Editors: Ashok Kumar, Dong-Shik Kim

Sustainability Practice and Education on University Campuses and Beyond

eBook: US $39 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $138
Printed Copy: US $119
Library License: US $156
ISBN: 978-1-68108-472-5 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-68108-471-8 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2017
DOI: 10.2174/97816810847181170101

Introduction

Campus activities for sustainable development are an effective way of learning and implementing sustainability in surrounding communities and industry. A college campus is an ideal place to practice and test new ideas and to learn valuable lessons from the results and mistakes. Sustainability Practice and Education on University Campuses and Beyond showcases many ideas and endeavors pursued on college campuses in the form of case studies. These case studies include past, current and projected activities to green college campuses.

Specific topics covered in this book include student-driven and college-driven environmental sustainability programs in undergraduate and graduate classes, issues in teaching environmental sustainability, the LEED certification of universities, issues of shrinking cities, and a comparison of sustainable military bases with college campuses.

Readers will be able to clearly understand the concept of sustainable development through a textbook approach to ‘crazy’ ideas presented in the book. In addition, the pedagogical challenges in sustainability education mentioned in the book address key issues arising due to the multidisciplinary nature of sustainability curricula.

Sustainability Practice and Education on University Campuses and Beyond is a good resource on sustainability in environmental science courses for college students, faculty and sustainability-related researchers. Decision makers in government and industry positions looking for ideas for promoting sustainable development can also benefit from the contents of this book.

Foreword

Sustainable development became a major driver of technological and social innovation in 1983, shortly after the release of the report from the World Commission on Environment and Development; what later became known as the Brundtland Commission. Following recognition of the societal imperative to preserve resources and the environment, and the challenges associated with poverty and other social injustice, researchers began to embrace these concerns and seek solutions. Technological solutions were developed to address many of the environmental issues associated with clean air, drinking water, and the production of energy from non-fossil resources. Economic analyses were developed to internalize the true costs of environmental harm. But solutions for social challenges continued to lag.

Even with the identification of the triple bottom line as a corporate imperative, business continued to develop new technologies that consumed non-renewable resources at an alarming rate, fossil resources were consumed producing CO2 and other global warming gases, and the use of critical materials (i.e. minerals that are in low supply but essential for modern electronics and other essential services), remained the norm.

What remained missing throughout the equation of sustainable development were new and holistic techniques for the education of the next generation of business and technology leaders. Individual faculty in isolated locations made heroic efforts to engage students in these important topics, but such efforts frequently would only reach those individuals who were already inclined to create a more sustainable world. As a whole, colleges and universities, especially those outside of Europe, largely carried on with their curriculum, without the pointed attention that this growing challenge deserved.

Fortunately, many of today’s educators have recognized the challenges of sustainable development, and the holistic approach that is needed for students to properly address these challenges. Universities throughout the world are developing new curricular elements that integrate sustainability challenges throughout their coursework. And perhaps more importantly, university leaders are adopting sustainability principles and embedding them into the operating procedures that make up the fabric of the modern university.

This new work looks at several initiatives underway at universities to provide a view of some of the ways in which issues of sustainable development are now being considered on college campuses. It brings together various efforts across a range of opportunities; from under-graduate and graduate courses to the development of a university sustainability office; that provides the reader an opportunity to consider what has worked elsewhere and how it can possibly be adapted for application on one’s own campus.

One of our great challenges as educators is to do more than simply instruct our students on how they should behave. Rather, it is to adjust our attitudes to behave in the manner that we would like our students to emulate. To teach by example, and thus to show with our deeds the important lessons that our students must internalize. In this way, we can impact the future and make our world a better place for the generations that will come after us. Fundamentally, that is the point of sustainability; to ensure that our children, and their children, have the opportunity for a life well-lived on a healthy planet. Through the lessons included within this book, we move closer to that ideal.

Martin A. Abraham
Civil/Environmental and Chemical Engineering
Youngstown State University
USA


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