learning through adventure as well as allowing learners to journey virtually along with explorers and scientists to the far-reaches of the world. This paper offers an overview of how adventure has traditionally been employed in both formal and informal education, discusses the differences between adventure education and adventure learning, shares research conducted on the role of adventure in the GoNorth! Adventure Learning Series, and advances suggestions for how adventure might be employed in sustainability education using distance, online, and mobile learning. The researchers propose the user-driven adventure learning environment (UDALE) as one model that educators and designers can draw from in both formal and informal learning settings as a means to fuse adventure, technology, and sustainability education in a pedagogically meaningful way.

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Employee Engagement: Advancing Organizational Sustainability

By Brooke Moran and Paul Tame

PDF: BrookeMoranSpring2013 Abstract Engaging employees in social and environmental sustainability initiatives “…can improve a business’ bottom line and help it reach its sustainability goals” (NEEF, 2011, p. 14). While some organizations may have sensed this years ago, most are only recently acknowledging how critical employee engagement is to their ultimate success. Presumably, this realization is […]

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Challenging families to live more sustainably : A multicase study in adopting eco-sustainable habits in the context of family

By Michel Léger

A case-study methodology was used to explore the processes of change as experienced by 18 New Brunswick (Canada) families attempting to lead a more eco-sustainable lifestyle as part of a 6 month long provincial initiative called the NB Family Eco-Challenge. Cross-case thematic analysis of findings revealed the emergence of certain conceptual themes related to families who successfully adopted collective environmental actions. For instance, we note the presence of certain applied competencies in these families, such as a capacity for planning, openness to change and collective efficacy. We also noted that families who succeeded in integrating collective environmental actions shared biospheric values and tended to maintain their chosen actions when part of a support network. Based on these findings, this article concludes by outlining the lessons learned in terms of their potential for a possible educational program for families looking to adopt a more eco-sustainable lifestyle.

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To Divine Is Human

By Nancy Mattina

The human capacity for scientific thinking is an innate one that coexists with our ability to intuit, believe, and invent. In crafting engaging narratives that urge our readers or students to think and act rationally on behalf of our imperiled biosphere, writers who are not scientists should take care not to sustain negative stereotypes of science and scientists in their commentary, even if some of our greatest storytellers have done so.

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NOLS: Bringing Sustainability Education to the Front-Country

By Karly Copeland

Minimum impact camping is a focus of most wilderness programs, but what example are we setting for our students before we get to the backcountry? In the past eight years NOLS has increased its focus on leading and teaching front-country sustainability by example, in addition to Leave No Trace practices taught in wilderness classrooms. This article explores some of the strategies, challenges, and successes in bringing sustainability to NOLS’ front-country operations.

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Awareness to Action: the journey toward a deeper ecological literacy

By Joel Barnes

Environmental education (EE) strives to strengthen the ecological literacy of individuals and society. Guiding individuals along their own journey toward a deeper ecological literacy should be a central tenet of any EE program, and at least a complementary piece of programs in other closely related fields like experiential and adventure education, sustainability education, ecotourism, the natural sciences, conservation biology, public lands advocacy, wilderness-based therapy, ecopsychology and human rights and social justice. Regardless of their background, expertise, or actual job title, environmental educators should consider themselves key players in guiding individuals along their personal journey towards a deeper ecological literacy.

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Only Experience Can Bring Us To The Truth

By Dan Garvey

In this inspiring tale, Dan Garvey makes the case for the essential role of experience in showing the truth. He argues that it is easy to use secondary experience, through words, images and other media, to convince people of almost anything. But only through direct experience do we arrive at the ability to distinguish real truths.

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A Conversation Starter: Amplifying Outdoor Adventure Education as an Innovative Tool for the 21st Century

By Jeff Glover

This article explores how to create a sustainable adventure movement and increase the use of Outdoor Adventure Education as an innovative educational tool in schools, communities and businesses. Taking a whole system approach and applying leading social movement and diffusion theories, the Adventure Movement Project seeks to develop a framework for integrating Outdoor Adventure Education into whole communities to inspire servant leadership, achieve sustainability, and drive innovation. Original research presented shares why Outdoor Adventure Education matters and how a socially just and sustainable planet can thrive with Outdoor Adventure Education acting as a highly effective catalyst to drive social, economic, educational, and environmental change.

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Re-engaging Youth through Environmental-based Education for Sustainable Development

By Justin Umholtz

To live up to UNESCO’s definition of a sustainable development education that empowers youth with the knowledge, attitudes, motivations, commitments, and skills to solve and prevent the world’s total environmental problems, youth must be able to find meaning in the curriculum based in their own experiences and expanded through shared group experiences. An environmental-based experiential curriculum with a positive development focus can help youth reclaim their learning process and reconnect with their communities. However, without critical analysis, students, especially marginalized students, cannot develop the tools and competencies to truly understand their environment and their place within it. Linking environmental and experiential education with critical theory provides students the opportunity to develop their leadership and gain the social and cultural literacy skills needed to come in from the margins.

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Experiencing Sustainability: Thinking Deeper About Experiential Education in Higher Education

By Jay Roberts

Jack Turner (2005) once wrote “we treat the natural world according to our experience of it.” How are our students “experiencing sustainability” in U.S. colleges and universities? With the rise in popularity of education for sustainability initiatives in both K-12 and higher education, experiential education has been championed as a key pedagogical approach moving forward. Experiential curriculum projects come in many different forms. From outdoor education and service learning to so-called “hands-on” applied work on campus projects and field science research, students are increasingly “learning by doing.” Yet far from just another methodology to be used in the classroom, the rise of experiential approaches indicates deeper tectonic shifts in higher education. As students and faculty engage in this form of learning, questions are raised as to the historic divide between theory and practice, the separation between so-called “town” and “gown” cultures, the curriculum and the co-curriculum, and what forms of knowledge and skills are of the most worth to a 21st century graduate. This analysis first briefly surveys the theoretical history of experiential education before proceeding to consider two specific curriculum projects at the intersections between sustainability and experiential education—place-based learning and project-based learning. The analysis concludes with a discussion of the possibilities and limitations of current forms of experiential education in higher education and a consideration of future trends and developments.

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