The Public Appeal of Sustainability Education

The Public Appeal of Sustainability Education

by Lisa Bennett

On Wisconsin Public Radio recently for a one-hour program about our book, Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability (Watershed Media/U.C. Press, 2009). Unlike most of the shows we’ve done since this book came out, this one was a call-in. And the remarkable thing, the inspiring thing, the I’m-so-thrilled-this-is-happening thing was that the people who called in to express their interest and even their passion about this subject came from so many walks of life.

There was Daryl, a retired air conditioning contractor from Bloomington, Indiana. Steve from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, who was working with his local school to get students out sailing because he thought that the experience would help them cut through what he called “all the pro-consumption propaganda.” And Kay, who for 40 years has lived without electricity in her small country house and now gathers her grandchildren there to give them a firsthand experience of sustainable living.

Each of these people was embracing sustainability in his or her own life—and immediately grasped the need for our K-12 schools to educate young people for sustainable living. That, it seems to me, is what genuine movements are made of.

What do you think?



2 comments posted

Thanks, Joe!

Submitted by lisa on Fri, 2010-01-22 11:44.

I always find it inspiring to remember how much we all have in common.

I think this is exactly

Submitted by Joe Henderson (not verified) on Fri, 2010-01-22 06:56.

I think this is exactly right. One of the things I love about researching sustainability education is that there are so many different access points. It applies to pretty much everything we do, all the time. With the growing disconnection between humans and nature, I think we can appeal to that innate natural sense of belonging in people...biophilia in the E.O. Wilson sense. I've done it as a wilderness educator, and my gut tells me that we are hard wired to think and act this way. Now, how does this translate to schooling? We have a long way to go...

By the way, just discovered the blog on the new website. Keep up the good work.

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