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Sustainability Essays

These essays were submitted by faculty in preparation for the Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences workshop in July 2012. Participants were asked to share their approaches to teaching sustainability in an interdisciplinary context and ideas for exploring opportunities for enhancing the integration of geoscience and sustainability.



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Crossing Disciplinary Borders for Sustainability Education
Ellen Metzger, San Jose State University
Ellen Metzger, Geology and Science Education, San Jose State UniversityMy relatively recent interest in teaching about sustainability was catalyzed by an unexpected opportunity to reconnect with an old friend when ...

Credibility as a Challenge in the Integration of Science and Sustainability
Holly Ewing, Bates College
Holly Ewing, Environmental Studies, Bates College I teach interdisciplinary courses in the sciences (combining geology, ecology, and chemistry) within an environmental studies program, and I would describe my ...

Service as Means of Interdisciplinary Collaboration
Maureen Muldoon, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Maureen Muldoon, Geology, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Most of my interdisciplinary teaching on sustainability topics takes place outside the context of traditional classroom courses. Budget constraints at ...

Making Connections between Geoscience and Sustainability
Laura Rademacher, University of the Pacific
Laura Rademacher, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of the Pacific My approach to teaching sustainability in an interdisciplinary context has evolved out of years of teaching about the Earth and the ...

Fundamentals of Sustainability at the University of Arkansas - Emphasizing Institutional Strengths
Stephen Boss, University of Arkansas Main Campus
Stephen K. Boss, Environmental Dynamics, University of Arkansas Main Campus Fundamentals of Sustainability is an interdisciplinary course designed to introduce undergraduate students to basic concepts and theories ...

Questions about application, theory, and engagement with sustainability
Mary Ann Cunningham, Vassar College
Mary Ann Cunningham, Earth Science and Geography, Vassar College The issues that currently puzzle me about teaching sustainability are (1) what seems like a gulf between those who are enthusiastic and those who ...

Teaching Sustainability in a Study Abroad Course
Lori Troxel, Vanderbilt University
Lori Troxel, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt UniversityAs a structural engineering professor I wanted to incorporate more about sustainability in my courses. Because of limited class time, I was ...

Teaching Sustainability: Students & Professors
Bill Stigliani, University of Northern Iowa
Bill Stigliani, Center for Energy & Environmental Education, University of Northern Iowa My approach to teaching an introductory course in sustainability is to help students envision a sustainable future they ...

Integrating sustainability in its social context
Pablo Toral, Beloit College
Pablo Toral, Political Science, Beloit College My course pushes students to integrate the knowledge, methods and skills that they develop in the natural sciences in a broader social context, by considering the ...

The imperative for chemists to teach about sustainability
Scott Cummings, Kenyon College
Scott Cummings, Chemistry, Kenyon CollegeChemistry plays a central role in many of the global and local aspects of sustainability: with problems of continued dependence on fossil fuels, and with the promise of new ...

Demonstrating why sustainability is complex
Cailin Huyck Orr, Washington State University- Pullman
Cailin Huyck Orr, School of the Environment, Washington State University - Pullman Promoting sustainability is complicated and I am not convinced that we always understand how to do it well. This makes teaching ...

Sustainability and Hanford Reach
Tracy Lai, Seattle Community College-Central Campus
Tracy Lai, Humanities/Social Sciences, Seattle Central Community College The struggle over Hanford Reach, the last wild stretch of the Columbia River, is difficult to understand unless we take an interdisciplinary ...

Sustainability in Mining Activity
Stephen Kissin, Lakehead University
Stephen Kissin, Geology, Lakehead University Northwestern Ontario is a vast area underlain by the Canadian Shield that has experienced mining activity for the past century and a half. The area, particularly the ...

Geoscience is by its nature interdisciplinary
David Kobilka, Central Lakes College-Brainerd
David Kobilka, Earth Science, Central Lakes College-Brainerd Geoscience classes, especially those with an environmental component, are by nature interdisciplinary. For example, introductory Oceanography involves ...

Making Sustainability Real
Dan Vaughn, Vincennes University
Daniel Vaughn, Earth Science, Vincennes University I have found in teaching this course (an advanced introductory course open to majors and the non-majors alike), in addition to other classes at VU and other ...

Economics, Sustainability and Teaching Interactive Approach
Nelson Altamirano, National University
Nelson Altamirano, School of Business and Management, National University My discipline is economics and of course I teach microeconomics or macroeconomics most of the time but working at the School of Business ...

Historicizing Water and Development
Abigail Schade, Davidson College
Abigail Schade, History and Environmental Studies, Davidson College As a historian, I hear historical reasoning whether implicit or explicit in many discussions about sustainability and development. Human ...

Sustainability in an Oceanography Course
Katryn Wiese, City College of San Francisco
Katryn Wiese, Earth Sciences, City College of San FranciscoCurrently the primary classes in which I teach about Sustainability are Oceanography, Environmental Geology, and Physical Geology. Oceanography is my ...

Teaching sustainability through project based learning
James Stone, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
James Stone, Civil and Environmental Engineering, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology My approach to teaching sustainability revolves around an interdisciplinary sustainable design senior/graduate level ...

The Waldo Canyon wildfire: A case study of the western urban-wilderness interface
Mari Lee, Colorado College
Mari Titcombe Lee, Environmental Program, Colorado College I feel the need to premise my essay with an acknowledgement - I am a novice when it comes to teaching sustainability in a formal educational setting. My ...