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Why Not an Economy of Recycling? by Amelia Modrak

The facts are there. Only 5% of the total plastic that is being produced is recycled, and a similar trend applies to the glass, metal and paper. The rest goes to its final destination: the landfill or the Ocean; or, speaking from a biological point of view, to the Ecosystem, with all the detrimental consequences attached to it.

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Invisible Deserts and Visible Diversity by Susan Brown

When I was a child I lived near a large pond which backed onto a wood. In spring the pond would fill  with frog spawn. I remember waiting  till the tadpoles emerged out of the gelatinous mass of spawn and catching a few up in a large jar. I’d endeavour to recreate the pond ecosystem in the jar- a haphazard process of topping it up with smelly pond water and strewing the water with pondweed – and wait for the tadpoles to transform into frogs.To my consternation, though their four legs sprouted and their tails began to retract they never made it to adulthood. Read more

What Is ‘Ecological Literacy’? by Susan Brown

“without significant precautions education can equip people merely to be effective vandals of the  Earth. If one listens carefully, it may even be possible to hear the Creation groan every year in late May when another batch of smart, degree-holding, but ecologically illiterate, Homo sapiens who are eager to succeed are launched into the biosphere” (Orr, 2004,p.5). Read more

Embedding Sustainability Across The Curriculum: University of Manchester Community of Practice

As the realisation sets in across the globe that we can no longer afford to be wasteful in the way we live, the question is recurring as to what ways of life we transition to and how.  This is common sense, and the multi-disciplinary study of sustainability is the form that common sense is taking in academic circles. As we are well aware, the problems which we are facing are global ones, where the sheer and vast numbers of human beings living on the planet now do not tally with the natural resources which are available on the earth.  Read more

Educating For The Steady State Economy by Susan Brown

On 1st November, 2012 the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change hosted a free public event at the University of Manchester, UK entitled ‘We need to talk about growth’. Central to the discussion of the speakers (Richard Sharland, Head of Environmental Strategy at Manchester City Council; Dr Alice Bows, Sustainable Consumption Institute (University of Manchester); Prof Mark Burton (Manchester Metropolitan University & Centre for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy-CASSE) and Dr Dan O’Neill (University of Leeds and CASSE) was the argument that we need to move from a model of ‘economic growth’ measured in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), levels of consumption, international finance etc, to one of a ‘steady state economy’.  Read more

Fine Wine, Future Generations And Notions Of Sustainability by Susan Brown

There is a lot of discussion of the term ‘sustainability’ and numerous definitions of the term. I’m not going to delve into a comparative exploration of these in this post. I’d like, instead, to explore a notion common to a number of definitions of sustainability:  that we need to pass on to future generations a World fit to live in (I include examples of such definitions at the end of the post).

Implicit in this notion is the belief that humans can care about the lives of those in a future beyond their lifespan. This belief runs contrary to the view that people find it difficult to envisage and/or care about a future in which they no longer play a part.  If this is the case, many definitions of sustainability can be seen as hopelessly naive. Read more

Sustainability Education: A Brief Introduction by Susan Brown

A warm welcome to this sustainability education blog written in association with the Ragged Project.  In the spirit of Ragged the main aspiration is to share emerging understandings/ideas/expertise in the field of sustainability education from a broad range of perspectives. My name is Susan and for me the question of how to approach sustainability education is a crucial one. It is fundamental to the way we negotiate the global challenges we now face.  It needs to be roundly and richly responded to and that is where I hope this blog will play a role. I work in a higher education context, where the question of how to effectively teach sustainability education is receiving increasing consideration.

This is also the case in secondary and primary education, and in a variety of formal and informal learning contexts in community, business and governmental sectors, both in the UK and around the globe. The greater the cross-pollination of understanding/ideas on sustainability education across sectors and cultural contexts, the better will be our educational response to the complex challenges we face.  I hope this blog will act as a conduit for such cross-pollination and welcome contributions to the blog in this endeavour. Read more

How Can Education Help To Shape A Steady State Culture?: A Discussion Paper by Susan Brown

In 2012 I was asked, to feedback on a draft report by Steady State Manchester on the role of education in shaping a Steady State Culture. I was asked, at that time, to feedback on that draft report. As someone who is invested in thinking about what constitutes good education in different contexts I was intrigued by the questions of what the educational landscape needs to look like to play a role in shaping a Steady State culture and what that role might be.

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A Few Tips For Reducing Plastic Consumption in Edinburgh by Emily Smith

The Plastic Challenge run by the Marine Conservation Society.  It’s originally came about when Sea Champion Emily Smith gave up plastics for Lent in 2013 raising over seven hundred pounds for Marine Conservation Society. She went on to challenge her friends and family to do the same, and so the Plastic Challenge was born.  The following is a number of tips which she has written for people who want to reduce their use of single use plastics.

As they say, “the Plastic Challenge isn’t all about living completely plastic free – in this day and age that would be pretty near impossible. We hope Plastic Challengers will try to reduce their plastic footprint in all sorts of ways.”

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