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

By Tina Evans

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

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Higher Education for Sustainable Consumption: Concept and Results of a Transdisciplinary Project Course

By Daniel Fischer and Marco Rieckmann

In their action project seminar course, Daniel Fischer and Marco Rieckmann show how students applied the principles of sustainable consumption while initiating several impressive on-campus programs to help the community obtain food, clothing and transport in a sustainable fashion. Using a solid theoretical foundation, the course shows how to integrate the formal and non-formal aspects of sustainability education.

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What Sustainability Education Is to Me

By Tina Evans

In this convincing argument, Tina Evans makes the case for both social and ecological components to sustainability that each of us realize, individually and in community, in the context of our own “lifeway.” She also portrays, in concise terms, the transformational process that she incorporates into her own lifeway as a college professor.

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