As I mentioned last week, NWEI was featured twice this Spring in the Journal of Sustainability Education.  This week we’ll hear from Mike Shriberg, Ph.D., who is Education Director at the Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute and Lecturer in the Program in the Environment at the University of Michigan.  He wrote the following reflections on using NWEI’s Choices for Sustainable Living discussion guide in the classroom.  For the complete piece, click here.

“In the class, “Sustainability & the Campus,” my students focus on organizational change, environmental management and the substantial institutional changes that are required for a university to lead the way toward a more sustainable future…In teaching this class for more than a decade at three different institutions, I have experimented with many readings or texts but nothing seemed to align with the unique, hands-on, and intellectually challenging approach of the course.  Two years ago, I started utilizing the Northwest Earth Institute’s (NWEI) Choices for Sustainable Living discussion guide and the resulting conversations and analysis have been remarkable…

…I use the Choices for Sustainable Living course book to introduce the concept and application of sustainability. It provides the backbone for sustainable thinking through bite-sized readings from leading thinkers and practitioners. The content and format directly hits the key challenges we face in a world of rapidly declining environmental, social and economic capital.  More importantly, the text provides reasons for hope, optimism and action.

Students are not only tasked with completing the readings, but also coming to class prepared to enter into dialogue and discussion with one another since each discussion guide includes relevant questions for reflection.  The questions included are aimed not only at fostering an intellectual understanding of the author’s perspectives, but also at encouraging inquiry and reflection on the part of each student, particularly around how the issues of sustainability interface with daily campus life and personal decision-making processes.  If the aim of sustainability education is only for students to grasp concepts, perhaps we as higher education institutions are succeeding.  If our aim is to engender a deeper, systemic understanding of sustainability where concepts are not only grasped intellectually, but also translated into action and a more responsible type of citizenship, we must find resources that match up to this challenge…”

To read the rest of Mike’s piece, click here.

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