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Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education

Scholarly Papers

 
 

Scholarly Papers

Mendes, Jessica.  Edited by Joseph Weakland.  Electronic Waste at Florida Gulf Coast University: Research to Education to Action.  2011

In this white paper written by former Graduate Assistant Jessica Mendes a comprehensive look at the issue of E-waste here at Florida Gulf Coast University, the larger community, and internationally is provided.  Particular emphasis is placed on the problem here at FGCU and where we go from here.  The paper calls for an expansion of FGCU's E-waste policy and for the use of an e-Stewards Certified Recycler.

Clugston, Richard M.  Higher Education, Strong Sustainability, The Earth Charter, and Rio+20. 2011

Despite 25 years of global chatter about sustainable development, climate change, poverty alleviation, and so on, we are making insufficient progress toward a just, sustainable and peaceful future for all. In fact, on the majority of indicators of sustainability, things are getting worse. National governments pursue their own narrow short term interests, civil society is fragmented, multinational corporations shape the global agenda to achieve short term profits with little real concern for the environmental and social dimensions of a triple bottom line.

Part of the reason so little progress has been made towards creating a truly sustainable world is that the mainstream response to the challenge of sustainable development has been to focus on eco-efficiency in the service of economic growth. Our voracious globalising economy has been greened in part, but we have not altered its course to embrace a stronger vision of sustainability.

Colleges and universities in the United States have increased their efforts to incorporate sustainability in their academic programs and operations. Yet most of this progress is adding sustainability material to a small set of disciplines and professions (e.g, ecology, architecture, environmental law, etc.), and achieving eco-efficiency gains in the campus' energy use and in the design and operations of buildings and grounds.

If we are to meet the sustainability challenges of our time, colleges and universities will need to teach and practice a deeper form of sustainability than just ecoefficiency and 'greening' a small set of courses. The Earth Charter points to what this deeper form of sustainability might be, and over the 20 years as the Earth Charter was drafted and put into practice, a wealth of Earth Charter education materials have been developed to help inform changes in the critical dimensions of university life.

UNESCO, which is responsible for coordinating the United Nation's efforts to shape education for sustainable development (ESD) states,

Education at all levels can shape the world of tomorrow, equipping individuals and societies with the skills, perspectives, knowledge and values to live and work in a sustainable manner. Education for sustainable development is a vision of education that seeks to balance human and economic well-being with cultural traditions and respect for the earth's natural resources. ESD applies transdisciplinary educational methods and approaches to develop an ethic for lifelong learning; fosters respect for human needs that are compatible with sustainable use of natural resources and the needs of the planet; and nurtures a sense of global solidarity. ("ESD in Brief")

UNESCO also observes that "many, perhaps most, formal educational institutions, as well as many nonformal and media based educational/advertising enterprises, are not promoting ESD. Rather they are conditioning individuals to work for other ends, whether that is overconsumption or the promotion of fundamentalist and intolerant social projects."

Weakland, Joseph.  Earth Charter Affiliate Report for Florida Gulf Coast University Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education.  2011

On February 20, 2009, FGCU President Wilson G. Bradshaw signed an official Affiliation Agreement with Earth Charter International in hopes that it might deepen the University's commitment to sustainability.  This report documents the activity of the Center from the day FGCU became an official affiliate of the Earth Charter up until December 31, 2010.  The Center shared this report with Earth Charter International. It will be updated annually as the Center continues to collaborate with administrators, faculty, staff, and students to explore how the Earth Charter can add additional meaning to FGCU's work in environmental sustainability.

Clugston, Richard M.  The Challenge and the Promise of the Earth Charter for Higher Education for a Sustainable Future.  2010

This paper argues that if we are to meet the sustainability challenges of our time, colleges and universities will need to teach and practice a deeper form of sustainability than just ecoefficiency and  ‘greening’ a small set of courses.  The Earth Charter points to what this deeper form of sustainability might be, and over the 20 years as the Earth Charter was drafted and put into practice, a wealth of Earth Charter education materials have been developed to help inform changes in the critical dimensions of university life.

Clugston, Richard M.  An Earth Charter Base Assessment of the Green Building Demonstration and Learning Center at Florida Gulf Coast University.  2009

This paper provides background information for an analysis of the Green Building Demonstration and Learning Center at FGCU (referred to in this paper as the Green Building) through the lens of the Earth Charter. This paper: 1) Gives a brief overview of the Earth Charter; 2) Describes EC-Assess, the assessment instrument based on the Earth Charter; 3) Demonstrates how the Earth Charter "worldview" and EC-Assess can be brought to bear on the project and gives preliminary findings on how existing building design and proposed programs express commitment to Earth Charter Principles and Supporting Principles; 4) Offers some reflections and suggested directions for the way forward with the green building design; and 5) Describes the process of conducting an EC-Assess of the Green Building in a Fall 2009 charrette process and raises some issues to be resolved this summer.

EC-Assess is intended to be a community-wide process that draws on and combines the perceptions of critical stakeholders. Thus, to do EC-Assess properly, we would need to involve FGCU administration, faculty, staff, and students and draw on participants' various perspectives on the institution's commitment to and actions for Earth Charter Principles and Supporting Principles.

The Earth Charter, as a document and the focus of a social movement, is making a catalytic contribution to accelerating our transition to sustainable ways of living. Its integrated ethical vision increasingly serves as an inspiration as well as a "standard by which the conduct of all individuals, organizations, businesses, governments and transnational institutions are to be guided and assessed" (Earth Charter, 2000, Preamble, paragraph six). Over the 20 years that individuals and organizations have been drafting the Earth Charter and translating it into action, the Earth Charter has been used as an assessment framework for local and state governments, corporations and NGO's.

Clugston, Richard M.  Understanding the President's Climate Commitment: Toward a Carbon Neutral Florida Gulf Coast University.  2008

This white paper was designed to assist the Florida Gulf Coast University community in charting its path toward carbon neutrality as a Leadership Circle signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. It was commissioned by the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education for presentation to President Wilson Bradshaw, Provost Ronald Toll, and Vice President Joe Shepard.