Sustainability, Environment and Education

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 October 2016) | Viewed by 59784

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Education, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717-2880, USA
Interests: environmental teaching, learning, curriculum and assessment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Education Sciences will engage the global field of education research and practice in the intersections of sustainability, environment, and education. Authors from diverse disciplines are encouraged to submit papers that critically explore how educational research and practice can engage and inform deep relationships with the environment with an imperative for sustainability of human and natural well being. The editors invite contributions from researchers and scholars that challenge the assumptions of education for exploitation at the expense of the human and natural condition. The Special Issue will attempt to address the dynamic interplay of sustainability and environmental knowledge, skills and affect in education research and practice. We invite research-based papers from diverse perspectives that engage sustainability and environment within the broad field of education. We welcome theoretical and empirical research papers and we explicitly aim to gather together a collection of papers that reflects a broad scope of perspectives, methodological approaches, and research foci. This Special Issue will attempt to reflect a global perspective of educational research and practice and the editors welcome submissions from people and organizations with diverse education interests and missions. While not exhaustive, possible questions that could be addressed include:

  • How does education research in diverse areas (formal/nonformal, higher education, indigenous ways of knowing, art/science/humanities, EE policy, cultural/political/economic perspectives) address the relation of sustainability and environment in education?
  • How are educational research methodologies and data acquisition methods evolving to address the complexity of human, environment and sustainability interactions?
  • How can national and professional education standards related to science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) meaningfully engage with sustainability and environmental priorities in education research and practice?
  • What does and how can arts based education research contribute to our understanding of sustainability and environment in education?
  • How do indigenous perspectives inform our understanding of sustainability and environment in education?
  • How do sustainability and environment inform educational practices that influence the human and natural condition? What are the positive and negative influences?
  • How can we as researchers and practitioners understand and critique the conceptualizations of sustainability and environment in education research, practice and policy?
  • Which perspectives, research methods, and/or theoretical traditions related to sustainability and environment remain un(der)-addressed in education research? Which of these could progress education research and practice, and why?

Accepted papers will be those that:

  • make a useful and/or significant addition to the literature
  • have appropriate focus and contents
  • have coherent research method, arguments and conclusions
  • are understood by an international audience

Dr. Michael Brody
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainability
  • environment
  • education
  • research
  • practice
  • human-natural condition
  • formal/informal
  • indigenous perspectives
  • global perspectives
  • higher education

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

8316 KiB  
Article
From Linear Industrial Structures to Living Systems: A Design Shift in Education for Sustainability
by Andrew Bernier
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci7020043 - 26 Mar 2017
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 7975
Abstract
If sustainability is to be an integral part of rethinking education organization, it is necessary to redesign mental models that shape present curricular structures. Assumptions underlying the design of most schools and curricula are based on linear industrial models, which raises an essential [...] Read more.
If sustainability is to be an integral part of rethinking education organization, it is necessary to redesign mental models that shape present curricular structures. Assumptions underlying the design of most schools and curricula are based on linear industrial models, which raises an essential question: How can we use opposite concepts of systems dynamics and living structures to create a shift in our present thinking about curriculum and learning for sustainability? From this, we can begin a dramatic design shift toward innovative curriculum to prepare future students and teachers. This article begins with a critique of modern industrial education, then moves into an overview of sustainability concepts and structure through systems thinking. The article then presents the research of an original sustainability curriculum that structures assessment to measure systems thinking. From the results, the article then explores a conceptual design framework for a 21st century curriculum that bio-mimics living systems and organic molecular structure, based on systems thinking and mechanistic principles. By placing assessment on competency relationships and not solely assignment completion, this new framework encourages students and educators to develop emerging 21st century skills in the age of digital technology and communication. This essay and framework, which emerged from the author’s dissertation research and findings, offers a new conceptual tool to the field of sustainability education while challenging educators to adopt living systems into their own instructional designs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability, Environment and Education)
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2462 KiB  
Article
Beyond Interpersonal Competence: Teaching and Learning Professional Skills in Sustainability
by Katja Brundiers and Arnim Wiek
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(1), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci7010039 - 7 Mar 2017
Cited by 73 | Viewed by 16403
Abstract
Successful careers in sustainability are determined by positive real-world change towards sustainability. This success depends heavily on professional skills in effective and compassionate communication, collaborative teamwork, or impactful stakeholder engagement, among others. These professional skills extend beyond content knowledge and methodical expertise. Current [...] Read more.
Successful careers in sustainability are determined by positive real-world change towards sustainability. This success depends heavily on professional skills in effective and compassionate communication, collaborative teamwork, or impactful stakeholder engagement, among others. These professional skills extend beyond content knowledge and methodical expertise. Current sustainability programs do not sufficiently facilitate students’ acquisition of such skills. This article presents a brief summary of professional skills, synthesized from the literature, and why they are relevant for sustainability professionals. Second, it presents how these skills have been taught in an undergraduate course in sustainability at Arizona State University, USA. Third, it critically discusses the effectiveness and challenges of that exemplary course. Finally, the article concludes with outlining the lessons learned that should be incorporated into future course offerings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability, Environment and Education)
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241 KiB  
Article
Learning Economics and Attitudes to Market Solutions to Environmental Problems
by Niklas Harring, Peter Davies and Cecilia Lundholm
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(1), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci7010036 - 1 Mar 2017
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 6677
Abstract
Climate change challenges governments to reduce emissions, and to gain support for such actions from their citizens. This can be in the form of taxation or legislation, or other forms of government interventions. In previous research, several instruments have been developed to capture [...] Read more.
Climate change challenges governments to reduce emissions, and to gain support for such actions from their citizens. This can be in the form of taxation or legislation, or other forms of government interventions. In previous research, several instruments have been developed to capture attitudes towards the roles of markets and governments in the economy. Some of these instruments have assumed that respondents will have the same attitude towards the role of markets and governments, regardless of the context (e.g., welfare, environment, health) or the form of government intervention (law, taxation, subsidy, spending etc.). However, these studies have not examined attitudes towards, or belief in, the efficacy of government intervention in markets, through microeconomic policies on taxation (e.g., duties levied on particular products) or subsidies. This paper reports on the results of taking such a specific focus, that is, investigating economics students’ knowledge of, and attitudes towards, government interventions in markets, specifically addressing the problem of climate change. We make use of unique, two-wave longitudinal data from Swedish university students. The data were collected during their initial semester at the university. The first data collection was performed at the beginning of the semester, August/September 2014, and the second wave of data collection was performed in December/January 2014/2015, at the end of the semester. We were able to match 414 students between the first and second survey. The results show that students of economics change their policy attitudes and become more knowledgeable in economics. After one semester, they are more likely to think of economic instruments/incentives (taxes and subsidies) as good and efficient policy instruments, and less likely to think that other instruments (regulation and information) are good and efficient policy instruments. However, further analyses show that knowledgeable students do not have different attitudes toward environmental policy instruments, compared to students who do not answer the questions correctly. Hence, there seems to be some other factor affecting students in economics during their first semester, that changes their attitudes towards environmental policy instruments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability, Environment and Education)
539 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Influence of Nature Relatedness and Perceived Science Knowledge on Proenvironmental Behavior
by Amanda Obery and Arthur Bangert
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci7010017 - 14 Jan 2017
Cited by 32 | Viewed by 7721
Abstract
This study was undertaken to investigate the factors influencing proenvironmental behavior of individuals residing in the Northern Rocky Mountains (N = 267). Measures of relatedness to nature and perceived science knowledge were collected through a convenience sample approach using multiple avenues such [...] Read more.
This study was undertaken to investigate the factors influencing proenvironmental behavior of individuals residing in the Northern Rocky Mountains (N = 267). Measures of relatedness to nature and perceived science knowledge were collected through a convenience sample approach using multiple avenues such as city email lists, organizational newsletters, and social media channels. Analysis of the data was conducted using both partial least squares and covariance based structural equation modeling to explore the relationships between the constructs. Additionally, qualitative definitions of proenvironmental behavior were investigated in order to address potential gaps between self-reported and observed behaviors. Quantitative findings show a renewed positive connection between science education, nature relatedness, and proenvironmental behaviors. Furthermore, qualitative findings suggest positive relationships between how publicly people are willing to share their passion for the outdoors and their willingness to engage in proenvironmental behaviors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability, Environment and Education)
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226 KiB  
Article
When Legitimacy Shapes Environmentally Responsible Behaviors: Considering Exposure to University Sustainability Initiatives
by Lesley Watson, Karen A. Hegtvedt, Cathryn Johnson, Christie L. Parris and Shruthi Subramanyam
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci7010013 - 11 Jan 2017
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 7076
Abstract
This study examines how perceptions of the legitimacy of university sustainability efforts—support by the administration (authorization) or from students’ peers (endorsement)—as well as the physical context in which students live, matter in shaping students’ environmentally responsible behaviors (ERBs). Using survey data collected from [...] Read more.
This study examines how perceptions of the legitimacy of university sustainability efforts—support by the administration (authorization) or from students’ peers (endorsement)—as well as the physical context in which students live, matter in shaping students’ environmentally responsible behaviors (ERBs). Using survey data collected from fourth-year students at a university in the Southeastern US, we employ Seeming Unrelated Regression to analyze the impact of perceived legitimacy and context on recycling and conservation behaviors, controlling for demographic characteristics, pro-environmental attitudes, and environmental identity. Our findings indicate that students’ perceptions of what university administrators support affect the likelihood of students to enact recycling and conservation behaviors, and peer support influences conservation behaviors. This research contributes to the literature on legitimacy by examining how legitimacy processes work in natural, rather than experimental, settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability, Environment and Education)
4175 KiB  
Article
Is Subjective Knowledge the Key to Fostering Sustainable Behavior? Mixed Evidence from an Education Intervention in Mexico
by Aaron Redman and Erin Redman
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci7010004 - 24 Dec 2016
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 7347
Abstract
Educational interventions are a promising way to shift individual behaviors towards Sustainability. Yet, as this research confirms, the standard fare of education, declarative knowledge, does not work. This study statistically analyzes the impact of an intervention designed and implemented in Mexico using the [...] Read more.
Educational interventions are a promising way to shift individual behaviors towards Sustainability. Yet, as this research confirms, the standard fare of education, declarative knowledge, does not work. This study statistically analyzes the impact of an intervention designed and implemented in Mexico using the Educating for Sustainability (EfS) framework which focuses on imparting procedural and subjective knowledge about waste through innovative pedagogy. Using data from three different rounds of surveys we were able to confirm (1) the importance of subjective and procedural knowledge for Sustainable behavior in a new context; (2) the effectiveness of the EfS framework and (3) the importance of changing subjective knowledge for changing behavior. While the impact was significant in the short term, one year later most if not all of those gains had evaporated. Interventions targeted at subjective knowledge will work, but more research is needed on how to make behavior change for Sustainability durable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability, Environment and Education)
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1285 KiB  
Article
Delphi Research Methodology Applied to Place-Based Watershed Education
by Rosanna R. Vallor, Kimberly A. Yates and Michael Brody
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci6040042 - 16 Dec 2016
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 5778
Abstract
This research focuses on the results of the Flathead Watershed Delphi survey, a consensus-building methodology used to establish foundational knowledge, skills and dispositions for the Flathead Watershed Educators Guide, a place-based watershed curriculum for middle school grades based on the Flathead Watershed Sourcebook. [...] Read more.
This research focuses on the results of the Flathead Watershed Delphi survey, a consensus-building methodology used to establish foundational knowledge, skills and dispositions for the Flathead Watershed Educators Guide, a place-based watershed curriculum for middle school grades based on the Flathead Watershed Sourcebook. Survey participants (n = 33) were chosen based on their expertise as educators, resource managers and scientists living and practicing in the Flathead Watershed in northwestern Montana, USA. Participants’ responses were gathered through a three-round survey conducted by the Montana State University (MSU) research team using MSU’s online course management system, Desire 2 Learn (D2L), an anonymous, asynchronous platform with distance accessibility. Round One responses gathered through the D2L discussion tool allowed participants to read responses and reply if desired. Round One discussion responses were reformatted into statements, which were then rated through two successive rounds using a 1–5 Likert scale. Of the initial 142 statements, 91 statements were retained in the final round. Final statements were cross-referenced with the Flathead Watershed Sourcebook to identify learning objectives for the Flathead Watershed Educators Guide. Final statements identified the knowledge, skills, and dispositions deemed most important for students in the Flathead Watershed to learn. Statements supported the need for place-based watershed education in fostering positive attitudes toward conservation and protection of the natural environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability, Environment and Education)
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