Educational sustainability doctorate offered at UW-Stevens Point

UW-Stevens Point has a long history as a leader in sustainability practices. With a widely respected School of Education and a nationally known College of Natural Resources, it is an ideal home for a doctoral program in educational sustainability.

The program – the first Ed.D. in Educational Sustainability in the country and the first standalone doctorate offered at UW-Stevens Point – takes sustainability to a deeper level.

“When you hear ‘sustainability,’ you think of recycle, reuse and resource conservation. That’s just one aspect,” said Joy Kcenia O’Neil, assistant professor and director of Educational Sustainability at UW-Stevens Point. This program defines sustainability as an interconnected process that cultivates integrity and well-being for human and natural systems.

“This means educating about sustainability is not enough; our program will challenge students to educate for sustainability and as sustainability in their studies and professional practice,” O’Neil said.  Participants will practice understanding and responding to problems in economic, ecological and social justice contexts, in ways that promote sustainability.

Graduates will be leaders in sustainable change in education, the environment, business and communities. “Educational sustainability students will learn how to be agents of change in the world,” O’Neil said.

“The program is designed to turn your passion for education and sustainability into a career that will improve our world,” said Marty Loy, dean of the College of Professional Studies. “This is the most significant milestone since the School of Education was formed.”

Social and economic systems are inextricably linked to life support systems on the planet, O’Neil explained.  “These systems are in flux and we can no longer think about them in isolation. For example, what may be an environmental problem upstream of a watershed quickly becomes a social justice concern downstream. And let’s not forget the economics of the situation.”

A more holistic approach is needed for today’s more complex problems, O’Neil said. She completed her Ph.D in sustainability education and master’s and bachelor’s in water resource management and environmental science.

The educational sustainability curriculum has three areas of focus:

  • Sustaining learning environments
  • Sustaining civic and business communities
  • Sustaining educational systems

Course work takes sustainability learning and leadership theories and puts them into practice that will encourage students to innovate, engage and take action. Graduates will be able to transform educational systems, design ways to consider sustainable use of natural resources, foster citizen engagement and build or repurpose businesses and economies.

“This doctoral degree is applicable to many working professionals and equips people with knowledge and skills to tackle some of society’s most challenging circumstances,” said Pam Bork, director of graduate studies and professional development in UW-Stevens Point’s School of Education.

“Now more than ever, we need to restore our human and natural systems,” O’Neil said. Leaders completing this doctoral degree will be prepared for such roles as helping an educational nonprofit build sustainable learning environments, develop sustainability curriculum for an elementary school or university, guide a corporation to operationalize sustainability practices; or lead a business toward organizational change.

The program is almost completely online. One of the program highlights is to connect with local, national and global community projects through the applied residency course. It also fits well with UW-Stevens Point’s Partnership for Thriving Communities initiative, O’Neil said.

More than 60 people from diverse disciplinary backgrounds and careers across the country have already inquired about it, she said. “We will come together to build systems of teaching and learning as one way to solve some of the most pressing issues of our time.”

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In the fishing industry, gear recycling is finally catching on

Read the full story at Ensia.

In many fisheries around the world, lack of disposal options means old fishing gear finds its way back into the marine environment, where it haunts our oceans as “ghost gear” with devastating impacts. Some 640,000 metric tons (705,000 tons) of fishing gear are lost or discarded in the ocean every year, and each year this gear captures and kills, among other things, an estimated 136,000 seals, sea lions and whales. Since ghost gear accumulates around active fisheries, it can also pose an economic hardship to fishermen as it kills fish or other seafood they would otherwise harvest.

But start-up companies capable of collecting and recycling old gear and turning it into market-ready raw materials have recently emerged to help tackle the problem.

Why boards and C-suites should fuse sustainability with strategy

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

A growing number of the world’s largest companies are turning to sustainability as a strategic lens to help anticipate and navigate the complexity of the international economy, meet the expanding expectations of a growing global middle class and manage the heightened risks to their businesses from environmental and social disruptions. As a result, sustainability has migrated from the periphery to the core of business strategy and planning.

Webinar: Closing the Environmental Literacy Gap

Thu, Apr 27, 2017 12:15 PM – 1:45 PM CDT
Register at

Experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) will join The Nature Generation, a nonprofit aiming to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards, in a comprehensive discussion on our nation’s environmental literacy gap. We will explore what the current gap is; why it is relevant to our future including environmental implications as well as security, economic, and social significance; disparities within the gap itself; and effective ways to close it.

This conversation will include an extensive Q&A session allowing the audience to engage with the experts. The webinar will cover a wide range of topics within environmental literacy and education and will be of interest to students and educators, policy makers and public officials, environmental and conservation organizations, and professionals working in the environment or energy sectors.

The Nature Generation is the founder of the Green Earth Book Award, where authors who write meaningful literature around environmental priorities are celebrated; the 2017 honored authors will be announced during the conclusion of the webinar as a resource to attendees and to honor the authors commitment to environmental education. We welcome office groups and classroom registrations, and expect this to be a popular topic so register early!

Webinar: Tools for Building More Resilient Communities with Solar+Storage

Thu, Apr 6, 2017 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM CDT
Register at

Could your community benefit from clean, reliable power? In this webinar, Clean Energy Group will reintroduce the concept of building more resilient communities through the deployment of solar PV combined with battery storage (solar+storage). In addition to an overview of what resilient power is and the benefits that solar+storage can bring to a community, project director Seth Mullendore and senior finance director Rob Sanders will introduce Clean Energy Group’s new Resilient Power Toolkits. These community services and affordable housing toolkits are designed to make information on resilient power easily accessible for organizations interested increasing resiliency, reducing energy costs, and improving public health through clean energy technologies. The Resilient Power Toolkits are available at:

This webinar is a presentation of Clean Energy Group’s Resilient Power Project. Learn more at

Healthy soil is the real key to feeding the world

Read the full story in The Conversation.

One of the biggest modern myths about agriculture is that organic farming is inherently sustainable. It can be, but it isn’t necessarily. After all, soil erosion from chemical-free tilled fields undermined the Roman Empire and other ancient societies around the world. Other agricultural myths hinder recognizing the potential to restore degraded soils to feed the world using fewer agrochemicals.

When I embarked on a six-month trip to visit farms around the world to research my forthcoming book, “Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life,” the innovative farmers I met showed me that regenerative farming practices can restore the world’s agricultural soils. In both the developed and developing worlds, these farmers rapidly rebuilt the fertility of their degraded soil, which then allowed them to maintain high yields using far less fertilizer and fewer pesticides.

Their experiences, and the results that I saw on their farms in North and South Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Ghana and Costa Rica, offer compelling evidence that the key to sustaining highly productive agriculture lies in rebuilding healthy, fertile soil. This journey also led me to question three pillars of conventional wisdom about today’s industrialized agrochemical agriculture: that it feeds the world, is a more efficient way to produce food and will be necessary to feed the future.

UCSF Chemical Industry Documents Archive Goes Live

Via the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.

The UCSF Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Archive is well-known an widely used by tobacco control researchers and advocates, as well as people interested in a wide range of other topics, such as global warming deniers (many of who have histories of working for Big Tobacco).

Few people realize that the tobacco documents are now part of the larger multi-industry UCSF Industry Documents Library that has included documents from Pharma for several years.

Now we have added a third collection of documents, the new Chemical Industry Documents Archive that has been launched with nearly 2,000 documents and more to come in May and beyond.

Our first collection of documents is the Benzene Collection. It currently consists of about 2,000 documents produced during litigation in Bishop v. Shell Oil et al., a civil case about benzene exposure in the workplace. You can find more details about it on Chemical Industry Documents Archive’s Benzene Collection page.

If you’re new to Industry Documents Library and want a quick orientation to navigating the site, click the “Take a Tour” button at the top.

Also, try searching IDL’s Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Archive for documents about chemicals. A search of “benzene” returns 87,539 results!

Most important, you can search all three collections at the same time, which will help researchers, journalists, advocates and others discover important cross-industry connections.

Finally, don’t forget to head over to Chemical Industry Documents Archive’s Recommended Links, where you’ll find a handful of topically-related sites and projects, including the new Toxic Docs website from Columbia University and the City University of New York.

E.P.A. Chief, Rejecting Agency’s Science, Chooses Not to Ban Insecticide

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, moved late on Wednesday to reject the scientific conclusion of the agency’s own chemical safety experts who under the Obama administration recommended that one of the nation’s most widely used insecticides be permanently banned at farms nationwide because of the harm it potentially causes children and farm workers.

Climate Converts: The Conservatives Who Are Switching Sides on Warming

Read the full story at Yale Environment360.

It’s hardly being noticed, given the current political atmosphere in Washington. But a small yet growing number of Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians are starting to push for action on climate.

Upcycling ‘fast fashion’ to reduce waste and pollution

Read the full story in Science Daily.

The fashion industry and environmentalists are old foes, and the advent of ‘fast fashion’ has strained the relationship even more. But what if we could recycle clothes like we recycle paper, or even upcycle them?