Academic journal article The American Biology Teacher

Sustainability

Academic journal article The American Biology Teacher

Sustainability

Article excerpt

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May has finally arrived and so have the warmer months of the year. My son has been planning our garden since December. He now has tomatoes, peppers, squash, and other plants growing in our cold frame. He has begun organizing the garden spaces and ordering raspberries and grapes for planting this year. With all the plants he has planned for us to grow this year, we may be self-sustaining or at least not having to visit the grocery store for several months. But more importantly as his father and a biologist, I am very pleased that my son looks at the land we have and desires to take care of it while we strive to live off of it.

According to the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) "2009 Year of Science," May is the month to focus on sustainability and the environment. Recently I was invited to participate in a panel discussion on sustainability with a previous Director of the EPA. It was an interesting discussion on policy and implementation. Many questions were directed as to the focus of the past and current administrations on environmental concerns. During the discussion, the past EPA Director used the Brundtland Commission statement to define sustainability as: "Meeting our own needs without limiting the ability of future generations to meet their needs." Often the discussion would address the interactions that occur with sustainability between the environment, economic, and social dimensions. These are often called the pillars of sustainability. Even though how these dimensions interact was debated, the importance of sustaining our environment for future generations was the overall conclusion. When given the opportunity, I asked the previous EPA Director what teachers could do to help prepare students about sustainability and it's complex interactions. …

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