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Sustainability Essays


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Education for Sustainability
Jon Jensen, Luther College
How can I be a better teacher? How can I make my community and the world a better place through my work? Perhaps I am hopelessly idealistic but I believe that all of my colleagues in education share the goals embodied in these two questions. At one level they are simple questions, reflecting desires to do good work and to make a difference. But anyone who has spent much time in the classroom knows that the answers are rarely simple and the work involved in answering these questions is never complete.

Sustainability at Carleton
Aaron Swoboda, Carleton College Download essay as PDF (Acrobat (PDF) 39kB Jun8 10) The largest problem that confronts us as we try to take steps to make ourselves, our society, our cities, and our lifestyle more ...

Sustainability at Beloit - Chemistry
Brock Spencer, Beloit College
My academic generation grew up with issues of population, resources, and the environment, which strongly influenced my developing interdisciplinary interests. Within my discipline, my physical chemistry course included a detour into entropy as applied to resources and the economic process, while our NSF-funded ChemLinks project produced topical modules that make it possible to build a general chemistry course around themes like global climate change, air pollution, acid rain, energy-efficient lighting, and fats in our diet. As we developed our program of First Year Seminars, mine dealt with food or water on a personal to global scale. My early courses for what eventually became an interdisciplinary Environmental Studies Major included The Challenge of Global Change and Science and Environmental Policy.

Sustainability in the Art Building
Kate Martinson, Luther College
Artists are the makers of things. We create these for ourselves or in reaction to exterior forces ranging from such things as economic necessity of the artist to political ideology to fashion. Teaching artists create not only things, but also create the intentional environment in which students can understand what visual art is, what it ought to be and how individuals can participate in it. The myth of the ' lone artist in the garret' encourages society to think of artists as having little interest in sustainability other than in a personal means of survival. However, sustainability is increasingly finding, and in many cases re-establishing, a place in studio, workshop and classroom. Teaching artists are finding that topics of and work with sustainability is 'invading' our space in higher education.

Sustainability at Coe College - Chemistry
Marty St. Clair, Coe College
In a sense, my interest in sustainability began as I worked with my father on a small farm in northern Indiana. While our operation was not particularly "green", my father's efforts were often focused on taking care of the land that he farmed. As an undergraduate, my focus on issues related to sustainability was honed by faculty who taught courses in a broadly based environmental studies program at Butler University. Professor Dick Miller showed me the complexity and rigor of the study of ecology, as well as introducing me to the complex issues of the time: energy, acid rain, water quality, and toxic wastes. Perhaps most importantly, he also introduced me to the work of Aldo Leopold, whose work has shaped my thinking on environmental issues since that time.

Sustainability in Psychology at Coe College
Jennifer Lee, Coe College
Does your college have a sustainability program? If so, does the program have a web presence?

Teaching Sustainability in the Humanities classroom?
Anne-Marine Feat, Luther College
As the daughter of a French government official specializing in environmental issues, I grew up repeatedly hearing about "le développement durable" (French for sustainability) and our individual responsibility as stewards of this world. This childhood influence followed me to this day and I still recycle, use a reusable mug for my tea and spend far too much time and money finding the ultimate shower head that doesn't drain our water supplies while still providing a "spa-like experience". In a word, I really believe in sustainability. That is, at least in my personal life.

Sustainability and Latin American Literature: Initial Thoughts
Nancy Gates-Madsen, Luther College
I have very little experience or expertise related to sustainability, so this essay serves more as an outline of some initial thoughts on what I hope and plan to do, rather than a description of what I have already done. As a teacher of Spanish language and Latin American literature (mainly related to the legacies of authoritarianism), I haven't had much opportunity to incorporate sustainability into my teaching (aside from the lone chapter dedicated to "el medio ambiente" (the environment) in our current language textbook). However, teaching the "Corn" section of Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma started me thinking about how I might incorporate issues of sustainability into an upper level Latin American literature seminar. Many Luther students combine a Spanish major or minor with areas of study in the sciences or environmental studies, and I hope my participation in this workshop will help me develop a strong course offering that will help students think about issues of sustainability from a literary and cultural perspective.

Public Education and a Responsible Sustainability Disposition
Sonja Darlington, Beloit College
In the summer 2009 Harvard Educational Review (HER), an issue in which 47 educational experts debated the potential of the Obama presidency to affect education in dramatically new ways, critic Henry Giroux pointed out that Obama and his instrumentalist view of education tended to gloss over philosophers such as Horace Mann, John Dewey, W.E. B. Dubois, and Jane Addams, "who valued education as a preeminent force for preparing young people to be socially responsible, critically engaged citizens in a democratic society" (258). Yet, Giroux, like other educational experts, in the volume including Linda Darling-Hammond, overlooked what a growing number of concerned citizens believe is public education's most pressing need: to educate American young people to live in ways that contribute to earth's sustainability. Among the topics that the experts addressed were urban school reform, integration of "non-white" communities, and the high rte of child poverty. Yet, the issue that will affect all learners, whether publically or privately educated, is whether a future will exist for the coming generations and if so for how long. If the predictions of thinkers, such as Jared Diamond and Joseph Tainter for a societal collapse, due to increasing complexities with economic, political and social systems, are to be taken seriously, as many believe, then the need for environmental education ought to be part of public education and every single teacher's curriculum, whether implicit or explicit.

Sustainability at Coe College - Business and Economics
David Hayes, Coe College Download essay as PDF (Acrobat (PDF) 8kB Jun7 10) Being tardy with my essay submission affords me the ability to piggyback on the work of my colleagues. Coe's current effort in terms ...

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