Contemplative Approaches to Sustainability in Higher Education
Theory and Practice
How do we foster in college students the cognitive complexity, ethical development, and personal resolve that are required for living in this "sustainability century"? Tackling these complex and highly interdependent problems requires nuanced interdisciplinary understandings, collective endeavors, systemic solutions, and profound cultural shifts. Contributors in this book present both a rationale as well as a theoretical framework for incorporating reflective and contemplative pedagogies to help students pause, deepen their awareness, think more carefully, and work with complexity in sustainability-focused courses. Also offering a variety of relevant, timely resources for faculty to use in their classrooms, Contemplative Approaches to Sustainability in Higher Education serves as a key asset to the efforts of educators to enhance students’ capacities for long-term engagement and resilience in a future where sustainability is vital.
Table of Contents
Foreword. Paul Wapner
Part One: Theoretical Underpinnings
- Why Sustainability Education Needs Pedagogies of Reflection and Contemplation. Marie Eaton, Kate Davies, Sarah Williams and Jean MacGregor.
- The Power of Pause in the Process of Human Development. Sharon Daloz Parks.
- The Practice of Inner Habitat Restoration: A Contemplative Approach to Sustainability Studies. Kurt Hoelting.
- Navigating Anger, Fear, Grief, and Despair. Marie Eaton.
- Using Reflective and Contemplative Practices with Integrity. Patricia O’Connell Killen.
- No Time to Think: Contemplation and Reflection in a Highly Technologized Learning Environment. David M. Levy.
- The Practice of Place: Deepening Connections with Our Natural and Human Communities. Holly J. Hughes.
- Listening Deeply to and Engaging Multiple Perspectives. Maureen E. Ryan.
- Attending to Loyalties, Affections, Convictions…and Doubts. Jane Compson.
- Make a Creative Response. Michael Gillespie and Karen T. Litfin.
- Bodies of Earthly Delight: Engaging in Somatic Inquiry as Contemplation. Sarah Williams.
- Sustainability from the Inside Out: Discernment as Practice. Karen K. Gaul.
- Fostering Hope and Moral Agency for Eco-Justice. Cynthia Moe-Lobeda and Frederica Helmiere.
- Nurturing Students' Resilience and Agency Kate Davies.
Part Two: Teaching Contexts and Practices
Marie Eaton is Director of the Palliative Care Institute and Professor Emerita of Humanities and Education at Western Washington University, USA.
Holly J. Hughes is a poet, naturalist, and co-founder of the Sustainability Initiative at Edmonds Community College, USA, where she teaches writing and interdisciplinary classes focusing on natural history and sustainability.
Jean MacGregor is Director of Curriculum for the Bioregion, an inter-institutional initiative of the Washington Center for Undergraduate Education at The Evergreen State College, USA, where she also teaches in the Master of Environmental Studies Program.
"This inspiring volume responds to the emerging awareness in higher education of the need for student skills to maintain personal resilience, cope with complexity, and respond constructively to the challenges of our time. Every teacher who has ever faced student discouragement and despair needs this book. "
--Peggy F. Barlett, Goodrich C. White Professor of Anthropology, Emory University, USA
""What a wonderful, insightful, wise, and caring approach to sustainability in higher education. Many fine books discuss sustainability as a way of life, but few get to the heart of the matter—how sustainability awareness can open deeper levels of mindfulness, contemplation, and service. This provocative volume provides superb hands-on approaches, philosophical depth, and curricular guidance. The activities and suggestions in this book should be widely shared, both in university settings and beyond."
--Mitchell Thomashow, Author of The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus and Former President of Unity College, USA
"A timely and rich set of contributions highlighting the need for inner emotional work as a significant part of responsible environmental citizenship. Chapter authors share contemplative practices to engage the challenges of denial and despair that confront today’s concerned students. The book makes the case for the deep importance of this work and the need to build a culture of listening as a foundation for resilience. It calls for confronting the high carbon lifestyles of the privileged and the systemic injustice underlying climate debt. These thoughtful reflections by experienced teachers offer valuable new frames for learning and a call for discernment and creative response in the sustainability classroom."
--Stephanie Kaza, Professor Emerita, Environmental Program, University of Vermont, USA