Sustainability News

Ashley Thorne

This month’s campus sustainability news includes critiques of the movement for giving students ready-made conclusions; examples of sustainability’s embrace by the college curriculum, a roundup of campus Earth Day events, and an analysis of how environmental language is becoming more nuanced. Be sure to check out the new resources from NAS, a policy statement summarizing why the movement is bad for higher education and what we can do to fix it; and an updated edition of our useful sustainability encyclopedia.


  1. The Sustainability Agenda, National Review Online 
    Inside Academia interviews NAS’s Ashley Thorne on the campus sustainability movement’s efforts to correct students’ attitudes.
  2. The Cultural Contradictions of Sustainability, NAS
    The sustainability movement aims to prevent expansion and propagate utopianism. Yet its advocates promote the spread of their ideas and seek "real change" in the real world. Higher education should train students to perceive the contradictions of ideologies such as capitalism and sustainability.
  3. “Science Isn’t Partisan”: An Interview with Richard Muller, NAS
    Berkeley physics professor Richard Muller, who is leading a new independent study of global warming, shares his views on science, carbon footprints, and global warming policy.
  4. The Sustainability Fraud, The Post-Journal
    “Sustainability is a fraud. Worst of all, our academic institutions are actively and heartily promoting it to our younger, naive, impressionable generations as though it was unassailable fact.”
  5. A Response to “The Sustainability Fraud”, Triple Pundit
    “There is no hoax with scarce resources.  Scarce resources are fairly obvious.  If we lived in a world of complete abundance, we would not even need to worry about sustainability.  What is not so obvious is how to best utilize these scarce resources.   This is where sustainability comes into play.”


  1. Sustainability Officially an Option at University of Arkansas, Arkansas Business
    The University is launching an undergraduate minor in sustainability this fall.
  2. Assessing Sustainability Education and Student Learning at Green Mountain College, Second Nature
    A detailed description of Green Mountain College’s transformation – a model of what an overhaul of higher ed for sustainability can look like.
  3. Newly Sustainable, Advancing Education for Sustainability
    An intern at Second Nature says she wanted to work there “Because I like the idea of saving the world.”

Campus Culture

  1. Earth Day Special Report, AASHE
    A roundup describing campus Earth Day events around the country – which included an Avatar screening, a green resume writing workshop, and a poetry slam.
  2. Sustainability Talks Missing Student Voice, The DePaulia
    DePaul’s Sustainability Initiative Task Force wants to be more effective in getting students on board. "If it doesn't impact the students, the very individuals we are here for, it will have very little impact." 
  3. PSU Strives for Sustainability, Centre Daily Times
    Penn State believes a key to its future success is “creating a sustainable university.”


  1. The Linguistic Landscape of Sustainability: Green Progeria, Environmental Leader
    “All but gone are the over-simplified ‘go green’ and ‘it’s not/is easy being green’ of the past.”

New Resources from NAS

  1. Fixing Sustainability and Sustaining Liberal Education, NAS
    The National Association of Scholars critiques the campus sustainability movement and proposes how it can be set right.
  2. Encyclopedia of Sustainability, 5th Edition, NAS
    A 5th edition of the NAS 'sustainapedia' of the key names, terms, books, colleges, and organizations in the campus sustainability movement.
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