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Taking Sustainability to the Outer Limits. Perspectives of Sustainability as Identified by Students at the College of Menominee Nation William Van Lopik , PhD AASHE 2011 Conference Pittsburgh, PA. The Menominee Nation. Located in Northeast Wisconsin 358 miles ² or 235,000 acres

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taking sustainability to the outer limits

Taking Sustainability to the Outer Limits

Perspectives of Sustainability as Identified by Students at the College of Menominee Nation

William Van Lopik, PhD

AASHE 2011 Conference

Pittsburgh, PA.

the menominee nation

The Menominee Nation

Located in Northeast Wisconsin

358 miles² or 235,000 acres

pop 4,562

128 lakes and 4 rivers, (Wolf River)


the distinctiveness of the forest can be seen from space in contrast to surrounding farmland
The distinctiveness of the Forest can be seen from space in contrast to surrounding farmland

GLCF, LandSat ETM+, Path 24R29, True color

A 2-Year Tribal College where sustainable development is integrated into the curriculum and operations.
demographics of the college
Demographics of the College
  • Total graduates 659
  • Average age at graduation 33
  • Alumni ethnicity 72% Native, 28% non-Native
  • Top degree choices – Business, Nursing, Education
  • Gender of graduates – 26% male, 74% female

Sustainable Development Institute

Theoretical Model

Interactive Dynamic Dimensions

Upon which Sustainable

Development Depends



Land and Sovereignty

Natural Environment




Human Perception, Activity & Behavior

course content of introduction to sustainable development
Course Content of Introduction to Sustainable Development
  • Part 1: Human Behavior, perception and attitudes Population scales and monitoring
  • Demographic distribution
  • Population growth patterns
  • Economic inequities
  • Part II: Land and sovereignty Indigenous land rights

Human rights

Resource extraction


  • Part III: Technology Appropriate and alternative technologies
  • Renewable energy
  • Globalization of communication technologies
  • Part IV: Institutional development and sustainability Non-profit institutions
  • Funding sources
  • Social Activism
  • Part V: Natural Environment Global environmental threats
  • Global Climate Change
  • Permaculture
  • Part VI: Economics Triple bottom-line accounting
  • Green economies
  • Business ethics
  • Sustainable career options
environmental sustainability
Environmental Sustainability
  • Environmental Toxins and their threat to humans
  • Herbicide use on Menominee Forest
  • Invasive species
  • Reintroduction of the Gray Wolf
  • Colony collapse of honey bees
  • Water quality issues
  • Destructive mining practices
solid waste management recycling
Solid Waste Management/Recycling
  • Recycling e-waste
  • Recycling shoes
  • Starting a clothing exchange project
  • Recycling paper
  • Diaper alternatives
  • Unsustainability of nuclear repositories
  • History of landfills
  • Enforcing recycling policies
  • Littering
  • Packaging
  • Sustainable art – art from discarded materials
sustainability and native issues
Sustainability and Native Issues
  • Native American Land Rights
  • Indian Gaming and Tribal Sovereignty
  • Sustaining Native Culture*
  • Crandon Mine story
  • Tribal initiatives for sustainability
  • Government policy threats against tribal sovereignty
  • Native American confederacy
sustainability and social work
Sustainability and Social Work
  • Psychology and sustainable development*
  • Using the Trans-theoretical Model of human change from the field of substance abuse counseling as a way to confront a climate change denier.
  • The way we treat ourselves is how we treat nature
  • Empowering people to change
  • Sustainable gardening
  • Vegetarianism
  • Organic/Sustainable Farming
  • Food and ADHD/ADD
  • Eating locally produced food

Household Cleaning Products

  • Proper disposal of products
  • Effects of products on the environment
  • Procurement methods
oneida sustainability
Oneida Sustainability
  • Oneida Seven Generations Corporation*
  • Oneida Community Integrated Food Systems
  • Environmental restoration on the reservation
  • Oneida tribal values that promote sustainability
  • Three sisters’ planting
  • Role of casino in maintaining tribal sustainability
menominee sustainability
Menominee Sustainability
  • Forest Management
  • Menominee history of sustainability
  • Menominee Tribal Enterprise
  • Wild Rice
  • Sustaining people through culture and wellness
  • Carbon sequestration as income generation
  • Sustainability through Menominee eyes
  • Ingrid Washinawatok – Menominee martyr for indigenous rights in Colombia
  • Menominee wisdom of the forest
  • Termination and its effect on sustainability
sustainable technology
Sustainable Technology
  • Vermiculture and composting
  • Designing with Hemp
  • Designing a grey water system
  • Rainwater harvesting


  • Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People
  • Human rights and mining for oil
  • Ken Saro-Wiwa’s fight for indigenous rights
  • Oil mining, poverty and environmental degradation
social sustainability
Social Sustainability
  • Threats to the rainforest and the indigenous people who live there
  • Homelessness
  • Threats to oceans
  • Conflict gems
  • Poverty
  • Domestic abuse and its threat to a sustainable society*
  • Unsustainability of consumerism
  • Maintaining water quality in water parks
  • Human rights and sustainability
non profits and sustainability
Non-Profits and Sustainability
  • Some students choose to explore more deeply the work of these organizations such as: CARE, Doctors without Borders, Defenders of Wildlife, Green For All, SERRV Int’l, American Forests, and the Center for Health, Environment and Justice

Alternative and Renewable Energy

  • Fusion gasification
  • Methane gas as a renewable source
  • Appropriate renewables for Wisconsin
  • Alternative transportation fuels
  • Biomass
  • Identify alternative energies
climate change
Climate Change
  • Indigenous Perspectives from Elders
  • Carbon Sequestration strategies
  • How to talk about it with children
  • Mitigation Strategies
  • Effects on Wildlife
  • Policy Debates at international and national level.

Green Building

  • Green architecture
  • Earth-Sheltered houses
  • Green housing development in Indian Country
  • LEED certification and energy efficiency
  • Sustainable building materials
sustainability and nursing
Sustainability and Nursing
  • Sustainability in nursing homes
  • Managing medical waste
  • Usages of the placenta
  • Disposal of pharmacuticals and contamination of the water supply
  • Nurses as sustainability change agents
  • Nursing shortages in Africa as a threat to healthcare.
  • Recycling medical supplies
  • Greening hospital facilities
  • Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E.org)
sustainable business
Sustainable Business*
  • Green efforts in transportation freight industry
  • Greening a grocery store
  • Sustainability and the cosmetic industry
  • Organic and sustainable breweries
  • Fair trade products (coffee, chocolates, clothes)
  • Greening of the military “Green Hawks”
  • Socially responsible investments
  • Green burials
  • Sustainable Wal-mart (pros and cons)
  • Starting a green auto repair shop
  • “Greening” a golf course
  • Hotel maintenance and sustainability
  • Environmentally friendly diapers
sustainability in the home
Sustainability in the Home
  • Creating a sustainable home
  • Changing the way I live
  • Working with my family on practicing sustainability in our home
  • Leading by example
  • Choosing a career path that supports sustainability

Green Restaurants

  • Green initiatives by McDonalds
  • Creating a sustainable bar and grill
  • Sustainability and restaurant operations
  • Knowing where the food comes from
education for sustainability
Education for Sustainability
  • Teaching sustainability to pre-schoolers
  • Classroom activities to promote sustainability*
  • Creating a sustainable classroom
  • Examples of “green” schools
  • Creating sustainable head-start programs
  • Energy savings in day-care center
  • Using art and play to promote classroom sustainability
what does this teach us
What does this teach us?

Students embrace the concepts of sustainable

development when they realize their place in the world and that their actions can have a profound negative or positive influence


Menominee elder – Everything we have comes from Mother Earth – from the air we breathe to the food we eat – and we need to honor her for that. In treating the forest well, we honor Mother Earth