Here we focus on rethinking the ways we live and the ways society and its systems are structured. It includes approaches, perspectives, and philosophies that can empower our pursuit of sustainability, getting more specific about the frameworks for thinking and action given in the Finding Solutions part of the Think Globally section, namely, the models of change available to help us understand the various aspects of the problem we are facing and to help us move towards sustainability.
The change paradigms are a varied lot. Some focus on specific objectives, some are holistic. Some are weighted toward “taking action” strategies, some toward conceptualization, some are rather balanced in dealing with both theory and practice. They all can find expression in local, regional, national and/or world-wide actions. They all can inspire us and help us find the way.
Please contact us about models for change that you would like to see added to this listing.
In schools, research has found that healthy fresh food improves school performance and helps reduce childhood obesity and diabetes. Many schools may teach students about the importance of eating well and then serve them food from the industrialized food system that undermines their health and the health of the community.
Also see Campus Food.
Violence Against Women
Despite greater willingness of authorities to protect them, violence against women is widespread. Victims often refuse to testify, sometimes from shame and sometimes from fear. Trafficking remains a major problem, with young women lured with promises of good jobs and then kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery—and according to the CIA, many of them are in small towns throughout the U.S.
Unfortunately, many institutions—from businesses to universities—try to minimize incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault, & rape. While it is understandable that they would be concerned about their reputation, blaming the victims or trivializing what happened is inexcusable.
Education & Schools
Learning is a natural process that happens in every imaginable setting. Schools are designed, in theory, to promote and enhance learning. Some schools use highly-structured curriculum, while others use a more experiential, democratic, & student-driven approach. In practice, many schools also function to stifle criticism and to instill the values of state policy, religious dogma, or other value systems.
- teach-climate.net for information on how to integrate global warming & climate change into your school!
- resources for better schools & learning
Other school-related topics: Militarism in schools
Read more about students’ rights and their importance for a free society.
Militarism in Schools
Militarism is a combination of relying too much on military force for security and glorifying military service and values. In schools, it often takes the form of fostering the belief that the primary role of the military is to defend freedom and democracy, that serving one’s country means joining the military, and that we should all support the military. These three ideas are at best highly controversial.
In addition, when schools practice military values and methods such as authoritarian decision-making, unquestioning obedience, and regimentation, and when they allow standardized tests to dominate the educational process—instead of encouraging creativity, engagement, and learning—they are practicing militarism.
The international movement for democratic education encourages schools to involve the entire school community, including students, in a democratic approach to school governance. For students used to the more common authoritarian schools, this can be an empowering change.
Synthetic Turf Health Concerns
Synthetic turf may have advantages in some situations, but it also is linked to several very serious health concerns.
Because most of the high schools, colleges, and universities in the Lehigh Valley have synthetic turf fields and at least two municipalities are planning to install synthetic turf at recreation facilities, we have identified this as a local health concern. If you have questions or want more information, email us at email@example.com.
by Alyssa Fama Growing up, I always admired the beauty of nature and the world around me; blossoming flowers in the spring, the buzzing of insects during the summer, changing leaf colors in the fall and the silent snowfall in … more
The Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (‘LVAIC’) held its third valley-wide Campus Sustainability Conference in February. Keynote speaker Shana S. Weber, who directs the Office of Sustainability at Princeton University, kicked off the day with a talk on the … more
by Ida Halleröd I arrived in the Lehigh Valley in January this year from Gothenburg, Sweden. My husband got transferred here for work and I tagged along, figuring it would be one of life’s great adventures. I had slim pre-knowledge … more
by Harris Eisenhardt The answer, I believe, is as follows: Do not mourn the loss of this planet prematurely, and do not resign to the pessimists’ comfort. Personal actions contribute to collective climate change […] we should hold ourselves accountable. … more
by Courtney Cohen Society has made great strides to improve modern medicine, communication, and technology, but in the process, we have lost our innate connection with the natural world. Early environmentalists like Thoreau and Pinchot warned society that they were … more
Education and Democracy A few thoughts on education for a democracy, by some of our greatest thinkers on education: “The proper education of the young does not consist of stuffing their heads with a mass of words, sentences, and ideas … more
[Updated March 18, 2015] The following open letter is prompted by several stories in the Express-Timesand Morning Call reporting that almost all of our high schools already have synthetic turf fields (as do most colleges and universities in the Lehigh Valley)—and the few … more
This project is exploring ways to integrate climate & sustainability in schools, with a focus on student-centered, inquiry-based learning. As of January 2017, the initial phase is complete: the GHG calculator and the background information for teachers, including a subject-by-subject … more