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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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 ...

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 ...

Sustainability: The Key To Student Engagement
Ben Fackler-Adams, Skagit Valley College
Benjamin Fackler-Adams, Physical Sciences, Skagit Valley College As an "Instructor of Interdisciplinary Science" at a community college that teaches numerous interdisciplinary, team-taught learning ...

The Relevance of Place and Sense of Place to Sustainability
Steven Semken, Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus
Steven Semken , School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University In response to sprawl and globalization that challenge integrity of ecosystems and diversity of cultures (i.e., environmental ...

Teaching Sustainability Through History
Derek Larson, Saint Johns University
Derek Larson, Environmental Studies, The College of St. Benedict/St. John's University Our environmental studies department was created 20 years ago with the specific intention of interdisciplinarity in its ...

One economist's approach to interdisciplinary teaching and exploration of sustainability
Morris Coats, Nicholls State University
Morris Coats, Management, Marketing and Business Administration, Nicholls State University "The Theory of Economics does not furnish a body of settled conclusions immediately applicable to policy. It is a ...

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 ...

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, ...

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 ...

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: 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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Demonstrating why sustainability is complex
Cailin Huyck Orr, Carleton College
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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...