Tag Archives: teaching sustainability

Wamsler et al. (2021)’s literature review on “Linking internal and external transformation for sustainability and climate action”, and “Inner Development Goals”

Especially when it comes to teaching about climate change or sustainability more generally, it seems unavoidable to really consider mental states. While the dominant discourse around climate change has been about external, biophysical factors for a long time, and climate change was thus seen as a challenge that can be solved by technology and policy changes and does not require any other real changes from us, this view is currently changing towards one that considers internal “mental states”. The climate crisis is then a human relationship problem that cannot be separated from other crises like hunger, poverty, or the covid-19 pandemic, and that is inadvertently caused by internal issues like racism, injustice, consumerism. So fixing the climate crisis requires changes in the way we all think about the world and live our lives: We need to reconsider our values, beliefs and worldviews in order to change the way we act.

Wamsler et al. (2021) review the literature to develop an integrated model of change that explains the interaction of internal and external changes for sustainability.

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More “head, hands, and heart” in sustainability education, this time by Öhman & Sund (2021)

Talking about sustainability teaching, one model that seems to resonate with many teachers I speak with is the “Head, hands, heart” model by Sipos et al. (2008). I came across basically the same thing now in an article by Öhman & Sund (2021) as a model for sustainability commitment.

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Thinking about emotions and teaching about sustainability

In communicating about climate change specifically, and other sustainability challenges, there is often the debate around how to kickstart people into action. Paint the doom-and-gloom (i.e. realistic) picture so people will act out of fear (and I just recently wrote about how anger can be a constructive emotion leading to action), or draw more positive pictures so they feel hopeful and that they can make a difference, and therefore don’t get paralyzed?

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Breathing practice: Where freediving and academic development collide

I recently wrote a lot about the emotions that we experience when really thinking about sustainability and the challenges that we face when we take it seriously (e.g. here), and of course experiencing negative emotions like feeling anxious or hopeless or angry is not only happening to our students, but also to us. I attended a seminar on “the sustainable teacher” yesterday and one suggestion that came out of that in order to help us work towards “inner sustainability”, was to include mindfulness meditation practices in our own and our students’ lives. And this reminded me of an article I recently read on breathing practice (which I find interesting from a completely different perspective, being a hobby freediver) in comparison to mindfulness meditation, where it turns out that breathing practice can be as effective or better than mindfulness meditation. So what if we included breathing practices in our teaching?

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From “education for sustainable development” to “education for the end of the world as we know it” (reflecting on Stein et al., 2022)

A lot of things are happening around teaching sustainability at LU right now! As I am planning the second iteration of my “teaching sustainability” course, I am reading more about what we actually mean by “teaching sustainability”. It is clear that this is not a good title for my course, but we haven’t come up with a better one yet, and I think me struggling with finding a good name is a symptom of me struggling with what the essence of that course is. I don’t want my course “just” to be about how to teach about the SDGs or problems or solutions, it needs to be bigger than that. But then how to make sure there is still a clear focus?

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Four misunderstandings about sustainability (after Block & Paredis, 2019)

One thing I find irritating in many conversations around how to teach about sustainability is that they tend to get hung up on what “sustainability” actually means. So I got pretty excited when I found this article by Block & Paredis (2019), arguing for actually not needing a “waterproof and objective definition” of sustainability; on the contrary, I think their way of talking about sustainability is actually much more useful in teaching. My summary below.

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Currently reading: “Hope dies, action begins?” The role of hope for proactive sustainability engagement among university students. (Vandaele & Stålhammar, 2022)

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve talked to many people that are in one way or other involved in teaching about sustainability at high school or university level. One thing that has struck me is how many seem to be teaching about sustainability without actually believing that we can and will “fix” the big issues like climate, biodiversity, hunger, wars. And while I don’t have a solution to them either, I found it so disheartening to see all these teachers that talk to so many young people and that seem to have no hope for the future. Surely this cannot be the way to do things. If they don’t see the point of changing things because we are all doomed anyway, how will they support their students to develop skills and strategies to deal with all the big challenges they will be faced with?

This is where the article I’m summing up below comes in:

“Hope dies, action begins?” The role of hope for proactive sustainability engagement among university students. (Vandaele & Stålhammar, 2022)

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Currently reading: Inspiring Action, Efficacy, and Connection: Weaving Sustainability into Environmental Science Curriculum through a Connected Learning Model (Bertossi & Halliwell, 2020)

Yesterday, in our “collegial project course: teaching sustainability”, I showed two models of how one might approach thinking about teaching sustainability, and here is another one that I quite like, from the article

Inspiring Action, Efficacy, and Connection: Weaving Sustainability into Environmental Science Curriculum through a Connected Learning Model (Bertossi & Halliwell, 2020)

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