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Sustainable Development: Towards Healthy Environments, Economic Strength, and Social Justice

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  1. Sustainable Development: Towards Healthy Environments, Economic Strength, and Social Justice Keith E. Edwards, Macalester College Kathleen G. Kerr, University of Delaware Tools for Social Justice Conference November 13, 2006 Kansas City, MO

  2. Presentation Outline: Overview of Sustainability Social Justice Aspects of Sustainability Individual Leadership Higher Education Leadership Social Justice Education Resources

  3. Sustainable Development Defined: “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.

  4. Triple Bottom Line Social Justice Healthy Environments Strong Economies Sustainable Society Sustainable Development

  5. The United Nations has declared 2005-2014 a Decade of Education for Sustainable Development

  6. 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.”

  7. Global Transition: From Fossil powered Take, make, waste Living off nature’s capital Market as master Loss of cultural & biological diversity Independence Materialism as goal To • Solar powered • Cyclical production • Living off nature’s income • Market as servant • Increased cultural & biological diversity • Interdependence • Human satisfaction goal

  8. Which of these myths do you believe?  Sustainability is mostly about the environment. Sustainability is just another issue, like international studies or computer literacy. Sustainability is secondary to the university's core mission and function. Sustainability will almost always cost the university more money. Sustainability is primarily a scientific and technical problem.

  9. Social Justice Aspects of Sustainable Development Environmental Racism Fair Trade Living Wage Domestic Partnerships Corporate Responsibility Rights of Indigenous Peoples Gender Equity Water Rights • Human Rights • Child Labor Issues • Affirmative Action • Multicultural Competence • Pollution & Farming Practices • Worker’s Rights • Sweatshop Labor • Slavery

  10. Individual Leadership

  11. What can I do as an individual? Develop your own critical consciousness Understand your own identities and how it affects your experiences and interactions. Communicate across difference – develop your multicultural competence Recognize privilege and oppression as they exist and function in societies. Commit to actively working for social change towards more just and equitable societies.

  12. What can I do as an individual? Be a responsible consumer Buy locally grown and produced foods Buy organic foods as much as possible Know and do business with entities whose business practice you can support.

  13. Higher Education Leadership

  14. Potential is Enormous: 4,096 U.S. Colleges and Universities (1) 14.8 million students (1) $277 billion annual expenditures; 2.8% of the GDP (1) HE expenditures > the GDP of all but 25 countries in the world (2) 1 From: 2001 Digest of Education Statistics, US Dept. of Education. 2 From: 2001 CIA World Fact Book and Dowling, Mike., "Interactive Table of World Nations," available from http://www.mrdowling.com/800nations.html; Internet; updated Friday, June 29, 2001

  15. What if higher education were to take a leadership role, as it did in the space race and the war on cancer, in preparing students and providing the information and knowledge to achieve a just and sustainable society? What would higher education look like?

  16. Embracing Education for Sustainable Development Can: • Improve teaching and learning • Prepare students for citizenship and career • Attract students, faculty and funding • Save $ and other resources for the institution and society • Improve the institution’s reputation • Engender cooperation and satisfaction across the institution • Help improve town/gown relationships • Fulfill moral and social responsibility • Improve strategic positioning

  17. Possibilities for Next Steps: • Explicitly recognize and include ESD in the next round of mission definition and strategic planning. • Encourage your strategic planners, purchasing agent, facilities director, student life coordinators, faculty and students to join the national online learning communities dedicated to education for sustainable development. (go to www.aashe.org and click on Email lists) • Include sustainable development core competencies in the next revision of General Education outcome requirements, first year experience, orientation

  18. Possibilities for Next Steps: • Build and renovate facilities using socially and environmentally responsible practices (e.g. LEED and Energy Star) • Purchase socially and environmentally responsible products (e.g. no sweatshop products in the bookstore) (e.g. national initiative from NACS) • Infuse sustainability throughout the disciplines via staff development offerings and faculty engagement strategies • Develop college-community partnerships for sustainable development and use those partnerships for service learning opportunities for students (e.g. Grand Rapids CC and Middlebury)

  19. Possibilities for Next Steps: • Engage in the Campus Climate Challenge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions http://www.campusclimatechallenge.org/ • Help to create economic policies that support stronger economies via the building of healthier ecosystems and social systems (e.g. http://www.paconsortium.state.pa.us/ • Utilize the media to publicize the positive steps your institution takes to both teach and model sustainable development • Systemically incorporate social justice education on your campus

  20. Social Justice Education

  21. Goal: Apathy Responsibility Commitment to working towards a more just and equitable society.Students need to know that their daily decisions affect the quality of life of people around the globe

  22. Social Justice Education • Identify specific learning outcomes for out of class learning opportunities. • Encourage students to explore their identities and communicate across difference. • Examine with students the oppressive systems that have existed and continue to function in society and the harm they do to us all. • Help students develop a libratory consciousness.

  23. Integrating Education for Sustainable Development: Curricula Research Mission and Planning Operations Purchasing Professional Development CommunityOutreach and Partnerships Student Life

  24. Key Places: • Student Life • Residential Living • Infused throughout curricula • First Year Experience • Gen Ed Core • Curricula Review • Community Partnerships • Workforce Development • Mission • Strategic Plan • Budget • Orientation • Campus Map and Signage • Building Policies • Operations and Purchasing Policies

  25. Resources

  26. ACPA’s Presidential Task Force: Resources - FY Pledge; templates for road shows; ideas for orientation and FYE, etc. Professional development - Webpage, e-learning, publications, monograph, pre-conferences, teleconferences and webcasts Collaboration with other national higher education associations on: Rating system Socially and environmentally responsible procurement President’s pledge on climate change Higher Education Climate Action Project Team building on campus at VP and other levels for sustainability Student Learning Outcomes – to guide practice

  27. Student Learning OutcomesACPA’s Sustainability Taskforce, 2006 Each student will be able to define sustainability. Each student will be able to explain how sustainability relates to their lives and their values, and how their actions impact issues of sustainability. Each student will be able to utilize their knowledge of sustainability to change their daily habits and consumer mentality. Each student will be able to explain how systems are interrelated.

  28. Student Learning Outcomes (cont.)ACPA’s Sustainability Taskforce, 2006 Each student will learn change agent skills. Each student will learn how to apply concepts of sustainability to their campus and community by engaging in the challenges and solutions of sustainability on their campus. Each student will learn how to apply concepts of sustainability globally by engaging in the challenges and the solutions of sustainability in a world context.

  29. Strategies: Residence hall programs; FYE and orientation programs; campus speaker series; bulletin boards; service and service learning experiences; curricular and co-curricular collaborations (e.g. general education outcome and infusion throughout the disciplines - first year community reading book); town hall forums; study- and service-abroad experiences; film series; speaker series; media festivals; information in campus media outlets; office of multicultural affairs/diversity programming; curricular and capstone projects, one-on-one conversations with student affairs staff members; programs sponsored by campus faith-based organizations and offices; curricular projects; signage on existing energy efficient/renewable energies buildings/ operations; Residence hall, student organization, fraternity and sorority, and intramural/club sports competitions; personal contracts; community (floor) agreements; health & safety checks with resident feedback; campaign by campus transportation units; sweatshop free bookstores and purchasing policies catalyzed by students; development of educational modules on change agent skills to be distributed for use by educators; involvement in campus leadership positions; town hall forums; conference attendance; problem based learning in curricular and co-curricular settings; attendance at meetings where policy is discussed and decided upon: town and gown, city council, county council, Board of Trustees.

  30. Strategies (cont.): Participation in political campaigns; service and service learning experiences; modify the institution’s and student organizations’ practices, mission statements, and constitutions; utilize student governance structures to request compliance with LEED and other sustainability standards; awareness raising campaigns; letter writing campaign and implementation project for sustainable practices in dining services unit on campus; work with campus facilities/grounds units to assess current practices; work with facilities and business office to create more sustainable operations and standards; organization of community recycling and reduced toxins program; environmental impact statements from Residence Hall Governments and campus student governance groups; “Walk Don’t Ride,” “Do It in the Dark” campaigns; collaboration with campus transportation units; Facebook groups; curricular “change” projects; utilize campus media to carry message; career services center programming and ,counseling; graduation pledges or FYE pledges (currently Graduation Pledge) that are implemented throughout the undergraduate experience; alumni activities; speaker and film series; service and service learning experiences.

  31. Some statistics on activities: • 250 sustainability coordinators/offices/ committees • 275 campus sustainability assessments • 300 LEED (green) Buildings • Greatly increased student activism – 271 campuses for Campus Climate Challenge

  32. Where Do We Go From Here? • Professional Development for campus staff • Upper administration support – memo from all VPs empowering all staff and faculty to help implement sustainability • Presidential support – Tailloire Declaration, AACC resolution, President’s Campus Climate Initiative • Incentive building via budget – use the savings to fund the next projects • Faculty and Staff - Identifying influencers and asking for help • Framing - Connect diversity, global learning, international ed, service learning, economic development, student life and environmental learning constituencies

  33. Professional Development Strategies • Internally: focus on Education for Sustainable Development in higher education staff and faculty • Externally: reach out to professionals (get on the advisory committees and accreditation committees) • Keep asking, “What are your next steps in making education for and practice of sustainability a major goal of your institution? “

  34. Conclusions • The U.S. public is not educated enough about sustainability issues and solutions. • We need sustainability literacy and engagement for ALL. This is no longer optional for a viable future. • Some exciting developments, too many to report, but much more needs to be done. • We can assist you. Share what you do with ACPA and we will share with others via www.heasc.net • Let our enthusiasm show!

  35. Acknowledgement Dr. Debra Rowe dgrowe@oaklandcc.edu President U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development; Co-chair Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium; Senior Fellow University Leaders for a Sustainable Future; Professor, Alternate Energies and Behavioral Sciences Oakland Community College.

  36. Keith E. Edwards kedward2@macalester.edu Kathleen Kerr kkerr@udel.edu ACPA Task Force on Sustainability http://www.myacpa.org/task%2Dforce/sustainability/ For More Information