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
“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
In a previous post, I talked about the role of imagination and curiosity in helping us care about the World we pass on to future generations. The notion of imagined futures was discussed, among others, by Tone Huse of the University of Tromsø, Norway, at the annual conference of the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change held in Manchester, UK. Read more
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
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
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.
I was recently invited to sit in on a meeting of the Community of Practice at University of Manchester which is thinking through how to embed Sustainability across the curriculum. This area of thinking and study is massively relevant as it connects with each and every human and living thing on the planet. How we move into greater synergy with our environment and life supporting bio-systems is an emerging field which is complex and multi-disciplinary. Read more
This is a podcast of when Susan Brown discussed the complexities of sustainability education at the Ragged University event in Manchester.