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Sustainability Activities

These activities have been submitted by faculty from a range of disciplines. The activities use a wide array of pedagogic approaches to address various aspects of sustainability, science and societal issues.


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Action to Enhance Sustainability
Bill Stigliani, University of Northern Iowa
This assignment is a 10-hour, out-of-class project where each student designs and carries out an action plan to enhance sustainability. Students select from a large suite of alternative actions, most of which can be quantified for reductions in CO2 and energy consumption, as well as in dollar savings.

Environmentally Sustainable Mining
Stephen Kissin, Lakehead University
A field trip that illustrates a contrast between environmentally sustainable mining activity and a case of a lack of environmental planning in mining operation and closure.

Exploring sustainability through water cycle connections
Tim Lutz, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
During this module students use multiple experiences (reading, video, the outdoors, a survey of their water footprints, writing, and lots of discussion) to examine how life today, in comparison to pre-industrial times, makes our connections to water virtually invisible. Students use the class's water footprint results to find out how agricultural and industrial water uses link us to people distant in both place and time. They weigh the consequences of these invisible connections in creating the lost sense of dependence and responsibility that typifies unsustainability. Students study the variability of water footprints within our class to help identify more sustainable personal choices. They consider the activity of a local watershed association to educate and involve people in improving the quality of local streams as a model of how community action can accomplish what individuals cannot.

Determining Carbon Storage in Garcelon Bog
Holly Ewing, Bates College
This is a three-week lab sequence aimed at determining the approximate amount of carbon stored in a local bog and teaching skills for solving complex problems through collaborative work.

Students' Evaluation of Competing Alternative Energy Options for a Sustainability Assessment
Hitesh Soneji, City College of San Francisco
A group exercise in trying to understand the many attributes that contribute to an overall assessment of sustainability for alternative energy projects.

Habitat for Humanity Build Day
Lori Troxel, Vanderbilt University
Teaching sustainability through Habitat for Humanity.

A mock legislative debate to enhance and integrate student understanding of climate change science, policy, economics and ethics
Mari Lee, Colorado College
This activity utilizes publicly available, proposed national legislation to provide a platform for student inquiry into the intersection of climate science, environmental economics and sustainable public policy.

'Reporting' on the World Water Forum to understand media coverage and gaps
Abigail Schade, Davidson College
'Reporting' in-class on the tri-ennial World Water Forum.

How Can Models Be Used To Study Climate Change?
Ben Fackler-Adams, Skagit Valley College
Students utilize ice core data to develop a simple climate model, test it and then analyze, through reading IPCC materials, what other variables might need to be included in a model that more accurately predicts climate response to forcings. They are then asked to reflect on the use of models in scientific inquiry and on climate skeptics view of climate models.

Pollution or fishing industry research project
Katryn Wiese, City College of San Francisco
Pick a particular type of pollution or fishing/commercial industry in the ocean. Describe its story â how humans are impacting global oceanic systems and how the ocean is responding.




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