Prioritizing Sustainability Education: A Comprehensive Approach, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Prioritizing Sustainability Education

A Comprehensive Approach, 1st Edition

Edited by Joan Armon, Stephen Scoffham, Chara Armon


272 pages | 19 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-12-20
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Prioritizing Sustainability Education presents theory-to-practice essays and case studies by educators from six countries who elucidate dynamic approaches to sustainability education. Too often, students graduate with exploitative, consumer-driven orientations toward ecosystems and are unprepared to confront the urgent challenges presented by environmental degradation. Educators are prioritizing sustainability-oriented courses and programs that cultivate students’ knowledge, skills, and values and contextualize them within relational connections to local and global ecosystems. Little has yet been written, however, about the relational sustainability education that educators are currently designing and implementing, often across or at the edges of disciplinary boundaries.

The approaches described in this book expand beyond conventional emphases on developing students’ attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors by thinking and talking about ecosystems to additionally engaging students with ecosystems in sensory, affective, psychological, and cognitive dimensions, as well as imaginative, spiritual, or existential dimensions that guide environmental care and regeneration.

This book supports educators and graduate and upper-level undergraduate students in the humanities, social sciences, environmental studies, environmental sciences, and professional programs in considering how to re-orient their fields toward relational sustainability perspectives and practices.


"Increasingly visible through the enveloping fog of political turmoil, economic uncertainty, social unrest and ecological decline is a new energy; one that is challenging old assumptions, is life-affirming, regenerative and ecologically passionate. It is profoundly aware relationally, and determinedly hopeful that humanity can yet win a safe and secure future for people and nature. In this endeavour, the vision and practice of education is being widely reclaimed, reconceived, and re- purposed - by communities of educators and learners motivated to make a decisive and positive difference. Prioritizing Sustainability Education is part of this vital movement, and will offer any educator the knowledge, skills and spirit to join this critically important and timely wave of renewal."Stephen Sterling, Professor Emeritus of Sustainability Education, University of Plymouth, UK

"Humane sustainability education that rewilds hearts and heads is sorely needed. Prioritizing Sustainability Education could well be a game-changer for creating an ethic of care, resilience, and optimistic activism. This book belongs in classrooms worldwide."Marc Bekoff, Ph.D. author of Rewilding Our Hearts and co-author of The Animals' Agenda

"This book uplifts mind, heart and soul. It offers the possibility and necessity for a profound shift in sustainability education, unveiling new opportunities for hope. It is a grounded and visionary book, mapping the terrain that lies ahead and the wisdom and skills needed to transform these unsustainable times." David Hicks, former Professor, School of Education, Bath Spa University, UK

"If you want a holistic and pragmatic approach to the concept of sustainability education, this book is a solid choice. The authors are diverse, skilled, and respected. They infuse the dimensions of comprehensive sustainability education with global developments and offer practical pathways for the transformation of minds and practice."Akpezi Ogbuigwe, Former Head, Environmental Education & Training, UNEP; Adviser, UNU-RCE Africa; Member, Group of Experts in SDGs and Higher Education (GUNi)

Table of Contents

Foreword Jeanette Armstrong

Introduction Joan Armon

Part I: Comprehensive Sustainability Education Perspectives

1. The Challenge Ahead: Prioritizing Sustainability Education Stephen Scoffham 2. This is Zero Hour: Students Confront Educators Zanagee Artis, Arielle Martinez Cohen, Kendall Kieras, and Ivy Jaguzny

3. Opportunities for Re-enchantment: Exploring the Spirit of Place Stephen Scoffham

Part II: Theory to Practice

4. An Education that Heals: Purpose and Practices Guided by the Great Work Chara Armon

5. Ways of Being Free: Finding ‘Pulses of Freedom’ in the Border Zone Between Higher and Public Education for Sustainable Development Heila Lotz-Sisitka

6. Sustainability Education: From Farms and Intentional Communities to the University Dan McKanan

7. Learning from Traditional Wisdom in Papua New Guinea: The Value of Indigenous and Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Higher Education Sangion Appiee Tiu

8. Sustainability Education from an Indigenous Knowledge Perspective: Examples from Southern Africa Soul Shava

9. Walking Mythopoeic Landscapes: Into the Heart of the Landscape to Find the Landscape of the Heart Simon Wilson

10. Theravadic Buddhism and Sustainability Accounting: A Sri Lankan Example Nuwan Gunarathne and Sasith Rajasooriya

11. Education for Sustainability in Early Childhood Education: Sustainability Transformation through Collaboration Nicola Kemp and Polly Bolshaw

12. Boundary-crossing Learning in ESD: When Agricultural Educators Co-engage Farmers in Learning Around Water Activity Tichaona Pesanayi

13. A Future That Is Big Enough For All Of Us: Animals In Sustainability Education Patty Born Selly

14. Developing a Curriculum for Sustainability Education: Lesson Planning for Change Mary F. Wright and Florence A. Monsour

15. Sustainability Role Models for Transformative Change: a Great Turning in Higher Education Thomas R. Hudspeth

16. Education for Sustainability and the Stories We Live By Arran Stibbe

Conclusion Joan Armon

About the Editors

Joan Armon is Professor of Education at Regis University, USA

Stephen Scoffham is Visiting Reader in Sustainability and Education, Canterbury Christ Church University, UK

Chara Armon is Lawrence C. Gallen Fellow in the Humanities and Assistant Professor at Villanova University, USA

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
EDUCATION / Educational Policy & Reform / General
EDUCATION / Arts in Education
NATURE / Ecology