Education and Actions for a Sustainable World
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Education and Actions for a Sustainable World . Debra Rowe President. [email protected] Professor Renewable Energies Technologies and Psychology U.S. Designee World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics Sustainability Group Co-coordinator

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Debra RowePresident

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[email protected]

ProfessorRenewable Energies Technologies and Psychology

U.S. Designee

World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics Sustainability Group


Higher Education Associations’ Sustainability Consortium


Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability

Senior Advisor

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education

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Today’s Topics

  • Part I What is Education for a Sustainable World?

  • Part II National Trends in the U.S.

  • Part III Examples, Resources and Opportunities for You

  • Part V Conclusions

Sustainable development is often defined as l.jpg

“meeting the needs of the present

without compromising the ability of

future generations to

meet their own needs”

World Commission on Env. and Development. (1987). Our Common Future. England: Oxford University Press.

Sustainable Development is often defined as:

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Education for a Sustainable Society:“enables people to develop the knowledge, values and skills to participate in decisions …, that will improve the quality of life now without damaging the planet for the future.”

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The Three Components of Sustainable Development

What Businesses call “The Triple Bottom Line”









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Sustainable Communities

Public Choices and


Applied Knowledge/ Technological

Skills/ Values

Private Choices and


Sustainable Economies



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Why Sustainability Now?

We are the first generation capable of determining the habitability of the planet for humans and other species.

The typical general core requirements and the typical curricula are crucially inappropriate

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Global Perspective

life supporting resources


consumption of

life supporting resources


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Climate change = = Civilization Disruption

Disruption of food production and the food chain

More extreme weather events

Disruptions of ecosystems, including water supplies

Spread of disease e.g. West Nile, Malaria

Submersion of land masses –

was 1 to 4 foot sea level rise - now up to 48 feet

50% of world’s population lives on the coasts

Sources: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, EPA

In addition to climate change, according to the

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment,

all ecosystems are stressed and threatened.

Effects in Our Lifetime

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Why is EFS so Important?

  • Public unaware that we are exceeding the carrying capacity of the planet. The U.S. has approximately 5% of the world’s population and is consuming 25% of the world’s resources. Here, high per capita emissions.

  • Public unaware that we can build stronger economies that will produce high quality of life and reduce human suffering, environmental degradation and social injustice now.

  • A rapid shift in mindset is needed andeducation to action is the key. SHIFT CULTURE AND LEGISLATION

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Part II National Trends

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U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development:

Convene, Catalyze and Communicate

Sector Teams: Business, Higher Education, K-12, Communities, Faith, Youth…

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The United Nations Development:Decade of Education for Sustainable DevelopmentLeverage for action!

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Business principles of sustainability: Development:

  • Cradle to Cradle (McDonough)

  • Biomimicry (Benyas – Like nature, efficient and not toxic)

  • World Business Council for Sustainable Development (

  • Natural Step (Sweden and U.S.)

  • Natural Capitalism (Lovins, Harvard Business Review)

  • Ethical Markets – Hazel Henderson

  • Mid-Course Correction – Ray Anderson

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Trends and resources in sectors – some examples Development:

  • Business – Corporate Statement calling for Sustainability literacy and solutions, CERES, Shareholders, Investors (e.g. Goldman Sachs), Response to European Union laws

  • Communities - Mayors Climate Protection and Smart Growth, Grand Rapids – regional approach

  • K-12 – Nat. Assoc. of Independent Schools, Summit, standards, U.S. Partnership resources

  • Faith - National Religious Partnership and Interfaith Alliance, Regeneration Project

  • Youth – Climate Challenge, Reduce Your Impact, Action Campaigns, Driver…

  • Frame – take action or be left behind

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Legislation Development:







Professional Development

For education, Sustainable Development integrated into:

Mission and



Student Life




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The Initiative Development:

Signed by over 600 presidents & chancellors in all 50 states


model climate neutrality for society

contribute research

educate and engage students to solve climate crisis and address sustainability challenges

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ACE–Am. Council on Ed. Development:

AASCU – State Colleges and Universities

AACC – Am. Ass. of Community Colleges

AAC&U – Assoc. of American Colleges and Universities


Governing Boards

6. ACUHO-I - Housing


Educational Buyers


Facilities Officers


Business Officers

10. SCUP – College and University Planners

11. ACUI – Student Unions

12. ACPA – Student Affairs

13. NACA –

Campus Activities

14. NACS – Campus Stores


GREAT NEWS!!! We’ve created a National Trend in higher education

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Governance & Management Development:Presidents & Trustees & Regulators

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Student Affairs Development:

ACPA main sustainability page, student flyer, primer, list of possible campus activities, and chart of learning outcomes!

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Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium – – resource center

  • Sustainability is part of everyone’s job!

  • Shared professional development,

  • Shared publications,

  • Sustainable practices/policies,

  • Informing the public about higher education’s commitment to sustainability.

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American Psychological Association Development:







Engineering (civil, mechanical, eng. ed.)

Career and technical education

Ecological Economics



American Association for the Advancement of Science

Computer Research


Women’s Studies

Political Science



Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability –

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Infusing sustainability skills and principles into: Development:

  • Curricula for all programs and areas

  • Promotion and tenure and accreditation

  • Informing legislation

  • Informing the public

  • Cross-disciplinary approaches

  • Funding

  • Professional identity as an academic

    Very exciting – tell your faculty!

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The media is coming to us Development:

  • Time/CNN;

  • Newsweek;

  • Washington Post;

  • New York Times;

  • MTV;

  • HE publications;

  • Science Magazine.

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Lessons Learned society.Build on the Trend

  • Point to the innovators and share the emerging trend.

  • Provide the “obedient middles” with resources to act.

  • Build toward the critical mass. Be inclusive.

  • Tell stories of people making a difference.

  • Learn together. Keep asking questions.

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Key Phrases to get Participation society.

  • “You have unique and important contributions to make to help create a sustainable future. We can’t imagine doing this without you!”

  • “We have all these resources for you.”

  • “How can we help you with your sustainability initiatives?”

  • Follow up and nurture them.

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Important Steps to society.Shift SocietyThree major initiatives:

1. Collaborative Media Project

2. Legislation for Sustainability

3. Real World Problem Solving for Sustainability

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President Obama: society.$500 million for green jobs training Climate Change: U.S. can’t have watered down legislation; possibly 1% for education = billions from auctioned creditsSenators eliminated funding for energy efficient retrofits in education and federal buildings.We are engaged, but not enough, in educating legislators about legislation for sustainability


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Building self-concepts in staff and students: society.You can help change society!!Imagine students and staff literate in the real world sustainability challenges and engaged in the solutionsProvide the models and opportunities for practicing the changing of behaviors and policies

Www playagreaterpart org l.jpg society.

Imagine a country where all college students get involved in helping to solve our societal problems through their academic assignments and residential/student activities.

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For Learning Outcomes: society.


Change agent Skills

No more armchair pontificators

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Change Agent Skills society.

  • Resilient

  • Optimistic

  • Tenacious

  • Committed

  • Assertive

  • Cope effectively with change

  • Emotionally intelligent

  • Persuasive

  • Empathetic

  • Coalition builder

  • Mediate and resolve conflicts

  • Challenge the status quo effectively when appropriate

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Resources Used You

  • AASHE Bulletin (weekly, free)

  • AASHE Digest 2007 (annual digest of news stories by topic) –

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Sustainability in Mission, Planning, Guiding Documents & Reports

  • In Vision, Values, or Mission Statement

    • Ex: Lane CC – core value

    • Ex: Warren Wilson – mission statement

    • City College of San Francisco - trustees resolution

  • In Institution’s Strategic Plan (35+)

  • In Residential Curricula

  • In Campus Master Plan (40+)

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Sustainability in Guiding Documents & Reports Reports(continued)

  • Sustainability Plan or Report

  • Policies (Sustainability in Procurement, Investment, Energy, Building, and Job Descriptions, etc.)

    • Ex: Western Carolina U - energy conservation

    • Ex: Houston CC – green procurement

    • Ex: Duke – socially responsible investing

    • Ex: Cornell and ASU – job descriptions

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Sustainability in Guiding Documents & Reports Reports(continued)

  • Sustainability Assessments

    • Frameworks for Assessment – AASHE STARS

  • Websites (260+)

    • AASHE design guidelines

    • New sites in 2005-2006 - CSU Chico, Broward CC, Duke, Colorado State…

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Sustainability Staff & Structure Reports

  • Committee, Task Force

  • Reports at a high level

  • Put into all job descriptions and annual reviews

  • Sustainability Offices

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Awards, Recognition, Celebration Reports

  • Campus Sustainability Day (CSD) – Oct 24

    • CSD in fall; Earth Day in spring

  • Campus Theme for Year (or Month)

    • Ex: St. Olaf College (2005-6)

    • Ex: Willamette U – Sustainability Month

  • Internal Awards & Recognition

  • External Awards

    • AASHE Leadership Awards

    • State & local awards

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Green Buildings Reports

  • Green Building Policies (70+)

    New and Remodeled Buildings and community planning

  • Good visuals for the media

  • Use permanent signage to educate students and society!

  • Labs – University of California, Santa Barbara, useful website

  • LEED – and also net zero and ecologically restorative

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Sustainable Dining Reports

  • Farm-to-Cafeteria Movement (400+ campuses)

  • Sustainable Dining Initiatives- sculpture from food waste

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Fuel & Energy – all good visuals for media Reports

  • Biofueled Fleets

  • Renewable Energy & Energy Conservation – still need policy shifts on the state and national level

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Opportunities to engage the faculty and students Reports

  • Carbon neutral events

  • Paint the new coastline

  • Community Film Series

  • Sustainability Living Campaigns

  • Sustainable Future Fair – great model for reticent faculty

  • 3 pages of possibilities at

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Pledges & Declarations Reports

Pledges, Targets, Resolutions

  • Freshman and Graduation Pledges - social and environmental responsibility –

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Curricular Initiatives Reports

  • In Curricular Core for all degrees


  • Infused Throughout Curriculum

  • Textbook Revisions to Include Sustainability

  • Programs, Degrees, Institutes, Centers

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Curricular Initiatives - Green Jobs ReportsStart your own programs using the below

  • – Consortium for Education for Renewable Energies Technologies

  • Sustainability Resources page at the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics

  • – program listings

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Entry Portals for Faculty Reports

  • First Year Experience

  • Sustainability Teaching Fellows outreaching to their peers

  • Interdisciplinary models

  • Teaching Learning Center Offerings

  • Multiple Ah-Ha Speakers and Workshops

  • Train the trainer workshops

  • One day catalyzing experiences for faculty, VPs, staff and others;

  • Acknowledge it in the course schedules

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Local Professional Development Offerings You can Use Reports

1. “Campus Sustainability Catalyzing Days”: Targeted Meetings plus Faculty/Staff Development

2. Capturing the Shifting Campus Culture on Video to Promote More Positive Change

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First Year Common Reading Reports

Lester Brown

Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization

Downloadable from

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You are contributing to the following goal:

Staff, students and others know how to and choose to be more environmentally, socially and economically responsible and shift the systems.

Where? In the personal, business, community and governmental spheres.

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Possibilities Reports

  • All of us engaged as effective change agents and systems thinkers for sustainability

  • From apathy caring involvement.

  • Know that our daily decisions affect the quality of life of people around the globe.

  • Culture of sustainability – on campus, in our communities

  • Create appropriate policies

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Be a Change Agent to make Sustainability the Norm Reports

  • Build coalitions from interests across departments – diversity, global education, funding for higher education, distinct competitive advantage

  • Be strategic - Count your votes before the meeting

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Provide Opportunities and Tell the Stories Reports

Ex. – UNC ICARE, Fair Trade, Campus Climate Challenge, Issues Campaigns, Sustainable Living, Campus Ecology- NWF, Student Green Fees, Divestment (ex: Sudan), Nike (tell the stories to shape self-concepts)

Work with residential life: Each student participating in a campaign as a freshman, and then organizing a campaign.

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Curricular Initiatives Reports(continued)

ESD is a guiding principle in the European Union.

A requirement for all graduates in Sweden.

We want to learn from all of you!

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World Federation of College and Polytechnics

  • Click on Affinity Groups at the top

  • Resources – view and also share yours

  • Listserv – international sharing

  • Policy committee

  • More!!

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November, 2008 AASHE conference, 2,000+ in attendance – Raleigh, NC

Subscribe to the free AASHE weekly bulletin and listservs!

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Why should you/others do this? Reports

  • Worried about the future? Reduce anxiety and hopelessness. Less stress!

  • Feel even more excited and revitalized by your work? Feel better!

  • Can integrate sustainability actions into any job!

  • Do it and have a great legacy!

  • The world and our children are watching. You are positioned to make a difference.

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If you feel overwhelmed or unsure, don’t give up!! Reports

Doing nothing is a destructive decision!

There are people you can talk to about how to create success.

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Conclusions Reports

1. The human population is not educated enough about sustainability issues and solutions.

  • We need sustainability literacy and engagement in solutions for ALL. We all need knowledge and skills to change consumption, investment and civic behaviors and policies.

  • You are in a unique position to help change the systems. You can use national and international trends and resources.

  • Let’s learn from and encourage each other.

  • Join the World Federation sustainability group and listserv!

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The Power of What You Do Reports

We can choose a sustainable future

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Congratulations on all you have already done. ReportsCongratulations on what you will do next!!!!!

Let your enthusiasm show!

Debra [email protected]