Human activities accelerate the input of plant nutrients sourced from agriculture, industrial waste, and sewage in the Hooghly
River at the land ocean boundary of Indian Sunderban mangrove (21°32′–22°40′ N and 88°05′–89° E). This study reports seasonal
fluctuations in the phytoplankton assemblage and the relationship between phytoplankton abundance and key environmental parameters
in a highly eutrophic system. As far as seasonal perspective, the Hooghly estuarine system dominated by mangrove suffered
complete change in terms of phytoplankton and other key parameters during monsoon compared to other times of the year. Diatoms
were more abundant than dinoflagellates throughout all seasons with 58 species.
KeywordsCultural eutrophication–Hooghly estuary–Phytoplankton–Nutrients–Season
To provide decision makers with useful estimates of energy saving potentials, it is important to develop optimal intervention
programs and relate actual savings (amount of energy) to a theoretical maximum reduction potential. Against this background,
an interdisciplinary project that integrated technical and psychological expertise was designed. We identified the theoretical
potential for energy reduction based on the typical behavior of staff occupying public university buildings in Germany. We
developed an intervention program using psychological intervention research and norm activation theory and collected three
types of data: energy consumption, self-reported behaviors, and observation of one of the target behaviors. Data from staff
members in 15 buildings at four German universities were collected in winter 2008/2009 (N = 2,041) using a quasi-experimental pre-/postdesign with control group. Based on trend calculations intervention buildings
showed reductions in energy consumption of 8% (electricity) and 1% (heating), which represents 43% (electricity) and 10% (heating)
of the calculated theoretical maximum saving potential. Although a variation between buildings was considerable, self-report
data and observations (correct window ventilation) support that changes in staff behavior did result in energy savings. Implications
of the approach and future research in the domain of energy user behavior are discussed.
KeywordsEnergy saving in organizations–Intervention planning–Program evaluation
Capstone courses in environmental studies and science programs offer the opportunity to develop authentic research experiences
situated in real-world community problems that teach students how to manage complex projects, understand stakeholder challenges,
collaborate effectively in teams, appreciate interdisciplinarity in real-world contexts, and navigate messy problems first
hand. I describe how climate action planning was used as the centerpiece of a newly developed senior-level capstone course
in the Environmental Studies Program at Bowdoin College where students and the instructor collaborated as a team of consultants
to develop climate action plans for the towns of Brunswick and Topsham, Maine. The course project consisted of three parts:
energy audits and greenhouse gas inventories, identification of data gaps and refinement of analysis, and development of climate
action plans with specific emission reductions targets and recommendations for achieving them. This capstone experience was
successful in helping to achieve several specific learning outcomes, and the challenges encountered offered several useful
teachable moments. Overall, students found the senior capstone experience to be a highly valuable part of their undergraduate
experience and indicated unanimous strong support for the continued offering of capstone courses in the Environmental Studies
KeywordsICLEI–Environmental studies–Environmental science–Climate–Capstone–Pedagogy–Education–Local
Interest in adaptation among local and state governments in the USA is on a steep incline since about 2007. Yet, place-specific
vulnerability and adaptation research in the USA is still sparse, the public in many regions is still skeptical about the
reality of climate change, and model adaptation planning processes are not well-known among practitioners. Against this backdrop
of growing interest in adaptation, there is a great need to chronicle and critically assess emerging adaptation planning processes
to learn broader lessons and share them widely both in the science and in the practice communities. This paper describes and
critically evaluates a pilot project tested in two California local communities—San Luis Obispo and Fresno Counties—to illustrate
how active engagement of local government and other stakeholders with experts can advance adaptation planning. The approach
taken in this project proved to be an effective “conversation opener” in communities not previously engaged in adaptation
planning or where political support to address climate change is low. It created a sense of expectation and accountability
among local leaders and stakeholders. It also gave local leaders a chance to take ownership of the process and of the issue;
it succeeded in raising interest in adaptation planning and increasing understanding of adaptation and that it is needed as
much as mitigation. It helped develop an initial set of adaptation strategies for key climate-sensitive sectors, but to be
taken up into ongoing policy processes and implemented by localities, requires state and federal funding.
KeywordsParticipation–Planning process–Climate change–Adaptation–Local government
The University of Vermont Environmental Program has required a senior thesis capstone for all majors since its founding in
1972. Across this long history, the proposal-writing process and thesis documentation expectations have been revised and clarified,
setting well-defined expectations for students. The program has grown substantially in the last few years, pushing already
stretched faculty resources beyond capacity to advise senior capstone projects effectively for all majors. High enrollment
pressures have generated the need for alternative capstones that could better match student needs as well as faculty availability.
In the last twoyears, we have pilot tested and received approval for two new capstone alternatives in addition to the traditional
senior thesis: the senior internship capstone and the advanced course capstone. Here, we describe our strategies to deal with
high enrollments—multiple options for the senior capstone, focus and encouragement on peer-learning opportunities, and establishing
positive relationships with others on campus and beyond to help advise projects. The addition of the new options has relieved
stress and led to different but also strong educational outcomes. Aspects of the new options still need to be clarified and
streamlined to account for enrollment numbers that keep climbing while faculty resources do not. Within a few years, we should
have more assessment data to see how the three options are working for students and faculty, both in terms of work load and
in terms of relevance to current environmental concerns.
KeywordsSenior thesis–Capstone–Peer learning–Internship
The largest hindrance to the effective management of environmental problems has been their interstate nature and the inability
of the governments affected to produce a suitably powerful international regime which can compel states to take action. Following
the Second World War, David Mitrany applied Functionalist Theory to the study of interstate relations. This approach focused
on the idea that the isolated nation–state was not necessarily the ideal level of organisation to solve certain problems.
Instead, some competences should be ceded by central government to both sub- and suprastate actors. This concept saw realisation
in the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in the USA and the European Coal and Steel Community in Europe. Both
the organisations were constructed in order to share natural resources between discrete political bodies. Assuming the conclusions
of groups such as the Club of Rome are correct and humanity is indeed heading towards a Malthusian crisis at some point in
the future, the need to equitably share resources between states is going to gradually become more and more pressing as time
passes. It is therefore argued in this paper that rather than depending on the model of international regimes as they currently
exist, it would be more effective to begin a process of sectoral integration between political bodies which are competing
for a scarce resource. Management theory tells us that the best way to preserve change in existing organisations is to institutionalise
it. By removing any claim to a scarce resource and allocating complete responsibility to a supranational institution, it is
theorised that predicted future conflict between states over said resources can be reduced.
Business administration and biology seniors at Saint Michael’s College, Colchester, VT, worked together to develop environmentally
oriented business plans as part of collaborating capstone seminars for their majors. Students prepared start-up business proposals
for the Enterprise Plan Competition, a business plan contest at Saint Michael’s College founded and funded by alumni. In this
collaboration, biology students taught concepts from environmental science and presented information on environmental problems
to the business seniors; business seniors taught the biology seniors about the fundamental areas of business and economics.
After a process of ideation, students formed mixed teams consisting of biologists and business students. The teams generated
complete business plans. Biology students wrote literature review papers on the science and technology related to their groups’
plans. Outcomes of the work included one team winning the Enterprise Plan Competition, with a plan for an industrial composting
facility, and others being selected for the finals. More importantly, most students enrolled in both classes reported that
they gained confidence in their knowledge and skills related to their major field of study from participating in the collaboration.
KeywordsEnvironmental biology–Business plans–Entrepreneurship–Interdisciplinary teaming–Green business–Sustainability
Pacific Lutheran University restructured the capstone course for its Environmental Studies Program explicitly to foster interdisciplinary
integration. Assignments assess the effectiveness of programmatic learning objectives in keeping with the Program’s mission,
“…to engage actively and critically the complex relationships between people and the environment, drawing upon integrated
and interdisciplinary perspectives.” This final course in the curriculum focuses specifically on the development of integrated
and interdisciplinary perspectives. It builds on previous courses in our curriculum by asking each student to explore an environmental
issue through the perspectives of at least two disciplines. Students are expected to integrate the methods and content of
these two academic perspectives to develop more complete approaches to complex environmental challenges. Final capstone products
are a public oral presentation and a 25–50-page academic paper. To accommodate a range of capstone questions and goals, the
faculty created three templates from which the students can choose: investigative, interpretive, and advocacy. Two sets of
guiding questions facilitate conversations between students and their disciplinary faculty mentors and lead to integrative
analyses. Five short writing assignments focus student attention on the issue, chosen disciplines, audience, methodology,
and integrative analyses central to their capstones. These assignments catalyze class discussion about the elements of a capstone,
evidenced-based arguments from different disciplinary perspectives, and the writing process. The final short writing assignment,
which specifically addresses integration, is used as the key programmatic assessment instrument. These changes have increased
the quality of student–faculty mentor conversations and enhanced the complexity of classroom discussions and student outcomes.
KeywordsInterdisciplinary–Environment–Integration–Senior thesis–Program assessment
Environmental Impact Assessment, ENVS 450, was developed as the capstone course for Environmental Science and Studies majors
at Regis University, Denver, CO. The students were asked to complete an environmental assessment (EA) for Groundwork Denver,
a local environmental justice nonprofit. The class wrote an EA about a proposed open space project for a former brownfield.
The assessment included potential effects of certain actions on the surrounding environment during construction and maintenance
of the open space. After the completion of the EA, the class presented a 50-page report and an oral presentation to Groundwork
Denver, local citizens, and class speakers outlining work completed over the semester. I then surveyed students about their
perceived learning during the course. Students reported that the coursework was challenging, interesting, and impacted them
personally by the collaborative work done with the community and Groundwork Denver.
KeywordsEnvironmental assessment–NEPA–Community-based learning–Nonprofit–Pedagogy–Environmental justice
Professional school students who are simultaneously pursuing MBA, JD, or MD degrees with an MS in environment and resources
appreciate the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real environmental problems. These capstone
projects allow students to combine their graduate work into one integrated project that is both an excellent educational component
of their joint MS curriculum and a practical, real-world experience that they can highlight and discuss with potential employers.
Here, we discuss the development and implementation of a new capstone project requirement and its associated seminar course
that is part of the joint MS curriculum at Stanford University’s Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources
(E-IPER). The course thus far has produced a range of exciting projects and results, and has allowed E-IPER’s joint MS students
to showcase the knowledge and analytical skills they have acquired to the wider environmental community at Stanford through
the quarterly capstone symposium. In general, the students have appreciated the opportunity to integrate their educational
work and go deeper on a project that is of personal interest and relevance.
KeywordsInterdisciplinary environmental business studies–Interdisciplinary environmental law studies–Capstone projects–Environmental Master’s degree projects
Environmental Science and Studies (ESS) programs grapple with the need to address several important, and sometimes competing,
goals in curricula, such as understanding coupled human–natural systems, interdisciplinary approaches, problem solving, science
literacy, informed citizenship, and career preparation. Hands-on projects that allow students to apply their academic learning
to the real world in the form of capstone projects and practica offer the potential to meet many of these goals. In June 2010,
a session was convened at the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS) annual conference at Lewis and Clark
College in Portland, Oregon, to discuss the benefits of these projects for student learning and to share practical experience
of facilitating these types of projects and associated courses on different campuses across the country. This special issue
of JESS features eight case studies of ESS capstone course projects at various institutions, from small liberal arts colleges
to large research institutions. These examples serve as templates for instructors hoping to start similar programs at other
institutions or to adapt new projects in existing capstone courses. This paper synthesizes the collective lessons learned
from these case studies. We found that that while these case studies help instructors achieve some similar learning goals,
several important differences exist, suggesting that curricula and the demands faced by instructors in the emerging field
of ESS are still quite varied.
KeywordsCapstone–Practicum–Experiential learning–Pedagogy–Community–Environmental studies and sciences–Education–Curriculum–Assessment–Student-centered learning
We conducted an investigation on the efficacy of service-learning in large environmental biology classes. We were interested
in whether or not service-learning in classes with over 200 students has an impact on content learning, and attitudes/behaviors
related to the content. Students completed a pre-survey, a service project, and reflection paper (experimental group), and
a post-survey. Comparing pre- and post-surveys, student responses to attitude, and behavior questions revealed a positive
impact on environmental worldview. Student confidence in understanding course content improved in the specific areas related
to service projects. Overall, our study shows that large classroom learning is enhanced by short-term service-learning projects.
KeywordsEnvironmental biology–Service learning–Large classrooms–Learning outcomes
Addressing climate change successfully will require an interdisciplinary network of climate change scholars who can communicate
effectively with scholars from other disciplines and with the many audiences beyond the ivory tower. Those scholars will need
teamwork skills that foster sustained interdisciplinary collaborations and the specific professional skills and training needed
for interdisciplinary scholars to navigate successfully in a disciplinary academic world. Yet, at present, our institutions
of higher education are not providing these skills to new Ph.D.s. Most graduate students receive extensive disciplinary training
but little, if any, training in doing interdisciplinary research, communicating effectively, or building their careers. The
authors have developed DISCCRS—the Dissertations Initiative for the Advancement of Climate Change Research—to build this network
of climate change scholars and to target these shortcomings in current training of climate change scholars. This article describes
the institutional obstacles and disincentives that hinder the training of graduate students, and the career progress of faculty,
interested in conducting interdisciplinary climate change research. The DISCCRS initiative’s annual Symposia, Dissertation
Registry, website, and weekly electronic newsletter are described as ways to build an interdisciplinary network of scholars
and to improve that network’s communication, team building, and early-career development skills. DISCCRS has developed a model
that can be used, in whole or in part, as more universities take up the challenge of developing the next generation of climate
KeywordsClimate change scholars–DISCCRS–Interdisciplinary programs–Team building–Climate change
Solid waste generation and its collection have become a major concern of town planning authorities in recent years as a result
of increased population and consumption levels. As part of efforts to improve solid waste collection delivery in the city
of Kumasi, full payments by residents have been considered to curb the increasing quantum of money being spent on collection
delivery. Are households willing to pay for this service? The authors employed double-bound contingent valuation method to
determine the households' willingness to pay for the full cost of solid waste collection in the Kumasi metropolis of Ghana
which generates an approximately 1,000tons of solid waste per day. The paper established that, presently, households would
be unwilling to pay for the full-cost solid waste collection service. The paper further found out that the key socio-economic
factors that could influence the payment of this service by the households were the age, gender, employment, income (price
bid), and education.
KeywordsHouseholds–Paying full cost of solid waste collection–Willingness-to-pay (WTP)–Double-bound contingent valuation
This article provides a selective review of William Freudenburg’s key contributions to the sociological literature addressing
social consequences of resource-based growth and development in rural communities. The review starts by examining Freudenburg’s
earliest work on energy “boomtown” impacts that appeared in the late 1970s. From there, it moves to consideration of some
later works pertaining to the social impacts of resource development as well as several more broadly focused works addressing
resource dependency and community social change that he developed throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Freudenburg’s intellectual
insights and legacy are highlighted in terms of five key areas of contribution: (1) his efforts to raise sociological consciousness
about the occurrence and seriousness of social impacts in communities affected by large-scale resource development activity;
(2) his provision of methodological guidance and leadership; (3) his effectiveness in promoting and demonstrating analytic
rigor and depth of interpretation in his own empirical work; (4) his provision of major conceptual and theoretical direction
to studies of resource dependency and social change; and (5) the foundations that his contributions have provided as points
of departure for future research.
KeywordsEnergy development–Boomtowns–Social change–Social disruption–Social impacts–Resource dependency
Many universities require coursework in environmental studies or science, with the goal of developing environmental literacy
among their graduates. Does enrollment in an environmental issues course have an effect on an undergraduate’s environmental
worldview? We assess the role of a required, core curriculum environmental issues course on the environmental worldview formation
of undergraduates not majoring in environmental studies or science, using data collected at the University of New England
(UNE), Maine, USA. Using a pre- and postcourse design, we administered the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) survey to all enrolled
students over an eight-semester interval from 2006 to 2010 (N = 976 paired surveys). Precourse surveys demonstrated that UNE students began the course with a belief system that endorsed
an ecological worldview, on average, and that was structured into five domains. Comparison of pre- and postcourse data revealed:
(1) students’ level of environmental concern increased significantly in each of five worldview dimensions after taking the
course, although effect size varied among the five areas; (2) endorsement of the NEP increased more among students with an
initially low level of environmental concern than those with a high level; and (3) students who began the course unsure of
their beliefs moved away from uncertainty, indicating worldview clarification through the course. Our results demonstrate
that a required, introductory environmental studies course for nonmajors can effectively achieve affective learning goals
and develop ecological awareness in a student body characterized by diverse professional objectives and belief systems.
KeywordsEnvironmental worldview–New Ecological Paradigm–Higher education–Core curriculum–Environmental literacy–Environmental awareness
In a world where few people know much about global climate change and the notion of sustainability, it is important to reach
undergraduates. The article describes a course that examines the science of energy, the impact that these have on global climate
change, and sustainability.
KeywordsGlobal climate change–Sustainability–Global warming
Interdisciplinary environmental degree programs (environmental studies/science(s) and similar programs) in higher education
in the U.S.A. are both diverse and dynamic in their curriculum designs. Though these characteristics afford flexibility and
adaptability, they are also seen as weaknesses that can undermine programs’ perceived legitimacy both within and beyond their
host institutions. The lack of a clear identity, definition of core competencies, and prescriptions for interdisciplinary
pedagogy can create confusion among program stakeholders and skepticism among institutional administrators. To learn more
about how interdisciplinary environmental curricula vary across the U.S.A., a national survey was conducted of program administrators
to investigate their programs and identify their views of what an ideal curriculum would entail. The study demonstrates that
consensus exists on field identity: an applied, interdisciplinary focus on the interface of coupled human-natural systems
with a normative commitment to sustainability. The study also reveals that three ideal curricular models are espoused by these
administrators: Systems Science, Policy and Governance, and Adaptive Management. Program attributes related to these models are also reported. We conclude the article with a brief description of how the
three models are related to developing an interdisciplinary environmental workforce, describe the potential next steps for
extending the study, and express our optimism that a consensus can be forged on core competencies guidelines and model-specific
recommendations for curricular content related to three broad knowledge areas and two skill sets.
KeywordsInterdisciplinary environmental education–Sustainability education–Environmental studies and science core competencies–Environmental studies and science field identity–Environmental studies and science curricula
A century ago, stewards were responsible for managing estates or for keeping order at public events. Today, the Earth is one
global estate, and improved stewardship is vital for maintaining social order and for preserving life on Earth. In this paper,
we describe Earth Stewardship, a social–ecological framework for sustaining life in a rapidly changing world. The paper defines
the components of Earth Stewardship, characterizes the scientific needs for its agenda, and discusses initial efforts to engage
multiple disciplines and segments of society in its application. As a beginning, new knowledge for global stewardship must
be generated by teams of physical, biological, and social scientists. However, other stakeholders are needed for generating
and applying such knowledge, including people in communities of faith, professions involved in design, planning and restoration,
and policymakers and managers. Communicating environmental problems and solutions must take into account the psychology of
how people perceive problems, promoting positive stances toward the actions needed for an adaptive approach to Earth Stewardship.
Successful long-term stewardship of the Earth will require a global partnership linking researchers, managers, policymakers,
KeywordsCommunities of faith–Earth stewardship–Ecological Society of America–Positive psychology–Science literacy–Social norms–Sustainability
Arguably, no challenge faced by humanity is more critical than generating an environmentally literate public. Otherwise the
present “business as usual” course of human affairs will lead inevitably to a collapse of civilization. I list obvious topics
that should be covered in education from kindergarten through college, and constantly updated by public education and the
media. For instance, these include earth science (especially climatology), the importance of biodiversity, basic demography,
the problems of overconsumption, the fact that the current economic system compels producers and consumers to do the wrong
thing environmentally, and the I = PAT equation. I also summarize less well-recognized aspects of the environmental situation that are critical but are only
rarely taught or discussed, such as the nonlinear effects of continued population growth, the impacts of climate disruption
on agricultural production, and the basic issues of human behavior, including economic behavior. Finally, I suggest some of
the ways that this material can be made a major focus of all education, ranging from using environmental examples in kindergarten
stories and middle school math to establish an international discussion of the behavioral barriers to sustainability.
KeywordsEnvironment–Education–Culture gap population–Consumption
People of the twenty-first century urgently require new ways of envisioning Earth and humanity’s uncertainly unfolding future
in order to live in ways that do not further exacerbate the environmental crisis. The fragmented environmental community is
responsible for pulling together to help do so. Mature hope requires the cooperation of all the academic environmental disciplines
and beyond to engage in intelligent, loving, and creative research and utopian storytelling. This paper discusses obstacles
to that endeavor. It also suggests three elements to help frame fresh, diverse dreams of land health and human happiness at
once emerging from and returning to real places, the real Earth.
Keywords“Land health”–Storytelling–Utopian imagination–Earth–“Mental geography”
This paper explores the resilience of the controversial Northwest Forest Plan against a range of attacks, a resilience that
is surprising given the initial controversies surrounding the Plan and its failure to deliver harvests at levels that seemed
possible under the initial terms of the Forest Plan. Opponents of the Forest Plan have launched aggressive attacks following
many of the non-legislative pathways so common in modern environmental policymaking, including appropriation riders, administrative
actions, and settlements of controversial lawsuits. For the most part, however, these attacks have failed to crack the Forest
Plan. The paper argues that the resilience of the Forest Plan is an example of a larger phenomenon of “green drift” in American
environmental policymaking. Despite constant challenges, the environmental laws adopted in the 1960s and 1970s—including the
Endangered Species Act, which has been critical in shaping forest policy in the northwest—define the basic political terrain
on which policy struggles take place, and that terrain favors environmentalists. In the Pacific Northwest, there is simply
no going back to anything remotely resembling the logging policies of the 1980s or before; indeed, there is continuing pressure
to accommodate ecosystem values. The Endangered Species Act has ground hard against older policy commitments, and has proven
itself to be hard enough and powerful enough to slowly erode them and to create new operational premises for policymaking
in the forests.
KeywordsEndangered Species Act–Northwest Forest Plan–Spotted owl controversy–Pacific Northwest logging
The need is urgent to build capacity in the environmental community, and the interdisciplinary approach is one of the most
promising avenues to accomplish this. The environmental studies and sciences program movement can ably lead this effort. Based
on a workshop at the second annual meeting of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS) in 2010, we look
at barriers to interdisciplinarity in academia, including the cultural, historical, and institutional context of disciplinary
scholarship. It is within this context that interdisciplinarians must fight for identity, recognition, roles, legitimacy,
and standing. Teaching, research, service, publishing, competing for funding, and meeting reappointment/promotion/tenure evaluation
criteria can all pose unique difficulties for interdisciplinary scholars. We offer advice to those seeking professional interdisciplinary
education, including finding the right program and advisor, developing skills, designing and completing the dissertation,
and establishing a professional network. We also offer advice on securing a job—setting the stage while still in graduate
school and highlighting interdisciplinary strengths in the application and interview process. We also offer advice on career
advancement, such as clarifying one’s expertise and its significance, setting and fulfilling tenure-track benchmarks, adapting
the career trajectory to capitalize on an interdisciplinary career, clarifying with one’s institution the criteria for advancement,
and preparing the tenure portfolio. Finally, we offer an introduction to interdisciplinarity as an explicit, systematic approach
in concept and framework that rests on a higher order means of organizing knowledge and action, with a focus on integration.
AESS is emerging as an organization to assist professionals by assembling a supportive community of environmental educators,
researchers, and problem solvers, by clarifying and promoting standards for successful interdisciplinarity in the classroom
and in the field, and by offering advice and support on career issues for both up-and-coming professionals and established
faculty and practitioners.
KeywordsEnvironmental scholars–Academic careers–Interdisciplinarity
An economic theory of externalities and Ostrom’s principle of benefits and costs equivalence is used to address the inter-agency
tension that reduces the sustainability of a social–ecological system (SES). We examine environmental management challenges
by analyzing who benefits and who pays for a man-made, common-pool fishery on Ship Creek in Anchorage, Alaska, and how this
cost structure acts as a barrier to sustainability. The economic benefits of the fishery have been estimated and published,
but the costs paid to mitigate the fishery’s biophysical effects on the SES are undocumented. We focus on quantifying the
fishery’s externalities, which are paid for by public infrastructure providers who do not receive benefits from the fishery
and therefore exhibit social distrust and a lack of cooperation. This information is used in conjunction with a property rights
regime of the SES to construct a new cost-sharing framework that provides decision makers with an economic incentive to increase
the sustainability of the fishery.
KeywordsSustainability–Sustainable development–Social–ecological system–Urban stream management–Robustness–Externality–Cost sharing–Cooperation–Sport fishery–Hatchery–Salmon
Despite the expenditure of $1 trillion per year, the USA is less secure than ever before. Beyond conventional threats are
those attributable to rapid climate destabilization and unpredictable high-consequence events with long-term global consequences.
The paper discusses one response to such threats that promotes local and regional resilience as a coordinated network of sites,
cities, and projects.
Stetson University is Florida’s first private university, classified as a Masters Comprehensive School with a School of Business
Administration, College of Law, School of Music, and College of Arts and Sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences requires
every to student complete an in-depth piece of individual scholarship in their last year, the senior project. Learning outcomes
and format are determined at the departmental level, so projects in the humanities typically differ from those in the natural
sciences. Because it is a multidisciplinary program, Environmental Science projects represent the range of diversity encountered
in the College of Arts and Sciences with its Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Sciences degrees. Environmental Science senior
research projects unfold through two courses over the academic year. The sequence includes a research proposal, data collection
and analysis, a report of findings, and public presentations, all of which are subject to peer review by classmates and evaluation
by the instructor. Output from the course has led to several collaborative, peer-reviewed publications. Challenges of this
pedagogy are motivating students to create knowledge of their own and timing research to coincide with the academic calendar.
KeywordsCapstone–Undergraduate research–Environmental pedagogy
The introduction of a price on CO2 is expected to be more efficient than prescriptive regulation. It also instantiates substantial economic value. Initially, programs allocated this value to incumbent firms (grandfathering), but the growing movement toward auctioning or emissions fees makes carbon revenues into a payment for environmental services. This paper asks to whom should this payment accrue? If the atmosphere resource, as a common property resource, is viewed as the property of government, then the decision of how to use the revenue can be viewed as a fiscal problem, and efficiency considerations dominate. If the atmosphere is viewed as held in common, then the revenue might be considered compensation to owners and delivered as payment to individuals. This decision has efficiency and distributional consequences that affect the political economy and the likelihood and durability of climate policy. We summarize trends among six existing carbon-pricing programs.
Portions of Ohio are experiencing a surge in the development of unconventional sources of natural gas and other fossil fuels using controversial hydraulic fracturing technologies. Natural gas has been celebrated as a clean-burning bridge fuel capable of leading our society beyond its dependence on fossil fuels, a key to energy independence, and a critical catalyst for regional economic recovery. But serious concerns have been raised about possible detrimental impacts on public health and safety, water and air quality, and environmental integrity. Informed by a landscape studies perspective that encourages careful consideration of how people conceive of the world around them, this paper examines how Ohioans' understandings of the environment are being transformed as a result of shale gas extraction. Based on ongoing participant–observation research and open-ended interviews with grassroots anti-fracking activists, nonprofit organization affiliates, and government agents as well as a review of publicly available corporate responsibility statements, it surveys emergent themes in citizens' perspectives—including legacy, way of life, disempowerment, vulnerability, displacement, and prosperity—in order to explore what the contested landscape of unconventional energy development can reveal about the diverse and dynamic ways in which contemporary citizens comprehend the natural environment and their relationships to it. It suggests that responses to energy development are being contoured not only by culturally constituted ways of imagining ideal human–environment interactions but also by the broader sociopolitical structures that ultimately determine whose perspectives are prioritized and which policies are implemented.
This article explores the way that theater artists use theatrical tools and strategies not only to entertain audiences, but also to break down audience resistance to science-centered perspectives on the environment. This article cites examples from a specific one-woman show, “The Physics of Love,” which uses the Universe story, the scientific history of the universe and earth, to parallel the humorous story of a woman looking for love. The Physics of Love uses the theatrical devices of storytelling, humor, and personification to help audiences learn about, and act on earth-centered, science-oriented perspectives about the environment
The success of alternative energy policies is usually measured in terms of energy capacity. By this metric, state-level policies to promote solar installations in New Jersey and Massachusetts have been a success. To fully evaluate these policies, however, it is necessary to consider how these policy programs are structured and funded, who participates in these programs, and the complete life cycle consequences of “clean” energy technologies. This paper focuses specifically on residential solar installations, which represent more than half of the total US rooftop solar capacity potential. It takes a multidisciplinary approach that draws on policy analysis, spatial and demographic analyses, and life cycle assessment. The analyses reveal three key conclusions: first, state-level policies have shifted from subsidies for solar installations to incentive-based support based on system performance, which has reduced the payback period for residential solar to less than 10 years and has contributed to the growth of third-party leasing companies. Second, communities with low median income and/or a high percentage of non-white residents generally remain at lower than expected levels of participation. Third, while residential solar installations significantly offset greenhouse gas emissions and compounds that harm human respiratory health after 18 months, switching to photovoltaic panels generates a net increase in the production of ecotoxic chemicals. Drawing on these observations, we recommend policy changes to encourage broader geographic and demographic participation, to recognize the importance of solar leasing companies and landlords, and to promote the use of solar panels with lower environmental impacts across the life cycle.
The educational gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians is the most significant social policy challenge facing Canada (Richards 2008). This gap is particularly evident in the science fields. Educational institutions are still regarded as mechanisms of colonization by many Aboriginal people. Their ‘foreign’ Eurocentric (or Western) culture reinforces the systematic barrier to success of Aboriginal students in the current educational system. It is time to develop a new kind of educational process, an “ecology of Indigenous education” (Cajete, Futures 42:1126-1132, 2009), to allow Aboriginal peoples to participate fully in academic science and to share their deep understandings about sustainable living. Significant advances in environmental education for all learners will follow if we can embrace the relationship with Mother Earth that allowed Aboriginal peoples to live in harmony with nature for so long before colonization.
“The exploration of traditional American Indian education and its projection into a contemporary context is much more than just an academic exercise. It illuminates the true nature of the ecological connection of human learning and helps to liberate the experience of being human and being related at all its levels.” (Cajete, Futures 42:1126-1132, 2009)
In Indigenous cultures, the development of respectful relationships among all participants must precede any effective learning. The development of this respect among all learners results from the successful incorporation of Indigenous culture into the classroom. Equal representation of knowledge from two cultural contexts is described by Mi’kmaw Elder Albert Marshall as “Two-Eyed Seeing” (Bartlett et al. in press) and (Hatcher et al. Can J Sci Math Tech Educ 9(3):141-153, 2009a). Two-Eyed Seeing is a mechanism to cross cultural borders, and has been very effective in the science classroom at many levels, as I will describe in this paper. With this guiding principle, Indigenous culture takes a place beside Western, not as an add-on to be brought out for multicultural ‘festivals’.
The devastating impact of humans on Mother Earth can be seen as a result of the anthropocentric hierarchy which is evident in many Western Sciences. Mother Earth is calling for bridge-building between Western and Indigenous worldviews. This is a challenge for teachers because of the nature of Indigenous scientific knowledge. Eurocentric, or Western scientific knowledge is passed on as a package, using books, videos and multitudes of supports and props. Aboriginal, or Indigenous knowledge can be described as ‘ways of knowing’ and is acquired through a creative, participatory involvement with Mother Earth. There is an inherent trust in the learner and an intimate relationship between the learner and the ‘knowledge’, with an experienced guide to help. In this paper I will describe the basic premises behind a transition of the University science classroom to accommodate learning from two worldviews. This transition involves a move from inside to outside, both physically, spiritually and intellectually. It also involves an incorporation of ceremony, preparing the learner to listen and observe. Most importantly, a close engagement with the community and the cycles of Mother Earth must occur, reinforcing and expanding the engagement of the learner and the ‘knowledge’.
Higher education is being confronted with a paradigm shift. Current literature supports the contention that higher education needs to improve their connection with the needs of employers to meet future workforce demands. Higher education is specifically challenged in improving the competency of students in twenty-first century skills that include innovation, creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and self management, among others. To assess the extent to which students are developing twenty-first century competencies, the Environmental Studies program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has partnered with Target Training International, Ltd (TTI). to gain insights into the development of professional competencies among its majors. Data collected using TTI’s TriMetrix® DNA instrument indicates a statistically significant (p <0.05) improvement in the student’s ability to: utilize effective processes to make decisions (decision making); effectively manage resources, systems, and processes (management); demonstrate initiative, self confidence, resiliency and a willingness to take responsibility for personal actions (personal effectiveness); adapt to change (flexibility); and anticipate, analyze, diagnose, and resolve problems (analytical problem solving). This exploratory study supports the conclusion that raising expectations about the development of professional competencies among students and employing pedagogical approaches and educational practices that promote student independence, self-directed learning, self-reliance, and interactions with the community, even on a relatively small scale, can have a significant impact on the development of twenty-first century competencies.
While both international and national efforts are being made to assess climate change and mitigate effects, primary impacts will likely be regional. The US Great Plains region is home to a mosaic of unique ecosystems which are at risk from climate change. An exploratory survey of over 900 Great Plains government officials shows concerns for specific natural resources but not global climate change. Local government decision-makers are important sources of initiation for environmental policy; however, less than 20 % of jurisdictions surveyed have developed plans for adapting to or mitigating potential climate change impacts. The continental extremes of seasonal and annual climate variability of the Great Plains can mask the effects of global climate change and likely influences its’ residents lack of concern. The study findings indicate a need to reframe the discussion away from climate change skepticism, toward a focus on possible impacts within current resource management priorities such as drought, so that proactive planning can be addressed.
Navarrete x Kajiyama Dance Theater creates interdisciplinary performance works using movement, theater, art installation, and site-specific environments. Our work has been influenced by ritual, cultural studies, and the political and environmental concerns of the world in which we live.
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was originally established as a regime to manage whaling under the norm of conservation for use. However, over time it was transformed into a regime to prohibit whaling, largely due to the anti-whaling campaigns that were mounted by activist nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that favored a norm of pure preservation. This resulted in an IWC decision to place a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1982. In response to this decision, six whaling countries abandoned whaling under threat of US sanctions. In contrast, three countries, Japan, Norway, and Iceland, decided to continue whaling while their attitudes concerning the moratorium decision were rather passive or moderate when it was first introduced. Later, they became highly determined to continue whaling. In fact, they lead an upsurge in pro-whaling participants at the IWC, which is currently deadlocked between pro- and anti-whaling forces. This paper uses the concept of psychological reactance to better understand the behavior of pro-whaling countries in the face of considerable pressures from anti-whaling elements. We argue that the strong resistance of Japan, Norway, and Iceland to the whaling ban can be explained by the social and economic importance of whaling in each country combined with the different strategies adopted by the NGOs. Our results suggest that NGOs’ strategies vis-a-vis these countries were counterproductive and that persuasion, while more time-consuming and expensive, would have been more effective than pressure in the long run.
Systemic understanding of potential research activities and available technology seeds at university level is an essential condition to promote interdisciplinary and vision-driven collaboration in an attempt to cope with complex sustainability and environmental problems. Nonetheless, any such practices have been hardly conducted at universities due mainly to a lack of appropriate institutional schemes and methodologies to systemically collect, map out, and synthesize individual research activities within a university. In this paper, we present the recent initiative of such systemic and comprehensive understanding of research activities at university level. We carry out a case study, attempting to summarize all the relevant research activities and technology seeds associated with environmental issues and sustainability currently being studied individually at the laboratory level at Osaka University. We collected 138 potential seeds from the university's relevant schools and institutes and sorted them according to Japan's three sustainability visions. The case study demonstrates the university's potential to provide collective knowledge enabling the societal transition to sustainability if these seeds are systematically overviewed and effectively mobilized to mesh with specific social demands and purposes. We highlight the need for a framework and practice that allows synthesizing research activities and promising technologies even at university level to further facilitate providing collective knowledge and discuss challenges and research needs for promoting synthesis practices and interdisciplinary research that are essential to deal with sustainability problems.
In order to draw any conclusion about what actions should be done, practical arguments require both a first premise which makes factual claims about the world and a second premise which asserts a value claim. This paper argues that among the second premise value claims available in environmental advocacy, a human rights approach includes distinct advantages that are not as available when relying only on other ethical approaches. The paper describes three practical measures that can be used in environmental human rights work—personal narratives, human rights assessment reports, and citizen-based inquiries and tribunals—and 10 practical advantages of using those and other human rights measures. These include helping to minimize the problem of moral relativism, appeals to compassion and reduction of ethical “slippage,” as well as thinking from the bottom up, access to a rhetorically persuasive vocabulary, and potentially useful legal advantages.
Highly technical policy decisions present daunting challenges for democracy. In order to hold public officials accountable, citizens must be able to see how policy decisions stand to affect their interests. If they are unable to do so, they can find themselves exposed to bureaucratic domination through the discretionary power of bureaucrats, scientists, or policy experts. One of the major tasks of empirically informed democratic theory is to analyze and evaluate practices and institutions that use public participation to try to render highly technical public decision-making more accountable to the public, and therefore more legitimate. This paper presents a case study of one such institution: the Hanford Advisory Board. The Hanford Advisory Board (HAB) is a broadly representative, deliberative body that provides formal, policy advice on Department of Energy (DOE) proposals and decisions at the Hanford nuclear cleanup site near Richland, Washington. We argue that the HAB offers promising institutional innovations that go some way toward rendering the DOE accountable to the public that is affected by its decisions at Hanford. We explore the HAB’s design and operation using a taxonomy developed by Archon Fung and outline a normative framework for evaluating participatory institutions in contexts such as Hanford. We draw on analysis of formal board advice and interviews with board members and agency officials to analyze the board’s effectiveness.
This essay reviews six books broadly addressing the Anthropocene—the recent epoch in which humans play a dominant role on the face of the earth. Concepts of nature are still significant in contemporary American environmentalism despite its increasing diversity of issues, and no matter what the Anthropocene's challenges to naturalness nor what level of comfort or discomfort these works display regarding the Anthropocene, they largely retain some notion of nature. For balance, three books are included that generally speak positively of the Anthropocene and three that express various concerns: the former include Love Your Monsters: Postenvironmentalism and the Anthropocene (2011), Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World (2011), and Living Through the End of Nature (2010); and the latter include Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet (2010), The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder (2011), and Authenticity in Nature: Making Choices About the Naturalness of Ecosystems (2011). The latter group continues to distinguish nature from culture in the Anthropocene, thus effectively counting to two, whereas most among the former tend to count to one in celebrating a cultured nature. Embrace of the Anthropocene could, however, lead to counting beyond two by letting go of nature (and culture) as metaphysical categories qua moral shortcuts. The science and politics of living well in this enduring age of the Anthropocene may require attention less to generalities of nature than the interwoven details that constitute our environment.
As a first step toward researching health related to natural gas drilling, a qualitative approach was chosen to capture valuable insights into the emic view and to identify variables which may otherwise be overlooked or not considered when planning empirical studies. This phenomenological study sought to understand the meaning of health among women living in mid-Appalachia within the context of the environment. Women were interviewed using purposive sampling until no new information was gleaned from the data. Analysis of the data revealed an overarching theme of a sense of powerlessness over changes in the environment experienced by women living closest to the industrial sites. This perceived sense of powerlessness influenced the women's experience of health and affected their immediate living space. As extraction industries such as natural gas drilling increase their operations locally, regionally, and globally, environmental scientists and health care providers need to be aware of the potential health concerns among residents living near industrial sites
Social structures influence the spread of aquaculture and the particular ecological demands of this industry, which mediate the prospects of fisheries conservation. We assessed the effects of trade in food and fisheries commodities, the level of economic development, aquaculture production, and human population on the expansion of ecologically intensive aquaculture within the global food system. In doing this, we created a conservative measure of ecologically intensive aquaculture. We then conducted cross-national panel regression analyses (1984–2008) of 90 nations to investigate the expansion of ecologically intensive aquaculture and its integration into the global food system. The results indicated positive significant relationships between ecologically intensive aquaculture practices and fisheries commodity exports, total trade in food commodities, GDP per capita, and population size. These findings suggest that the dynamics of the modern global food system, characterized by increasingly globalized production of natural resource intensive processes, have significantly shaped the development of modern aquaculture systems and their ecological consequences.