Nosce Te Ipsum: Bridging our values and actions in addressing climate change

Ryan Alaniz

Scholarship on anthropogenic causes of climate change has expanded exponentially in the last three decades.  Academics are well-versed on the challenges political economy, social values (consumption), and “development” pose to the future of our planet.  However, the lens has rarely been flipped.  This short presentation discusses how our pontification in research and the classroom may not correlate with our own lifestyles.  By developing a self-reflexive approach in our own lives, I argue we will be better suited to not only discuss climatic impacts and the interaction between the micro- and macro-levels, but also positively exemplify concrete strategies in reducing our ecological footprint.

Food waste and Sustainability: Modeling how to bring university initiatives to life in a K-12 setting

Chelsea Arnold

In this talk we will showcase the Zero Waste initiative on the UC Merced campus and how we are working with local K-12 teachers and students to increase awareness of how much trash that goes to landfills can actually be composted, recycled and/or reused. We dive into what it means to go “Zero” waste and some of the challenges of going zero waste on a college campus through a series of hands on activities led by undergraduate students in the CalTeach program. Students investigate the ins and outs of recycling bins, signage and what it really takes to change behavior when it comes to throwing out the trash.

Reducing Carbon Emissions through Middle School Science cCrriculum

Eugene Cordero

Strategies to mitigate climate change often center on clean technologies such as electric vehicles and solar panels, while the mitigation potential of a quality educational experience is rarely discussed.  In 2011, I started working with artists and educators to create learning materials that would inspire young people to take action in response to climate change. This work centered around the character and storyline of Green Ninja, a climate-action superhero who helps kids understand what they can do to make a difference. Today we are building on Green Ninja media to create formal middle school science curriculum that satisfies the new standards and inspires youth-action on climate change.  This work leverages a number of successful programs that demonstrated reductions in carbon emissions through school-based programs. In this talk, I’ll describe the work we’ve been doing and our plans for integrating technology into our curriculum to monitor and track carbon emissions.  I’ll also discuss the important role that collaboration across disciplines has played in the success of Green Ninja, and how important future collaborations will be in demonstrating the environmental benefit of quality education.

The Sustainable City Year Program – Enhancing Sustainable Ideas and Practices through Partnerships Between Campuses and Regional Governing Bodies

Daniel Fernandez

A program to enhance sustainable practices established at the University of Oregon is spreading throughout dozens of campuses nationally and internationally.  This program involves formalized yearly partnerships between campuses and regional governing bodies, typically city governments.

Traditionally, city governments and campuses function quite independently from each other.   Campuses offer cutting-edge educational opportunities for their students that typically do not address or integrate the needs of their partner cities.  Conversely, city governments have enormous responsibilities for maintaining and improving the environment of their residents and often do not have sufficient resources, capital, or access to new and innovative ideas that may enhance policies, practices, procedures and projects that they are responsible for.

Furthermore, city governments, while often theoretically supportive of projects that enhance regional sustainability, often lack the necessary bandwidth to pursue such projects that extend beyond the status quo of regular operations.

Enter the Sustainable City Year Program, a partnership between a campus, such as CSU Monterey Bay, and a partner city, which was the City of Salinas from 2015-2017 and will be the City of Seaside from 2017-2018.   Through this program during the 2016-2017 school year, 11 classes across campus participated in the program from disciplines as diverse as teacher education, business, journalism, environmental studies, and statistics.   The instructor for each course integrated a sustainability-based project within her/his curriculum based upon the stated needs of the city partner and students within each class generated and followed through on the associated projects.   The City provided funding to support each instructor in their efforts.

This program’s benefits are multi-faceted.   One clear benefit is that it provides students with relevant learning experiences that directly benefit the regional community/city in some aspect that works toward enhanced sustainability and livability.   Another is that it provides the City with support to promote enhanced sustainability within the scope of their operations.  It enhances the often rather limited connections between regional governing entities and their neighboring universities.  It also opens opportunities for employment for university students and sets up a pipeline of potential hires for the governing bodies, which tend to have an aging workforce.   Finally, and perhaps most relevant, it opens the door to sustainable ideas that the city can pursue in its operations that it may not have even considered prior.

Resilience, Justice, and Hope: Foundations and Inspiration for Young People’s Meaningful Involvement in Climate Change

Victoria Derr

A recent report from the American Psychological Association identifies children’s mental health impacts due to climate change and environmental uncertainty.  These impacts extend from Inuit and Aboriginal populations to urban children in the U.S. who are profoundly concerned about our planet’s future but do not feel empowered to act.  In this presentation, I will explore the foundations that support young people’s meaningful participation, ideas of resilience and constructive hope, and inspiring examples that show a variety of ways positive action can occur.

Envisioning Sustainable Futures and Other Tools of Reflection

Summer Gray (UC) Santa Cruz

In the digital age of corporate capitalism, the tools of representation are no longer monopolized by corporate media, but are at the fingertips of our students. This talk puts forth the concept of “cinematic sociology” and explores some of the creative and emergent ways in which issues of climate change, climate crisis, and climate justice can be infused into a variety of learning environments. The goal of this method is to foster a relational and intersectional understanding of social problems as they relate to the future of the planet.

We Are Wiser Together: Intergenerational Collaboration for the Common Good

David Shaw

How can we work intergenerationally to usher in “The Great Turning” from the industrial growth society towards a life sustaining society? In this presentation I discuss principles for working together across generations, and share examples of intergenerational dialogues I have hosted at UC Santa Cruz, the California Student Sustainability Coalition, and the national Bioneers Conference using the World Cafe methodology. Let’s collaborate across the cycle of life to shape our shared future.

Working for Environmental and Climate Justice: Faculty, Students, and NGOs

David Pellow

The continuing scourge of environmental and climate injustice in communities across the globe requires urgent action and creative solutions. Environmental and climate justice scholarship and movements reveal that communities marginalized by our political, economic, and social systems tend to also face greater threats and challenges associated with environmental and climate disruption. In this talk, I describe cases where university scholars, students, and NGOs came together to address some of these challenges to produce new knowledge in the service of socioenvironmental change.

Climate and Context: Looking at Climate Data in Monterey and across the U.S. High School and Undergraduate Curriculum

Corin Slown

Students use two tools:

1) U.S. Climate Explorer for the Climate Resilience Toolkit – A resource for visualizing and downloading data on climate change for the US. https://toolkit.climate.gov/climate-explorer2/

2) NOAA Sea Level Rise Map Viewer https://coast.noaa.gov/slr/

Using the two resources above students evaluate future changes to temperature, precipitation, and sea level for a location in Monterey County. Students then repeat this analysis for another city in the U.S. (for example, Houston, TX, Miami, FL, Lincoln, NE, or New York, NY). Helping students construct knowledge to discover climate change is only one piece of learning. Creating opportunities to empower students to make positive changes to address climate change is a second, pivotal piece.

Q & A

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46 replies
  1. Lucy HG Solomon says:

    Tori Derr, I very much appreciate your approach – in not only implementing multidisciplinary projects about sustainability with kids, but also tying this the mental health of youth. I thought of Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods, in which he argues for nature as a remedy for mental health issues for children. Lacking in that text is a thorough examination of the impact of climate change as a factor. As an adult and an artist, I contrive methods or constructs to allow for contemplation of human beings’ relationship to their environment – often built for kids. There is a playful intent on my part, and I see that sense of play in much of the multimedia work you include, and in the theater piece, “Shine,” that you refer to. Play may be a needed component sandwiched between nature and advocacy, which fortifies kids to face adversary in the way they do best… as kids. I’d love to know what you think of the idea that play is an essential ingredient for youth taking on climate change…

    • Tori Derr says:

      Thanks for your comment Lucy! Play is absolutely an essential and undervalued component – to children’s learning, development, creativity, and pro-social behaviors. Much of my work is focused on methods for engaging children and youth, and a playful approach is essential to this as well. This is a tricky thing in a way, or at least can be for academics, to think that play and serious discussion can coincide, but I really do believe they must. Not just for kids, but also for adults. There is very little work that links play directly in the ways you are suggesting that I am aware of. Resilience literature strongly links nature and social. However, the children’s participation literature more broadly does promote play and playful approaches. Rosie Parnell’s work comes to mind. If you do not know her work, I think you would really enjoy it. She took the image of the kids with the paper city from Sheffield England. She has written a couple of articles on play – even in the way that youth speak with each other and playful adults, as a central aspect of dialogue. I am working on some resilience research now, and I will dig a bit more to see if this comes up. Unfortunately, play seems to drop off the research radar after early childhood, but I do agree with you that it is a central aspect for not just fortifying themselves, but also for learning and sharing with each other. Plus, it is just more fun! I will follow up with you more soon!

  2. Tori Derr says:

    This is probably the best reference in terms of Rosie’s writing about play: Parnell, R. and Patsarika, M., 2014. Playful voices in participatory design. In: C. Burke and K. Jones, eds. Education, childhood and anarchism: talking Colin Ward. Abingdon: Routledge, 99–110.

    I think Beth is still touring Shine, so you could invite her out! She is absolutely delightful!

  3. mstemen@csuchico.edu says:

    Eugene, Green Ninja is a great program. I think Chico would be a good place to pilot the project in Northern California. What would that pilot look like?

    • eugeneccordero says:

      Hi Mark. I agree that Chico would be great. We currently have grade 6 materials ready for schools and should have most of year 7 also ready by August. There are different ways this can work, but typically a school district commits to pilot either some of our units or the entire year in a number of their schools. We do charge a very reasonable rate for these pilots as I think this ensures that schools take us seriously and give their teachers the chance to use our materials over a good period of time. I’m especially interested in helping teachers feel comfortable with sometime new materials and subjects, and we also want to learn from these pilots about what is working and what isn’t.

      Mark – do you have any school contacts in Chico who might find our materials interesting?

      Thanks – Eugene

      • John Foran, UC Santa Barbara says:

        Hey Eugene! So Mark, Lily House-Peters, Ken Hiltner and I presented the KAN today at the CHESC meetings in Santa Barbara, and someone in the audience who knew your work recommended to Lily that she check out the Green Ninja (Lily has taught in the K-12 schools and has now just completed her first year in Geography at CSU-LB). So you and Lily should watch each other’s videos and get in touch with each other!

  4. cslown says:

    @ Chelsea A.- I am so excited about your zero waste program. Can we bring this program to a pilot district in Monterey? I have several classrooms ecstatic about your curriculum
    @ Eugene C.- I have been thinking about the connections between Green Ninja and integrating data to track changes in practice. Answering your call for KAN members, I think Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (MPUSD) is a great fit. MPUSD has implemented a number of significant changes at the district level, specifically around energy and water through David Chandler (they have saved over $4 million, see http://www.mpusd.k12.ca.us/EngergyProgram-this seems like a great connection between two creative inventors of solutions).

    • eugeneccordero says:

      Thanks Corin for the suggestion to look at MPUSD. Wow, they do seem to be doing a lot which is amazing. And David seems to be in the thick of things. Do you think he’s the best person to contact in the district to get started? Since they are already doing such work, it seems that helping students see some energy conservation in their homes would be a good fit. Thanks! Eugene

      • cslown says:

        Hi Eugene, I think David Chandler is a great place to start. The other person you might want to contact at the same time is Cresta Macintosh, the Assistant Superintendent, cmcintosh@mpusd.k12.ca.us
        MPUSD has done significant work conserving water in working with Return of the Native. I think they are an example of leaders in the field at the district level with respect to conservation, I would love to see their students (and parents) foster greater understanding around the significance of that work using your curriculum.

        • eugeneccordero says:

          Thanks Corin for the connections! I will contact both David and Cresta, and if it’s ok with you, I’ll mention your name. Sounds like MPUSD are leaders and it will be interesting to see where they are at in regards to NGSS. Thanks again!

    • Chelsea Arnold-UC Merced says:

      We would love to work with districts who are interested in the concept of zero waste and how we can bring it into the classroom and on the campus! Let’s chat soon about this and other ways that we can partner on building curriculum.

  5. cslown says:

    @ Dan F.-Thank you for sharing about Salinas and Seaside for sustainable cities. I was wondering if Sustainable Cities has considered doing short summer exchanges where you partner with a city and a nearby college that do not yet have a sustainable cities program in place, as a planting the seed exercise with a shorter duration project?
    @ Tori D.-I was intrigued by the climate justice examples and framing meaningful examples. When integrating service learning at Big Sur Charter school, how did you help students to identify the community as “their” community or perhaps better stated, how did you help them develop a sense of belonging? Is it the project, the community partners/collaborators, or the deliverable/product or some combination?

    • Tori Derr says:

      Hi Corin, sorry I did not see this post earlier. For Big Sur Charter School a big part of the “belonging” was that they went outside often for classes and intentional walks. Some of this was part of the curriculum and some was just what the class did and so they could capitalize on that. Not all students live in Monterey (a few are from Salinas, for example), but because they spent this time outdoors in their nearby community, they had developed a sense of place as part of an urban school. This is described in a short article at: https://www.childinthecity.org/2017/05/04/empowering-young-people-through-action-on-community-environment/

      When the students started working on their service learning projects, some students looked for new partners (with mixed results – some community partners were very responsive in the way you would hope, and others, less so). But for some, they felt very supported in that they identified something they could do something about in their community, reached out to “experts” in the community, and identified a meaningful solution, even if short term and small scale. While I don’t think students identified this – I think in a way, they started with a bonding community, or bonding social capital, in which they shared like experiences in their school/community environment. But by reaching out to others in the community with different roles, they were fostering bridging capital, expanding their sense of community to include not only the immediate place where they attend school and practice stewardship, but also a sense of a community of interest(s).

    • dfernandez@csumb.edu says:

      Great idea, Corin! The issue, of course, is time. What have been doing is presentations, such as this one, designed to encourage other schools to initiate similar programs on their end.

  6. cslown says:

    @ Summer G.- When you first described cinematic sociology, I thought immediately of Enid Baxter Ryce and her phenomenal use of multimedia http://www.watercalifornia.org and her advocacy (http://enidryce.com)
    @ David S.-Thank you. Could you tell me more about community asset mapping? Specifically, in order to create an inclusive community across generations, and with significant diversity what best practices would you recommend starting with?

  7. cslown says:

    @ David P.- I have driven pass the Victorville Federal Correctional Complex hundreds of time, but never knew it was a Super Fund site. What are the most common measurements made to determine which locations constitute significant risk? Are there patterns based on when the prisons were built? Thank you.

    • dpellow says:

      That’s a great question and there are numerous ways of doing this, none of which are exact. I’m talking with a toxicologist at my institution to get more information on how this should be done properly because the risks vary tremendously given topography, wind patterns, the type of chemical substances, etc. But there is basic information on this that the USEPA provides on their site, which you can find here: https://www.epa.gov/risk/superfund-risk-assessment#basic
      Thanks so much!

  8. eugeneccordero says:

    Hi Chelsea.
    I enjoyed your example of the trash sort and sharing what happened inside that 6th grade classroom. And I thought the videos your university students made of the sorting process were excellent. I’m sure they also got a lot out of the experience. I’m wondering if those 6th grade classes were interested in additional climate/environmental curriculum. When we hosted a teacher professional development workshop for Fresno teachers, they shared with us that some parents were more skeptical about climate change, and wanted some advice on how to teach these kind of topics with their students. Wondering if you’ve had similar experiences.

    • Chelsea Arnold-UC Merced says:

      Hi Eugene – Thanks! The undergraduate students really enjoyed the experience (we have lots of hilarious out takes!) and have a greater appreciation for zero waste initiative and how it takes a “community” to implement. I know several classrooms/districts that would be interested in climate/environmental curriculum. Send me an email and I can direct you to some people!


      • dfernandez@csumb.edu says:

        Hi Chelsea,

        I really liked the sorting idea and involvement of the class and the ‘videos within videos.’ One item of interest – different municipalities have different criteria on what they can/will recycle and what they will not. For instance, our recycler (Green Waste Recovery) can take plastic bags and prefers them to be bunched up into one plastic bag. This is different from your recycler. As a matter of fact, they encourage us to err on the side of putting things into the recycling bin – they will sort it out if it is inappropriate, but this is a very different practice from other recyclers and it is also a time-varying process as standards change. In other words, even the rules on sorting require sorting (kind of a meta-level way of thinking around the while idea of sorting). It would also be neat to show how the sorted material is reused, even perhaps through some sort of a demo, although, again, it is also constantly changing with markets and technologies. One question for you – why were there 2 seemingly identical recycling bins in your standard setup shown near the beginning of your talk?

  9. ralaniz says:

    David- Thank you for your presentation. As you know, Cal Poly shares a fence with the California Men’s Colony state prison. I am torn; on one hand, I understand the injustices you cite and have no doubt that many of the same issues exist at CMC. I feel moved to investigate. On the other hand, I am working with the prison librarian to potentially teach university level classes to inmates to obtain an associates and potentially a future bachelor’s degree in sociology. Access is so incredibly difficult in these institutions; do I have to choose between these different types of activism? Do you know anyone who is in a similar position?

    • dpellow says:

      Hi Ryan, thanks for your question. I’m totally in favor of teaching university level classes in prisons and jails, and I’m planning on getting involved in an inside/out program here soon. I just saw a great film about Eddy Zheng–a former inmate at San Quentin, who was punished with solitary confinement for trying to introduce Ethnic Studies curriculum in the prison. The film is called “Breathin'” and I’m bringing him to campus to speak about this in the fall. You could do the same (his web site is: http://eddyzhengstory.com/
      I’m really glad you’re doing this as well–let’s compare notes!


      • ralaniz says:

        I will look into inviting Eddy Zheng. Interestingly, I just returned from Philadelphia where I attended the Inside-Out training. It was incredibly powerful! I would be happy to chat with you about it. I plan on implementing the class in spring of 2018 at CMC if I can obtain access. Let’s definitely be in touch.

  10. ralaniz says:

    Hi Eugene,
    It sounds like dissemination is one of the challenges. Why? Are stakeholders (superintendents, teachers, principals) resistant? Do they just not know about it?

    I wonder how I can support Green Ninja material arriving here in the San Luis Obispo area? I have colleagues that work as administrators–how would I put the material in their hands. Is it something you would come down and present? Let me know! Ryan

    • eugeneccordero says:

      Hi Ryan.
      Thanks for your question. K-12 dissemination is a challenge for sure. When we gave away stuff for free, I think there was an impression that there wasn’t any value there. So we are now selling our materials and it does change the conversation, but also the opportunities as well. Our goal is to use formal K-12 curriculum to engage students in creating social change in their own communities, and our experience is that a more engaged learner tends to also do better in school.

      I’d more than welcome the opportunity to come down to SLO to meet any of your school admin colleagues or to set up calls etc. I have materials we can share and it would be fun to work together on this. I’d also love to show you (and other interested KAN members) what we are doing as we have a lot to learn from folks like you who bring their own perspective and experience. It’s only from this kind of diversity of backgrounds that we have made it this far.

      Let’s talk more – eugene.cordero@sjsu.edu

  11. nseymour says:

    @ Ryan — wow, love the surprise guest star at the end of your video! I was struck by your discussion of self-reflexivity, as I’ve been writing on that a lot — specifically, in environmental humor and irony. You might like Bronislaw Szersynski’s work on self-reflexive irony: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09644010701211965?journalCode=fenp20. I was also struck by your discussion of “giving things up”; I fear that this is this is what people think of when they think of environmentalism: austerity, less, reduction, lack, sacrifice. It can be very off-putting — which is no doubt why you turned to the idea of non-material wealth later in the talk. Kate Soper has devised the concept of “alternative hedonism” to reframe environmentalism as in fact a practice of abundance; you might also enjoy reading her stuff on that, and/or critiques of it as a privileged concept. Anyway, just some stray thoughts!

    • John Foran, UC Santa Barbara says:

      If only Bronislaw’s essay wasn’t behind a $42 paywall.

      That is WHY we have to fight for open access to everything, and that is my position on the eventual KAN website hat I hope we all co-create (which has to be brought to the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative leadership at some point, where there is some debate about open access).

      If faculty and teachers now don’t understand that the climate crisis demands of us that all our relevant work be open access, then history will put them to shame.

  12. dfernandez@csumb.edu says:

    So far I have seen David’s and Ryan’s talks – great talks, both of them with a neat surprise at the end of Ryan’s.

    Ryan – What is the carbon footprint of Amazon Prime versus driving ourselves? Is that something calculate-able and is it worse than us driving out to get something? Is there other loss besides carbon footprint? Are there also advantages to the huge system of home delivery?

    David – I appreciate the two topics you addressed. I would love to see the manual. Can you post it? Are there other ways to assess its impacts continually?

  13. Lucy HG Solomon says:

    Daniel Fernandez, the collaborative elements of the City Year Program stand out as a great opportunity for students to get hands-on experience with city-based sustainability projects. I’ve teamed up with CSUSM’s Business program’s senior experience projects to mentor interdisciplinary teams with my art students along with business students on local sustainability projects. Getting the project in place is quite a challenge. The model you’ve introduced provides a method for leapfrogging from the piece-meal sustainability “inserts” in this program to a full-fledged dedicated sustainability program. Inspiration!

  14. LilyHP says:

    @Eugene, the Green Ninjas is a very exciting program! I love your argument for “education as a viable mitigation measure” and I agree that this is so often (if not always!) missing from the discourse on mitigation mechanisms. I am very interested in expanding my work to k-12 students and definitely want to connect with you about this program in more detail and possibilities of “piloting” the program in Long Beach. I also wanted to comment about the “Environmental Education Fit Bit” idea, I think this could also be scaled up to university level students. I would love to integrate more data collection and analysis in my Environmental Geography course and my Sustainability and Technology course, and using smartphones and smart meters for students to track their consumption would definitely add value to ecological footprint and reflective journaling assignments that I already assign. I think when the students can see the data (rather than just reflecting on their assumed consumption) it becomes a very powerful tool for changing behaviors. I look forward to being in touch!

  15. LilyHP says:

    @Tori, connecting hope and resilience in the face of environmental change is a project that I am extremely interested in and I really appreciate your use and application of the concept of “constructive hope.” I find that my students tend to be much more hopeful, open to change, and able to think in creative ways about the future than they are given credit for. Thus, I agree that empowering young people is absolutely essential – and at the same time, it can be very difficult to find feasible strategies. I found your examples to be helpful and thought-provoking, thank you!!! This is such important work that you are doing – and that I hope myself and others will find ways to do as well.

    • Tori Derr says:

      Thank you Lily! I really enjoyed your talk to, as a way of thinking about the relationship b/n resilience and climate justice at a larger scale. I didn’t have space to talk about it in the 15 minute talk, but I have been working for the past 2 years on Resilience planning in partnership with Mexico City. Both Boulder and Mexico City were part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities. It has been a real challenge to get anyone’s voice, especially those of the most vulnerable, in Mexico City, to be listened to. While we worked at many levels, from the high levels of the Rockefeller Foundation’s network, resilience coordinators, city officials, and UNICEF and other government initiatives in Mexico City, in the end, the resilience planning has still largely occurred as a top-down approach. So your framing about ways of thinking about power really resonated with me. This work will be published soon in the Journal of Planning Education and Research, if you are interested – I have the accepted manuscript on ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/project/Resilience-Participatory-Research-in-Boulder-and-Mexico-City

      I loved your resilience workshop framing on values – which was also an approach I took with kids in Boulder. I am wondering for your work, if you have had other issues emerge as they affect resilience beyond climate issues? When I have worked with resilience, many other images emerge as more pressing than climate change? So while there are such big justice issues associated with climate, it isn’t always what people choose to focus on first. Have you encountered that in your work? And how do you handle the potentially competing priorities? Or it seems like you may have intentionally brought the conversation back to climate (which is smart), but I wonder what your experience has been in this realm?

      On the curriculum side, I am really interested in learning more about the Green Threads project – do you have materials you could send me via email: vderr@csumb.edu? I work closely here with our Sustainability Director, Lacey Raak, and we have been looking at sustainability literacy on campus. In the process of our first year of research, we have heard this from students, that they want to see sustainability more integrated across the curriculum. There are a number of potential, real and imagined barriers to institutionalizing something like this, so I am wondering how you accomplished this!

      I hope we’ll have some opportunity to meet something! I love your work!

      • LilyHP says:

        Hi Tori, thank you for sending the link to your paper on the work you conducted in Boulder and Mexico City, I am excited to read more! Your comment regarding conversations about resilience and climate justice leading to focal points on issues that are more pressing is absolutely in line with my experiences as well. I just returned from a very interesting workshop at University of Minnesota (http://www.aashe.org/calendar/diversity-equity-inclusion-workshop-2017/), where we spent a lot of time trying to find points of intersection between sustainability/climate justice/resilience and racial justice. Activists from Black Lives Matters, American Indian tribes, and undocumented immigrant groups made it very clear to us during the meeting that while “sustainability” and “environmentalism” are very important to them, on a daily basis much more urgent issues are facing these communities, mainly not getting shot by the police, not being deported, etc. One of my main take-a-ways from the workshop and these discussions was that climate justice/climate resilience must be directly linked with racial justice. How to put this into practice in a meaningful way is something I am less sure how to do.
        I would love to continue this discussion with you and I can definitely send you some more information about the “Green Thread” project via email. So good to learn about your work and I hope we have a chance to meet!

        • Tori Derr says:

          Wow, this is an exciting convergence! Based on the sustainability literacy work I mentioned in the previous post, I am initiating a study here with undergraduate and recent alumni who were leaders in either social justice and/or environmental/sustainability actions (and some that are both). Their stories are all over the place – some starting with social justice and race as a primary focus but then shifting when they have some kind of new awareness. So I think this is really central about how we are framing and integrating social justice work.

          One of my colleagues from Mexico will be coming to San Diego this fall (not sure when). If I make it down there, maybe I can also stop in LA – or we can figure something else out!

          Thank you for the links!!

          • LilyHP says:

            Fantastic project! Yes, definitely be in touch, my email is: Lily.Housepeters@csulb.edu
            I was just thinking that I would love to work on bringing student activists from both the sustainability/environmental groups and from social justice groups together for a campus forum or series of roundtable conversations to better try to understand how we can re-frame sustainability in a more useful way. Perhaps even stop using the word “sustainability” all together, as it there are so many misunderstandings and connotations connected to the word, that in some ways I think it serves to exclude, rather than offering an inclusive way forward. We asked people to do a “word association game” with the word ‘sustainability’ and the differences in the associations between the white (and mostly older) people in the workshop and the people of color (who were mostly high school and university students) was striking.
            I recently learned about the existence of the People of Color Sustainability Collective at UC Santa Cruz (https://pocsc.ucsc.edu/), which is another potential model that I am interested in looking into. At my campus (CSU Long Beach) sustainability and diversity initiatives could not be more separate in how they are conceived, administrated, etc. So intentionally bringing these into direct conversation is something I want to do!

            • Tori Derr says:

              CSUMB is working on that convergence as well. The offices of inclusion and sustainability work closely together, but I still see a big spread in the students. In our sustainability literacy assessment/research, we used the Sulite.org test which has many questions focused on international policy, equity, and UN development/millenium goals, so it is very broad in its conceptualization. Many students (in science and non-science majors) said that they hadn’t connected issues like housing, poverty, food, worker rights, and safety to sustainability. I like the idea of a new term b/c people don’t connect these issues, but we have so many terms at the same time. . . I think we could draw on the UN’s approach which has understood that poverty alleviation, education, need to be achieved at the same time as thinking about environmental issues. They have framed issues in a more holistic sense but its still a far from perfect model, especially because they end up compartmentalizing many sectors in the implementation stages of work and it loses that holistic framing. I am rambling now, but its exciting to see the struggle and effort to address this issue emerging in many places!

  16. John Foran, UC Santa Barbara says:

    For Summer [but first, a HUGE congrats for the amount of discussion you have collectively generated in this area team!]:

    As you quote Fredric Jameson so aptly: “We have an untapped talent for imagining the future.”

    And I think you re really pioneering [excuse the colonial terminology] something very very significant for our teaching and activism as scholars, and above all for our students, everywhere. In fact, I think you should step out of the shadow of Sebag and Duran’s “cinematic sociology” [which you rightly credit, though as I recall we discovered the reference after you had made the first film!] and put your own name on what you are doing here, perhaps something like “films for people/critical reflection/imagining futures” or whatever…

    You’ve shown us what is possible with this “not-so-hard” to use tool. But for novices, for the not so tech-savvy, and for everyone else to benefit from, I wonder if you would consider putting together a brief but comprehensive “how-to” guide to the steps and techniques you use so that the average teacher could try this out in their classroom?

    A bit like Ken Hiltner’s Guide to hosting a nearly carbon-neutral conference [https://hiltner.english.ucsb.edu/index.php/ncnc-guide/#waiting ], only shorter, sweeter, and totally user-friendly, Maybe it could cover how you actually did each of the several classroom films you show here, along with links to them so we could see the results. It would also be really helpful to include how you cut this video you have made for us here, because most of us don’t yet know how to weave our talking head around text, slides, and video as you so skillfully have done here.

    Thanks so much for your brilliant student-centered pedagogy in general, and for your contribution to this resource space for teachers!

    • Tori Derr says:

      I agree that it would be really helpful to see this written up! There are a few environmental education and/or higher education journals that would be good venues for publishing something like this as a field note, too.

  17. John Foran, UC Santa Barbara says:

    Ryan, your talk is inspirational, and so reflective of the pain (and joy) of living in this moment, which both come across with crystalline clarity in your thoughtful, eloquent presentation.

    Your technique here of showing both text and yourself speaking at the same time is very nice, as is the dynamic building of the slides (such as when you introduce six and a half Earths one after another to show how many we would need if everyone on the planet lived as conspicuously as the average inhabitant of this country we llve in.

    So, I’m asking for your guidance on how would we be able to make a presentation that does this things?

  18. amattheis says:

    Corin, thanks for providing the link to the Climate Toolkit website in your presentation! It was interesting to compare the examples you provided from Monterey to Los Angeles while following along, and to gain an additional resource that can be easily tailored for different communities.

  19. vwong says:

    Hi Corin,
    As a fellow professor in the sciences, it’s great to have an example of something like this that has worked in the classroom! I appreciate how the exercise not only walks students very clearly through interpreting a multifaceted, interactive graph *and* allows students to examine projections of what will happen very locally to them.

  20. dfernandez@csumb.edu says:

    Hi Eugene,

    I think the efforts you are engaging in for Green Ninjas are exemplary! It would make a huge difference to place such curriculum in our schools for children to participate in such learning efforts.

    One point I wanted to make, though, is your use of the word “prove” to show that the curriculum enhances student awareness. Perhaps “demonstrate” is a better word? As you know, to “prove” is a very strong statement that indicates a level of certainty that formally requires a “proof” which is typically not possible in most settings. Also, to really show that Green Ninjas makes a bigger difference than other educational endeavors (and to which students it helps the most and which, perhaps, less so) would be an interesting, but probably a challenging, study.

    As far as adoption, I can imagine school districts are going to tend to have a lot of inertia to change (but I imagine it varies and is not the case all the time). Finding advocates is probably a good way to go. Perhaps some teachers would be interested to take it on in districts or even in private or charter schools prior to a full fledged adoption?

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