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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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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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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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Essential Elements of Sustainability Education

By Brigitte Bollmann-Zuberbuhler, Patrick Kunz and Ursula Frischknecht-Tobler

PDF: BollmannandKunzandFrishknechtSpring2014 Key words:  Sustainable Development, Systems Thinking, SYSDENE, multi-dimensional Learning Outcomes   Learning Outcomes Enduring Understandings/Big Ideas: Before you even start with Sustainability Education, it is necessary to work on the attribution of significance of Sustainable Development (SD). Pupils, students, teachers or lecturers alike: they all need to recognize sustainability as something important and significant […]

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Essential Elements of Sustainability Education

By Andres Edwards

 PDF:AndresSpring2014   Key Words:  Sustainability Education, State of the Field, EdTracks, Systems Thinking   Learning Outcomes Enduring Understandings/Big Ideas:  Systems thinking, interdependence, human/nature connections, the self and well-being, patterns of nature and of human systems; viable economies, social/equity concerns, stewardship, respect for nature’s limits; regeneration, intergenerational thinking, resilience thinking,  Content Knowledge:  Ecological economics, systems theory, […]

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Review of Ecoliterate: How Educators are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence

By Roger Coss

Daniel Goleman, Lisa Bennett, and Zenobia Barlow, in their book Ecoliterate: How Educators are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence, share the stories of a new generation of educators and activists that are displaying the five practices of socially and emotionally engaged ecoliteracy: developing empathy for all forms of life; embracing sustainability as a community practice; making the invisible visible; anticipating unintended consequences; and understanding how nature sustains life. This book provides useful examples and serves as a guide for educators interested in developing a sustainability-focused learning environment for their students through the framework of ecoliteracy. The purpose of the following review is to first present the purpose, argument, and organization of Ecoliterate, and to then evaluate the claims and implications it presents for practitioners of sustainability education.

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Assessing Systems Thinking Skills in Two Undergraduate Sustainability Courses: A Comparison of Teaching Strategies

By Cosette Marie Armstrong, Kim Y. Hiller Connell and Sonya M. Remington

The purpose of this study was to determine systems thinking skill development among undergraduate students and assess the effectiveness of two different instructional methods for increasing these skills. Undergraduate students from two four-year state institutions, one located in the Midwestern region (n=20) of the United States and one in the Southwestern region (n=16) participated in the study. To accomplish the research object, the study employed a mixed between-within subjects experiment. Employing two different systems thinking teaching interventions, one group of students was exposed to a one-time intervention while the other group was exposed to a more extended and holistic intervention. Data were collected at two points in time: pre- and post-intervention. At the beginning (pre-intervention) and end (post-intervention) of one semester, students read case studies describing apparel firms’ sustainability efforts. The students were then tasked to identify sustainability challenges, analyze conflicts between challenges, and offer business recommendations. Using a rubric, the authors scored the students’ responses on a scale of 0 to 5 and assessed ability to 1) think holistically and 2) perceive interrelationships and resolve resulting conflicts. T-tests revealed that prior to the teaching interventions, as a whole, the students had unsophisticated skills related to their ability to think in systems. ANOVA revealed that, through instructional methods focused on systems thinking, it is possible to increase students’ ability to think in systems. Additionally, the study revealed that, compared to a constrained one-time intervention, a long-term, holistic, and integrated approach is significantly more effective in encouraging students’ system thinking competencies. Results of this study support the need for educators to integrate teaching methods designed to increase students’ systems thinking competencies holistically throughout course curriculum. Additionally, the study outlines a transferrable approach to assessing systems thinking skills within postsecondary education.

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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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Review of The Handbook of Sustainability Literacy: Skills for a Changing World

By Laura Henry-Stone

In this detailed and insightful review, Laura Henry-Stone admires the breadth and cohesiveness of this edited volume from mostly European sustainability educators. She makes a good case for bringing this wide array of pieces under one cover, for avoiding static definitions of sustainability, even the traditional “triple bottom line”, and rather looking outside reductionist approaches to find integration, inter-relation and the kind of broad strokes that the chapters in this book propose for educating and solving for sustainability.

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