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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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Sustainability, Collaboration and Complexity Science
John Motloch, Ball State University
John Motloch, Landscape Architecture & Land Design Institute, Ball State University We are living in an exciting, unprecedented time, when the world within the mind (of an individual or culture) and the world ...

Productive sustainability discourse through insisting on diverse perspectives
Hitesh Soneji, City College of San Francisco
Hitesh Soneji, Engineering and Technology, City College of San Francisco Perhaps the most important step in making a course interdisciplinary is to attract students with a variety of interests and disciplines ...

Service Learning in Interdisciplinary Courses
Maureen Padden, McMaster University
Maureen Padden, School of Geography Earth Sciences, McMaster University I began to teach sustainability when I started my present position at McMaster University. Because I was moving from a different province, ...

Value of Co-Teaching, Project-Based Learning, and Common Communication for Teaching Sustainability to an Interdisciplinary Class
Steven Burian, University of Utah
Steve Burian, Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Utah Teaching sustainability to students from different disciplines requires new approaches to course planning, lesson planning, pedagogy, student ...

Sustainability: Teaching for a Moving Target
Julie Maxson, Metropolitan State University
Julie Maxson, Natural Sciences, Metropolitan State University "You ever wonder what global warming is going to look like? In its early stages, exactly like this."Bill McKibben on the recent Colorado ...

Feeding the World - Teaching Sustainability in a Plant Biology Course
Susan Singer, Carleton College
Susan Singer, Biology, Carleton College Plant Biology at Carleton is designed to introduce students to the basic concepts of plant anatomy, morphology, evolution, biochemistry, physiology, and development in the ...

Sustainability and Understanding Time
Mary Savina, Carleton College
Mary Savina, Geology, Carleton College When I'm talking with students in geology courses about sustainability, I don't use the word much. As one of my colleagues, Aaron Swoboda, puts it, we know ...

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 ...

How Should We Teach 'Sustainability Science'?
Tracey Holloway, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Tracey Holloway, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison My main motivation for teaching sustainability is to promote solutions-oriented thinking about environmental challenges. ...

Sustainability in an Oceanography Course
Katryn Wiese, City College of San Francisco
Katryn Wiese, Earth Sciences, City College of San Francisco Currently 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 ...

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 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 ...

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 College Chemistry 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 ...

Teaching Sustainability in a Study Abroad Course
Lori Troxel, Vanderbilt University
Lori Troxel, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt University As 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 ...

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 ...

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