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Table of Contents

147 Practical Tips for Teaching Sustainability:
Connecting the Environment, the Economy, and Society

by William M. Timpson, Brian Dunbar, Gailmarie Kimmel, Brett Bruyere, Peter Newman, and Hillary Mizia

Foreword by
David Orr
All Hands on Deck: Teaching Sustainability
Foreword by Anthony Cortese
Higher Education and Sustainability


Section I. Defining Sustainability
Introduce the Notion That We Are Nature
Use the Eco-Sphere to Visualize Sustainability
Create a Common Language
Begin With the Fundamentals
Help Others Listen to the Elders
Section II. Historical Perspectives
Make the Case for Possibility
Add Missing Voices
Revisit Big, Unresolved Questions
Travel Back to the Future
Conduct the Twentieth-Century Experiment
Talk About What We Once Had

Section III. Systems, Synergy, and Visions
View the World Through a Systems Lens
Connect the Dots
Use Leverage Points
Recognize the Chain of Custody
Connect Capitalism and Sustainability
Envision Finding Your Way Out of a Disaster
Assign a Voice for the Future
Seek Out Visionary Efforts
Consider the Wealth of a Nation
Section IV. Economics and Consumption
Explore a Living Economy
Use an Ecological Measure of Consumption
Change the Cost Paradigm
Show How Sustainability Contributes to Staying “In the Black”
Understand Synergistic Relationships
Recognize the Power Of Consumers As Agents of Change
Promote Inclusive Prosperity
Pick Low-Hanging Fruit First
Address Disparities
Compare Needs With Wants
Explore Community-Based Social Marketing
Section V. Design, Nature, and Buildings
See Nature As a Mentor
Build on Nature’s Lead
Remember the Pen is Mightier Than the Sword, but the Wrench Is Mightier Still
Understand How Classrooms Can Teach
Reframe Conventional Design
Create Spaces That Love You Back
“Leed” by Example
A Building That Allows Students to Teach
View Biology Through a New Lens
Section VI. Ethics, Values, and the Sacred
Rethink Basic Rights
Nurture an Ethic for Nature
Explore What Informs Revered Leaders
Align Values and Actions
See Enemies As Potential Allies
Plant Hope
Use Precaution As Wisdom
Acknowledge Grief, Invite Connection
Brainstorm a “Should” List
Find Ways to Use Faith
Read Sacred Texts
Section VII. Personal Responsibility and Empowerment
Understand the Tipping Point
Realize That Objects In Mirror Are More Important Than They Appear
Aim to Inspire
Loosen Up on Expectations
Remember to Save the Humans
Identify New Leaders
Write the President
Pause, and Reflect, but Keep Moving
Section VIII. Plan Ahead
Think About Your Goals
Remember There’s More to Education
Take Advantage of Technology
Bring Your Students on Business Trips…Virtually
Choose Texts Carefully
Section IX. Approaches and Assessments
Explore Multiple Approaches to Powerful Ideas
Use Active, Student-Led Exercises
Let the Poets Speak
Implement the Ten-Second Lab
Use Guests and Films to Offer Diverse Perspectives
Invent Games and Have a Little Fun
Put on Your Guide Hat
Trust Your Gut
Generate New Data
Section X. Learning Through Experience
Experience It!
Connect Learning and Service
Unravel the Gordian Knot
Make It Rich and Keep It Wild
Take That Leap of Faith
Question Assumptions
Focus the Group
Focus On Investigations
Treat the Rest of the World Like Paradise
Develop Natural Schoolyards
Section XI. The Positive Learning Climate
Support Fair-Weather Learning
Nurture a Love Of Place
Practice Acceptance
Face Problems
Build on Peacemaking
Go for the “Jazz”
Look Ahead With Hope
Section XII. Awareness and Consciousness Expansion
Build on Experience
Take the Ecological Footprint Quiz
Conduct an Ecological Footprint Audit
Discuss Full-Cost Accounting
Explore What’s in Everyday Products
Consider Scale and Energy Consumption
Identify Services Provided by Nature
Recognize That Size Matters
Look Twice at What’s Disturbing
Section XIII. Effective Communication
Widen Participation
Emphasize Soft Skills and Hard Sciences Equally
Teach How to Negotiate
Share Like a Friend
Be Honest
Share What Has Touched You
Encourage Specificity
Encourage All Writing
Make It Worthy Of Media Attention
Section XIV. Cooperation and Collaboration
Turn “Bullets” Into “Bridges”
Play Games to Illustrate Collaboration
Create Community Collaborations
Design a Better World Together
Tie Classes and Programs Together
View Conflict As Change Agent
Section XV. Community and a Sense of Place
Keep It in the Neighborhood
Get Into “We” Mode
Recognize Waste
Trace the Roots of Lunch
Rediscover Local Agriculture
Walk Your Watershed
Think Local, Fun, High-Tech, and Free
Enlarge Perspectives
Section XVI. Critical and Creative Thinking
Teach How to Think, Not What to Think
Get to the Root
Change Periods Into Question Marks
Focus on Imagination
Go for Understanding
Study Controversial Issues
Be a Wide-Eyed Skeptic and Demand Precision
Investigate Campus Ecology
Blur Lines of Distinction Between Disciplines
Use Creative Works to Spark Debate
Make Debates Public and Inclusive
Progress Logically
Teach Good Reasoning
Section XVII. Supporting Change
Lead Reform and (R)Evolution
Influence Others
Train Activists for Life
Create a Peer Culture of Behavior Change
Become the Demand
Envision Change
Use “Team Wonder Bike” As a Model
Walk the Talk
Sweat the Small Stuff
Be a Prayer
Continue the Tips
Afterword by Julie Newman
The Role of a Campus Sustainability Professional in Facilitating Institutional Reform
Afterword by Joyce Berry
University Leadership
Afterword by Hillary Mizia
Sustainability Goddess

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