OOS 30 - We are all Connected: From Environmental Justice Education and Local Community Involvement to Earth Stewardship

Wednesday, August 10, 2011: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
14, Austin Convention Center
Organizer: Leanne M. Jablonski
Co-organizer: Ana Elisa Pérez-Quintero
Moderator: Leanne M. Jablonski
Human systems are fragile and depend on the rest of the natural world (Millenium Ecosystem Assessment 2006, Ecosystems and human well-being: synthesis. Island Press, Washington, D.C., ), demonstrating the importance of ecological understanding for the development of viable solutions to the challenges facing our species. Many local communities engaged in confronting environmental justice (EJ) use problem-based learning, i.e. finding science-based solutions to their issues through ecological research and education. Other communities rely on the application of traditional ecological knowledge. Such localized ecology or conservation approaches contain teachable moments where understanding the connections to global issues can be advanced. Within these scenarios, earth stewards can develop and define themselves and articulate approaches needed for a more sustainable planet. This organized oral features case studies of diverse local communities (i.e: those undergoing environmental hardships, youth-led groups, faith-based, indigenous, and academic communities) working to make the connections between ecology education and environmental justice for earth stewardship. Examples range from large urban areas such as Chicago, to the tropics of Puerto Rico to the far Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park in Australia. The session features diversity in the geographical representation, ages of speakers, and pedagogical style of both formal classroom and non-formal settings. Presenters will explore: 1) Ways in which ecologists can more effectively participate and partner with local and cultural initiatives. 2) Ways in which different approaches benefit local or cultural communities. 3) Which ecological knowledge or approaches best foster understanding of the connections between local environmental justice and earth stewardship concerns. 4) How ecologists and local and cultural communities can learn from one another and form better partnerships. 5) How ecologists change their research, education and outreach to become more effective in advancing earth stewardship EJ focuses on the unequal distribution of resources and environmental quality, but also considers cultural inequalities in environmental identity. The known contribution of biotic diversity to ecosystem resilience can apply to human cultures (Maffi et.al. 2010 Biocultural Diversity Conservation: A Global Sourcebook. Earthscan). Diversity loss becomes a pressing EJ issue when political and economical systems promote homogeneous responses to conservation challenges. Traditional and local ecological knowledge and the participation of diverse cultural groups play key roles in community resilience. To sustain bio-cultural diversity, we need to develop innovative EJ education programs and EJ-focused policy and research agendas that achieve active community participation in ecological issues.
1:30 PM
Thinking globally, acting locally - what does this mean for today’s ecologists?
Ana Elisa Pérez-Quintero, University of Puerto Rico - Río Piedras and SEEDS; Leanne M. Jablonski, Marianist Environmental Education Center
2:30 PM
Cultivating a Sense of Place: Congregations Caring for Land and People
Peter Bakken, Wisconsin Council of Churches and Interfaith Power and Light; Jeff Wild, Advent Lutheran Church; Bret Shaw, University of Wisconsin - Madison; Jenny M. Seifert, University of Wisconsin - Madison
2:50 PM
Making the connections through curriculum changes: Developing environmental justice courses for graduate students in ecology & environmental sciences
Jessica R. Miesel, Michigan State University; Leanne M. Jablonski, Marianist Environmental Education Center; George A. Middendorf, Howard University; Charles H. Nilon, University of Missouri
3:10 PM
3:20 PM
From Chicago’s Urban Ecosystems to a Global Vision
Kellen Marshall, University of Illinois at Chicago; Tiffany Simons Chan, Eden Place Nature Center; Miquel Gonzalez-Meler, University of Illinois - Chicago
3:40 PM
Energy stewardship: from local environmental to global justice
John G. Waffenschmidt, Covanta Energy Corporation
4:20 PM
An unconventional academic experience: Redefining Research, Education and Community Involvement
Colibrí Sanfiorenzo-Barnhard, Grupos Ambientales Interdisciplinarios Aliados-GAIA
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