The National Association of Scholars presents this original encyclopedia (PDF) of key names, terms, and organizations that have appeared on our radar as we have researched the sustainability movement in higher education over the last year and a half. The entries below were compiled from publicly available information, much of which has already been synthesized in NAS articles on sustainability. While this catalog does not include every main actor in the movement as a whole (we chose not to emphasize, for instance, Al Gore or global warming awareness groups), it does include many of the main actors in the sector of activism aimed specifically at re-centering elementary and higher educationaround sustainability practice.
We created this encyclopedia, partly as a service to ourselves to help us keep all the players straight, but mostly as a service to the community. We hope it will be a useful resource for everyone interested in tracking and critiquing the sustainability movement. This is a work in progress; we will be adding to it as we learn more about the principal leaders of the movement. We welcome suggestions for new entries and corrections of any inaccurate information. Click here
to download the encyclopedia in PDF format, or scroll down to read it on this page.
Sustainability in Higher Education
of Names, Terms, and Organizations
Terms Coined by the NAS
Author, Boldly Sustainable (2009, in stock at NAS) with Andrea Putman
Senior Fellow, Second Nature
Staff Liason, ACUPCC Academics Sub-Committee
Author, “Reason and Reenchantment in Cultural Change: Sustainability in Higher Education.” Current Anthropology
Leads Piedmont Project at Emory University
Author, “Ecology and Revolutionary Thought” (1964)
Author, The Philosophy of Social Ecology: Essays on Dialectical Naturalism
President, Second Nature
Developed the Talloires Declaration
Co-chair, ACUPCC steering committee
President, Arizona State University
Co-founder of Second Nature with John Kerry
Heinz foundations fund Second Nature
Under secretary for U.S. postsecondary education in the Obama administration
Former member of ACUPCC steering committee, former Chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District
Spoke at 2009 ACUPCC climate summit
Director, University of Delaware Residence Life
Serves on ACPA’s sustainability taskforce
: Myth that sustainability is "mostly about the environment"
Co-founder of Second Nature with Teresa Heinz
ACUPCC Program Director for Second Nature
Author, Earth in Mind (2004)
Author, Down to the Wire (2009)
Author, Boldly Sustainable (2009, in stock at NAS) with Peter Bardaglio
Director of Corporate Partnerships, ACUPCC
Senior Fellow, Education for Sustainability at University Leaders for a Sustainable Future
Professor, renewable energies and energy management at Oakland Community College
Founder and executive director, Creative Change Educational Solutions
Founding executive director, AASHE
Founding executive director, Education for Sustainability Western Network (EFS West), which became AASHE
“Envisioning a student affairs division that supports sustainability”
Helped found HEASC
Based in Washington, D.C.
Presidents can sign this contract to pledge to “accelerate the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate.”
Sponsored by Second Nature, AASHE, and eco-America
” by Peter Wood. 07/29/2009
“AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. Our mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation.”
Formerly known as the Education for Sustainability Western Network (EFS West)
NAS: “Swear It!
” by Ashley Thorne. 04/29/2009
Based in Lexington, Kentucky
“We provide information, inspiration, and support to the vital movement of K-12 educators, parents, and other members of the school community who are helping young people gain the knowledge, skills, and values essential to sustainable living.”
Project/Book: Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability
Based in Berkeley, California
Funded by the William J. Clinton Foundation
Seeks to “create and advance solutions to the core issues driving climate change”
Provides curriculum “makeovers” to “cultivate deep instructional change” in elementary, higher, and adult education
“Our mission is to provide and promote innovative education that helps create a sustainable world: a healthy environment, a fair economy, and a just and equitable society for current and future generations.”
Based in Ypsilanti, Michigan
Provides sustainability curriculum resources to teachers
Based in Seattle, Washington
Focus the Nation
Held climate change teach-ins on January 31, 2008 at over 1500 campuses
Barack Obama at FTN 2008 kick-off, Clemson University, “Focus the Nation is going to have the largest campus teach-in in United States history…This is an important issue, I want everybody to be involved with it, everybody to be paying attention.”
Based in Portland, Oregon
Go Green Students
A social network for students to connect with other students from around the
world on how to go green and reduce the effects of global warming
An informal network of higher education associations dedicated to advancing sustainability in the higher education system, coordinated by Second Nature
Historically important leader of the campus sustainability movement
Founded by John Kerry and Teresa Heinz in 1993
“Second Nature's mission is to accelerate movement toward a sustainable future by serving and supporting senior college and university leaders in making healthy, just, and sustainable living the foundation of all learning and practice in higher education.”
Sponsors the ACUPCC
Based in Boston, Massachusetts
” by Peter Wood. 07/29/09
Decade for Education on Sustainable Development: “seeks to integrate the principles, values, and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning, in order to address the social, economic, cultural and environmental problems we face in the 21st century”
institutions in the United States dedicated to education for
sustainable development (ESD). It acts as a convener, catalyst,
and communicator working across all sectors of
VISION: Sustainable development fully integrated into education and learning in the United States.
MISSION: Leverage the UN Decade to foster education for sustainable development in the United States.
Assigns grades to hundreds of colleges by assessing performance in sustainability categories (does not include teaching, research, or other academic aspects concerning sustainability)
“The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental ethical principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society in the 21st century.”
“Ecolonomics is a vision that sees business, government, and education working together to achieve a prosperous, sustainable future.”
“Because ecology means business”
“Established in 1974 and incorporated in 1981, the ISE is an independent institution of higher education dedicated to the study of social ecology, an interdisciplinary field drawing on philosophy, political and social theory, anthropology, history, economics, the natural sciences, and feminism...As an educational and activist organization, the ISE is committed to the social and ecological transformation of society.”
Based in Plainfield, Vermont
Faculty workshops, curriculum development
The Project is “an interdisciplinary faculty group effort to incorporate environmental sustainability issues into university courses”
The real world is the optimal learning environment, and Sustainable living is rooted in
a deep knowledge of place
Offers schooling for sustainability seminars, website, and book (same title)
A 20-minute video on the life cycle of material goods, shown in elementary schools and business all over the worldCriticizes Americans for “exploiting” natural resources to make goods
The American Family Association says that the video is anti-consumer, and even anti-American because the video implies that Americans are greedy, selfish, cruel to the third world, and "use more than our share."
Glenn Beck, host of the Glenn Beck TV program, characterized the video as an "anti-capitalist tale that unfortunately has virtually no facts correct."
Created by AASHE, STARS is “a voluntary, self-reporting framework for gauging relative progress toward sustainability for colleges and universities.”
STARS is a points system that measures institutions’ sustainability initiatives in Education & Research; Operations; and Planning, Administration & Engagement.
The international precursor to the ACUPCC, created in 1990 in Talloires, France, at a meeting convened by Tufts University President Jean Mayer.
College and university presidents from around the world met together and signed the declaration, pledging that their universities would, among other actions, “Create an Institutional Culture of Sustainability,” “Educate for Environmentally Responsible Citizenship,” and “Foster Environmental Literacy For All.”
It has been signed by 392 institutions around the world.
A comprehensive list is forthcoming...
Climate Leadership Summit
Annual conference for ACUPCC signers, sponsors, and friends
Climate Action Plan, as required by the ACUPCC
Ecology + Economics, a term coined in 1993 by Dennis Weaver
Education for Sustainability
Education for Sustainable Development
Describes the three parts of sustainability
People, Planet, Profit
Society, Environment, Economy
Usually illustrated with a Venn Diagram (see image at right); also symbolized by holding up three fingers (peace + 1)
Terms Coined by the National Association of Scholars
Justice + Sustainability
Sustainability is almost invariably paired with the word just or justice. This is why sustainability is an all-encompassing schema that calls for the restructuring of society; it is not the same as environmentalism.
People who use coercion, peer pressure, or intimidation to persuade others to alter their behavior in favor of sustainability
Sustainability advocates who want to create utopia on earth, no matter the cost to mankind
Operation Green Out
Led by Holly Swanson, author of Set Up and Sold Out: Find Out What Green Really Means
Author, Enemies of Progress: The Dangers of Sustainability