International Workshop on Environment, Sustainability, & Education

International Workshop on Environment, Sustainability, & Education

This virtual workshop provides a venue for scholars and graduate students worldwide to share their research, to discuss work in progress, and to network with other like-minded individuals interested in the intersection of environment, sustainability, and education. Every session feature one short presentation (15-18 minutes) followed by small group discussion and Q&A. The workshop meets once a month throughout the year.

Season 4: Workshops 2023-2024

Speakers: Jiwon Kim

Title: Interdisciplinary Instruction for Sustainability: Teacher Training for Climate Change Education

Abstract: This presentation explores interdisciplinary instruction for sustainability as exemplary practice for necessary teacher training, especially in light of the 2020 New Jersey Student Learning Standards highlighting the importance of integrating climate change across all grade levels and content areas. While acknowledging this progressive step, there is a large emphasis on the significance of effective implementation through appropriate teaching approaches and well-prepared teachers. As climate issues are stated as interdisciplinary in nature and require interdisciplinary solutions, inquiry-based and problem-based learning is advocated. This approach allows for a richer understanding of complex issues and equips students with problem-solving skills, critical thinking abilities, and a more holistic view of real-world problems like climate change. Furthermore, the presentation draws insights from Monmouth University's interdisciplinary elementary education major, where capstone courses address UN Sustainable Development Goals related to climate crisis, environment, equity, social justice, poverty, race, and gender. The effectiveness of this interdisciplinary teaching model is supported by an analysis of 5-year student data, including teaching projects, discussions, surveys, and reflections. The presentation concludes by emphasizing the shared responsibility of climate change education and the collective commitment to preparing educators, as well as proposing ideas and resources for teacher preparation and effective approaches in K-12 classrooms to inspire meaningful action in future generations

Speakers: Joshua L. DeVincenzo

Title: Enhancing Capacity in Adult Climate Literacy: Investigating Sustainability Mindsets in the U.S. Emergency Management Profession

Abstract:This presentation delves into the critical intersection of climate literacy and emergency management in the U.S., addressing the learning needs of professionals grappling with the impacts of climate change. By conducting a collective case study with six certified emergency management professionals, the study explored their experiences and perceptions through surveys, interviews, and Sustainability Mindset Indicator assessments. Key findings highlighted a growing awareness among emergency managers of diverse climate impacts and emphasized the importance of localized information. A preference for practical, long-term thinking training emerged, emphasizing the integration of climate change knowledge into existing emergency management frameworks. Participants highlighted resource constraints and underscored the need for role refinement and cross-sector collaboration to address climate challenges effectively. Informed by Sustainability Mindset Principles, this research offers valuable insights for shaping future adult climate literacy programs, bridging the gap between emergency management and climate science practitioners, and fostering a comprehensive understanding of climate's far-reaching effects.

Speakers: Giuila Tasquier

Title: Embedding a Transformative Dimension in Teaching and Learning Climate Change

Abstract: Dealing with the threatening challenges that characterise our era requires the development of knowledge and skills to navigate uncertainty and complexity of science as part of everyday life. How can we support school students in transforming the base of knowledge and experiences to become agents of transformative change as current complex societal challenges require? We address this broader question through a study framed within the Horizon2020 SEAS project (, aimed at promoting new forms of scientific literacy and skills to empower students to become agents of change. The project conceives school science as involving learning and transformation across three spheres where both individuals and their institutional contexts change as participants gain agency. The presentation at the international workshop will introduce the approach and an exemplary study that have been illustrated in the paper titled "Scientific Literacies for Change Making: Equipping the Young to Tackle Current Societal Challenges" (freely available here:


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Speakers: Jeremy Jimenez  & Miranda Kistner

Title: Concerned but Confused: University students' knowledge and perceptions of climate change, and how they plan to address it in their future personal and professional lives.

Abstract: This article explores university students’ knowledge and concern level towards climate change, as well as potential roles they see themselves playing as teachers in a world increasingly affected by its impacts. A survey of 135 university students was conducted at SUNY Cortland, a medium-size state university in Upstate New York. Results show that these university students (among them pre-service teachers) are highly concerned about the potential impacts of climate change, especially for future generations. While they demonstrate some accurate knowledge of climate change, many hold many misconceptions about its causes and consequences. In articulating how they can or do respond to lessening their own impacts, they mostly prioritize what many researchers consider low-impact mitigative actions. Concerning education, our sample of pre-service teachers think climate change education is important and they plan to address it in their classrooms by transferring information to students about climate change. However, their gaps in knowledge raise questions about how accurately they will be transferring this information to students, as well as what crucial pieces of climate change education they will not be able to provide students given their current understanding of the issue. The article concludes with a discussion of the limitations of the current ways higher education institutions incorporate climate change and some suggestions to how they might approach teaching about climate change differently to have a longer lasting impact.


Speakers: Jay Shuttleworth

Title: Who is responsible? A critical look at curricular materials in climate change education

AbstractWhen it comes to teaching about climate change, educators often rely on the existing texts available within their school or classroom library. However, when these texts present a range of viewpoints on the responsibility for mitigating climate change effects, how should teachers approach them? Join us in this webinar where we will delve into a spectrum-based analysis approach to guide educators in their selection and utilization of such texts. This process will equip participants with the tools to critically evaluate both textual and visual depictions of climate change responsibilities. We will explore a diverse range of elementary-level trade books, assessing their strengths, weaknesses, and potential ambiguities in depicting who bears responsibility for climate change and the actions that should be taken, if any.

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Season 3: Workshops 2022-2023

Speakers: Péter Bagoly-Simó

TitleSubject-specific Knowledge and Education for Sustainable Development 

AbstractDoes Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) contribute to a better knowledge acquisition in school subjects? Do school subjects contribute enough to foster ESD? Following a brief conceptualization of sustainable development and ESD, this presentation will look into knowledge configurations in formal education. While a range of disciplines contributed to the debate, perspectives from the History of Education, Sociology of Education, and Subject Education will constitute the starting point for this presentation. Of particular interest are the ties between subject-specific knowledge and cross-curricular objectives, such as ESD, in competencies-based education. The presentation will use a range of examples from curriculum, textbook, and educational media studies to highlight empirical findings.

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Speakers: Phoebe Wagner

Title: A Compendium of Futures: Teaching Solarpunk as a Response to Climate Grief

AbstractPhoebe Wagner examines the uses of solarpunk, a subgenre of science fiction, as a classroom tool to imagine environmental futures that inspire rather than cause despair. Speculative literature imagines new narratives and impacts our daily lives already, whether it’s the invention of the cell phone inspired by Star Trek or words like “cyberspace” lifted from William Gibson’s Neuromancer. By reimagining the future and the past, Wagner argues that speculative literature provides tools that can change the present. The subgenre of solarpunk offers a unique response to climate despair through imagining and working toward more sustainable and equitable futures. With a focus on community building and hope through action, solarpunk allows students to not just imagine futures beyond environmental collapse but also demonstrates ways to achieve those futures. Wagner will provide several story examples and teaching strategies for employing the solarpunk subgenre in the classroom.  


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Speakers: Samantha Lindgren

Title: Youth Sustainability Education in International Energy and Agriculture Development Projects

AbstractSamantha Lindgren is an Assistant Professor of Sustainability Education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She critically examines renewable energy and sustainable agriculture projects in low- and middle-income countries and advocates for partnerships with educational organizations, specifically for the use of informal youth- and family-oriented sustainability education programming, to improve the appropriateness and relevance of these projects. This talk will discuss longitudinal evidence from an informal energy education program in Namibia and formal agricultural education in Cambodia as well as the broad implications each have for environmental sustainability, community resiliency, and culturally-appropriate development work. This work, in part, has motivated the need for a new Sustainability Education concentration at UIUC, currently in the early stages of development.

Additional Resources


Lindgren, S. A. (2020). Clean cooking for all? A critical review of behavior, stakeholder engagement, and adoption for the global diffusion of improved cookstoves. Energy Research & Social Science, 68

Alrawashdeh, G. S., Lindgren, S., Reyes, M., & Pisey, S. (2022). Engaging youth at school to advance sustainable agriculture and inspire future farming: evidence from Cambodia. The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 1-18. 


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Speakers: Linda Wright & Sarah Duer

Title: Sustainability and the Environment in Early Childhood Education: A Portraiture of the Hollingworth Preschool

Abstract: The Harvard Center for the Developing Child (2021) offers persuasive evidence that the most critical period for establishing the architectural foundation of the brain is between the prenatal months through age 3.  Within a supportive and collaborative environment, robust stable brain development continues through age 5. These early childhood years are the optimal time for children to embed lifelong dispositions, a sense of agency and empowerment, and an interconnectedness between self, others, and the Earth. It naturally follows that this time must include what is vitally important. These experiences will be carried into adulthood shaping a sense of self, values, and responsibility. 

Early childhood programs must immerse children in developmentally appropriate and authentic environmental and sustainability practices throughout the day. Yet, research points that the absence of and resistance to integrating ESE into early childhood education is not uncommon (Elliott, S. & Davis, J. 2009). A more recent analysis of publications concludes that while research has increased, papers largely focus on science and the environment (Somerville M, & Williams, C. 2015). As we continue to immerse ourselves in the literature, engage in site visits, and exchange conversations with colleagues, we find that in early childhood the focus is narrow. As ASCD (2019) states ESE in, “early childhood … start(s) with gardening.”

At Hollingworth Preschool, on the campus of Teachers College, Columbia University, we hold a deep commitment interweaving ESE into our interdisciplinary approach and the rhythm of each day as we authentically live this mission with the children, teachers, and loved ones. Our preservice and inservice teachers engage in reflection, cycles of inquiry and professional learning to learn and share ideas Our loved ones join us for book talks and conversations. At Hollingworth there is a deep sense of community, a culture of care, and a strong home school connection. Thus, this is a necessary imperative of work. 

The children’s sense of wonder, curiosity, creativity, and agency engender a deep and constant love for the Earth and their place as its caretakers. As we engage in the daily practices of reducing, reusing, and composting; ensure an optimal environment for our abundant plants; and strive to minimize our carbon footprint; we grow the children’s agency.  We honor the children’s countless questions through place based learning as well as citizen scientists as we track migration patterns and phenology. The children share natural artifacts pulled out of pockets and backpacks. Huddle together, they  grapple with many ideas as we listen and they lead the way. These precious specimens (only collected when no longer alive) are placed on our special table where children can draw, observe with a hand lens, and talk about why everything is so important to both ourselves and the Earth. When children pose an inquiry, we scaffold them as they set up trials, observe, make prototypes, and become the experts. Our classroom library includes a large collection of children’s literature, many written and illustrated by indigenous authors. From these books we learn about sustainability, the environment, and how we care for the Earth. As we read, the children are always making a connection to their own experiences.  We also sing as the music captures their souls about “this pretty planet.” And finally, our classroom is filled with manipulatives created from natural materials as well as from companies who use recycled products. As we present the fullness of this approach during our talk, we will highlight some of our favorite material, children’s books, songs, and more. 

Why do we do all of this? We know this is the critical time for children to become caretakers of the Earth, to fall in love with nature, to learn daily practices, and to know that their voice and actions are empowering. We are guided by the teachings of Maxine Greene and Rachel Carson, our two North Stars. As Maxine tells us, part of teaching is helping people create themselves. Rachel calls upon us to nurture this creation by always being mindful that it is not half so important to know as to feel. Their legacy centers us as we carry out this essential work. What could be more worthy?


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Speakers: Dafna Gan & Oren Pizmony-Levy

TitleDon’t Look Up: Teachers Navigating Between Different Global Educational Movements in Times of Climate Crisis

Abstract: Climate Change Education (CCE) is a global movement that seeks to transform teaching and learning as means to empower climate action and enhance climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience. Like many other educational movements (e.g., Environmental Education and Human Rights Education) CCE does not operate in a vacuum. Rather, CCE works in the context of other movements, such as test-based accountability and child-centered pedagogy. Yet, we know little about how teachers navigate between these movements. We present results from a survey experiment in Israel (n=500) that examines how common descriptions of school culture (i.e., orientation towards test-based accountability or child-centered pedagogy) and teacher characteristics shape teachers’ engagement with CCE. We find that although the majority of respondents endorse the scientific consensus about climate change and support CCE, less than one-fifth of respondents (16.9%) report teaching about climate change. Experienced teachers, science teachers, and teachers who are more concerned about climate change are all more likely to report teaching about climate change. Further, we find that teachers perceive CCE is more challenging when schools focus on test-based accountability, compared to child-centered pedagogy. Analysis of open-ended responses indicates the effect of test-based accountability is attributable to the perception of the movement as narrowing down the school curriculum. We discuss the implications of these and other findings for the development of CCE policy in Israel and worldwide

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Speakers: Hilary Inwood

Title: Teacher Education as Climate Action: Developing a Community-based, Collaborative Approach

Abstract: All levels of education have a responsibility to support the widespread cultural shifts needed to ensure equitable, just and sustainable communities, so why isn’t education being positioned as key sites for climate action?  Teacher education programs in particular offer the potential for creating a ripple effect in climate action in communities, given their influence on preservice and practicing teachers’ professional learning. Join Dr. Hilary Inwood for an introduction of how teacher educators at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto are working in partnership with local school boards and NGOs to develop a collaborative approach to deepening climate action with K-12 teachers and their students.


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Speakers: Thomas Hoffmann

Title: How to teach global challenges like climate change? A solution focused teaching approach.

Abstract: Climate change and many other global challenges do not only determine our presence but especially our future throughout the 21st century and therefore are rightly thematized  at school all around the globe. But how do we teach these topics and should we teach these topics best? Lesson and teaching analysis show that most of the lessons on these topics start with destructive pictures of starving polar bears, burning forests or heavy industrial emissions and focus on the problem while  suggested solutions are hardly discussed. Against this background we do have to ask what we might cause with this problem focused teaching culture. Therefore the presentation will discuss whether we might reach more students with a solution focused teaching approach.


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Speakers: Athanasia Chatzifotiou

Title: Who is the ‘guardian of the sea’? A Narrative Practice Approach analysis of a short story book on the main character’s environmental identity construction

Abstract: This project used a story book for young readers (aged 6-8) to explore environmental identity features and their potential impact upon its young readers. A variety of different units of analysis from the narrative practice approach were employed to explore: a. how the story’s narrative constructs the environmental identity of the main character, b. what kind of environmental identity it promotes and c. whether reading a story can be considered as a ‘proxy’ of a ‘formative’ childhood experience in relation to the environment. 

The analysis showed a gradual construction of the main character’s environmental identity; moving from passivity and ignorance to agency and knowledge. However, the notion of agency was rather limited to an individualistic agency that can potentially empower young readers to act on a local level without helping them to see environmental issues in a wider societal context. Finally, the idea of reading a story as a ‘formative’ experience is discussed in relation to the aforementioned findings and relevant literature.


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Season 2: Workshops 2021-2022

Speakers: Dani Friedrich

Title: Comics and the expansion of our ecological imagination

Abstract: Mainstream superhero comics have for the most part been reluctant to propose radical departures from the status quo. Following the need to publish one or two issues per month, our caped crusaders have avoided using their fantastical powers to reinvent their worlds from the ground up. However, the engagement between popular culture and our imaginations always has the potential to produce a surplus that goes beyond whatever is presented to us as a given. How do superheroes refusing to fight monsters, villains that threaten to wipe out humanity in the name of nature, and living islands open up possibilities to create different eco-futures?


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Speakers: Andres Sandoval Hernandez, Maria Magdalena Isac, Diego Carrasco,  Daniel Miranda 

Title: Measuring indicators on education for sustainable development and global citizenship education with International Large-Scale Assessments

Abstract: When UN Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there was not much discussion about how these goals were going to be measured. As we enter the Decade of Action, deciding on a measurement strategy for all SDGs and their targets has become a pressing issue. We will present a recently developed strategy for assessing two indicators that embody tolerance, respect and sustainable development:

Indicator 4.7.4: Percentage of students by age group (or education level) showing adequate understanding of issues relating to global citizenship and sustainability.

Indicator 4.7.5: Percentage of 15-year-old students showing proficiency in knowledge of environmental science and geoscience.

Our measurement strategy is based on International Large-Scale Assessments (ILSAs) in education and includes a conceptual framework, measurement models, a process to generate proficiency scores, and a method for establishing a threshold of ‘adequate’ and ‘satisfactory’ performance for Indicators 4.7.4 and 4.7.5, respectively. This measurement strategy has been reviewed and endorsed by the UIS’ Technical Cooperation Group on the Indicators for SDG 4-Education 2030 (TCG), which is responsible for the development and maintenance of the thematic indicator framework for the follow-up and review of SDG 4. The resulting scores are available on the UIS database.


See additional resources herehere, and here


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Speakers: Matthew Aruch

Title: From Grassroots to Global Policy: Mapping the Education Landscape of EARTHDAY.ORG

Abstract: Emerging from the first Earth Day in 1970, EARTHDAY.ORG’s (EDO) mission is to diversify, educate, and activate the world’s largest environmental movement. With education at the core of its mission, this presentation maps out the trajectory and landscape of EDO’s education program as it evolved to include a broad range of program operations ranging from mailing Earth Day curriculum resources to green school infrastructure to driving global policy networks and action around climate and environmental literacy. As an insider (EDO’s Director of Global Education)/ outsider (new to the organization), the presentation takes a holistic, but critical look at EDO’s education program history, highlighting challenges and opportunities for relatively small organizations like EDO with a well recognized brand. After an overview, I present ideas for a conceptual model and roadmap for future EDO program opportunities, asking the audience to participate in a discussion about Earth Day’s relevance and spaces to leverage EDO’s organization and programming into the broader global education landscape. Finally, the presentation offers pathways for audience members to register, partner, or participate with EARTHDAY.ORG in the lead up to Earth Day 2022.


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Speakers: Laure Kloetzer

Title:  Discussing students' ecosophies thanks to science-fiction in Higher Education

Abstact: For the past four years, we have been teaching environmental psychology at Bachelor's level, with an original approach using science fiction writing and more precisely the protokools invented by the Zanzibar collective. This conference will examine this attempt from two complementary angles: on the one hand, from a pedagogical point of view: how can science fiction help us make students think about their own relationship with nature? On the other hand, from a scientific point of view: what do we learn through the dreamed or distressing worlds constructed by our students about their current relationship with nature?


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Speakers:  Netta Bar Yosef Paz

Title: “A Word for Nature”*: Environmental Education and Mindfulness in a Literature Course

Abstact: The presentation will share an interdisciplinary experiential environmental and contemplative course at Kibbutzim College of Education and a research conducted on this course. Entitled “Nature and Me: Literature and Mindfulness in the Dessert”, the course is exceptionally co-taught by an Ecologist and a literary scholar, part of students’ teacher-training-program. The course includes two-day base camping and hiking in the Negev Desert and on-campus meetings in the Kibbutzim Center for Contemplative Pedagogy. Combining Field-Ecology, Literature and Mindfulness, the course suggests a unique experience of slowing down, creative familiarity with Literature, contemplation and dialogical culture – with oneself, with others, and with Nature. Additionally, I

will share an on-going research we are conducting, aimed at exploring the effect of this unique course on the students’ perception of outdoor contemplative learning experience of literary texts within Natural Environment.


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Speakers:  Yaa Oparabea Ampofo & Nancy Kendall

Title: Human-Earth Relationships: Learning from Representations of Climate and Environmental Change in Ghanaian and Malawian School Curricula

Abstact: Youth in Sub-Saharan Africa are extremely vulnerable to the negative consequences of climate change and environmental degradation. The interest in education for sustainable development (ESD) to support African youth in learning about and adapting to climate change is growing in response. This study examines the messages about human-earth relationships, environmental change, and responsibilities for mitigation that are presented in official grade 8 Ghana and Malawi textbooks. Utilizing a Political Economy framework, it shows that the curricula normalize an anthropocentric earthview that disappears global power dynamic, neglects widespread commodification of scarce resources, fails to question the developmentalist dream of endless growth, and translates local ecological contexts into universal commodities. We discuss the need to develop educational theories and practices that account for the complexity and deep contextuality of human-earth relationship if we hope to help students around the world envision alternative ways more likely to ensure species survival.

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Speakers:  Esteban Villalobos- Araya, Ignacio Fernández, Rodrigo Pérez, and Maria Isabel Mattas

Title: Urban vegetation, schools, students, and neighborhoods: An outlook from Chile

Abstract: The following presentation introduces a research agenda and empirical work focused on placing schools as infrastructure that can support Sustainable Development Goals, connecting SDGs 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and 4 (quality education). We combine approaches and evidence from urban vegetation studies, ecosystem services, and the role of schools, green spaces to improve the quality of llife of students, surrounding communities, and cities. Doing so, we ask, can schools help improve access to green spaces? Can schools reduce inequalities of access to green spaces? And, if so, do schools with better green spaces support healthier and happier students’ school experiences?

Using satellite images to identify schools’ vegetation characteristics and socioemotional indicators of students, we test those questions in schools of Santiago, Chile. To date, it is the first study in the Latin American Region that measures the impacts of school vegetation on students’ socioemotional indicators across cohorts from primary to secondary students observing important impacts on self-esteem and motivation, school coexistence, and civic participation, but not as much on declared students’ healthier lifestyles. We discuss the results connecting with international and comparative education discussions mostly focused on curricular and pedagogical aspects, resituating the place of schools’ greenery on students’ psychological and physiological renovation processes, as key for learning. We also argue that improving schools’ green spaces can not only improve students’ learning and social interaction experiences but also potentially help to improve local and city-level access to green spaces.


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Speaker: Dr. Nimrod Aloni

Title: Ecohumanist Worldview for Sustaining the Flourishing of Humanity and Nature

Abstract: The hottest news and public debates in the last few years, beside the corona pandemic, were undoubtedly focusing on the environmental crises due to global warming, the devastating results of it all over the world, and the real threat it poses for the well being and quality of life of the young generations. In the face of this threat and drawing on diverse thinkers such as Spinoza, Rousseau, Russell, and Camus – and Dewey’s challenging question of “what the known demands of us” – I will be arguing in my presentation that we are in urgent need of an ecohumanist educational paradigm that would promise the young that there will be a tomorrow – a sustainable future for both humanity and nature. 

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Speaker: Dr. Anita Bakshi

Title: Our Land, Our Stories Project: Superfund & Indigenous land in the USA

Abstract: This talk will present background on the history of Indigenous land and the Superfund program for highly contaminated sites in the USA. It highlights work from the second edition of the Our Land, Our Stories book project and the environmental justice story of the Ramapough Lunaape Turtle Clan and the Ringwood Mines Superfund Site.  It is not possible to understand the impacts of environmental pollution through scientific data alone.  This land is not just a Superfund site; it is also home and a place of memory and connection. 

This book examines all layers, including the deep history of this land: not just the history of what happened - but also the history of how that history was written, and by whom it was written.  It depicts the Turtle Clan community and how they were cast as "outcasts" by outsiders.  This collaborative project makes space for different voices to be heard, on their own terms, and shares the intertwined story of racial and environmental injustice.  Acknowledging that complicated information (historical and scientific) is difficult for readers to parse, it presents careful scholarly and archival research in tandem with visualizations. We share Ramapough stories, in their own words, and on their own terms. 

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Season 1: Workshops 2020-2021

Speaker: Erika Kessler

Title: Climate change concern among youth: Examining the role of civics and institutional trust across 22 countries

Abstract: Although scholars have long documented perceptions of climate change and the public’s evolving response to the perceived risk it poses, only more recently have these analyses begun to examine youth and their views of the issue. Given that education has traditionally been considered a long-term strategy to promote sustainability among youth, this article conducts a cross-national and comparative study of students from 22 countries to evaluate factors commonly associated with youth perceptions of climate change as a threat to the world’s future. In doing so, this study finds that promoting institutional trust and civic knowledge may increase student climate change concern to a greater degree than other, more emphasized, curricular and co-curricular environmental school opportunities. These new findings reveal potential pathways for future climate change education research, policy, and practice to help promote greater climate awareness and action among youth.

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Speaker: Dr. Janna Goebel

Title: Imagining Education Futures Beyond the Human

Abstract: Education systems are implicated in the climate crisis. In this presentation, Dr. Goebel will highlight the intersections of education and climate justice by reconceptualizing education as learning through relationality with all that is ‘beyond’ the human. She will share findings from a 6-month ethnographic study of how families, schools, and the natural world are interconnected in a coffee-producing region of Brazil. Drawing on visual and audio data and using speculative fabulation in this presentation, Dr. Goebel will reframe and reimagine how learning through human-nature relationships matters in building more sustainable futures.

Dr. Janna Goebel will be joining Arizona State University’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory as an Assistant Professor of Sustainability Education in the College of GlobalFutures’ School of Sustainability in the fall. Her scholarly work focuses on education’s role in responding to the climate crisis. Dr. Goebel’s recent and forthcoming publications explore childhoods and learning in the Anthropocene as well as the use of international large-scale assessments to measure education quality in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. Dr. Goebel has taught students of all ages and from more than 35 countries in courses such as English, Writing, Economics of Education, and Education in the Anthropocene.

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Speaker: Dr. Antti Rajala

Title: Pedagogy of concrete utopias: Promoting youth climate activism in formal education

Date: May 12th, 2021

In this talk Dr. Antti Rajala discusses pedagogical approaches in formal education settings for responding to youth's anguish about climate change and for supporting the development of youth's active citizenship and activism for sustainable futures. In particular, he examines the pedagogical potential of the concept of concrete utopia to support diverse youth in envisioning alternative futures and enacting them in the present.

Dr. Antti Rajala, Ph.D. (Education) works as a post-doctoral researcher in University of Oulu. Currently, Rajala leads the project Pedagogy of concrete utopias: Fostering youth agency and climate activism in formal education (Academy of Finland and Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation, 2020-2023). He has conducted video-based and ethnographic research in schools and early childhood settings on the topics of global education, cultures of compassion, and agency in education.

Pedagogy of Concrete Utopias: Promoting youth climate activism in formal education



Speaker: Dr. Felicia Mensah and Dr. Denise Mahfood

Title: Culturally Relevant Sustainability Teaching 

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Speaker: Dr. Jing Lin 

Title: From Anthropocentrism to Cosmo-Ubuntu: Enlightenment from Teachings of the Daoist Masters and the Buddha

Abstract: This event provides an opportunity for us to consider how anthropocentrism has played a destructive role in our world, and how we can regain our sense of Cosmo-Ubuntu with all beings and existence. Through retelling stories told by Daoist Master Zhuangzi and stories about the Buddha giving his life to save animals, the talk hopes to stimulate discussions on these questions: What has led us to the current state of ecological crises? Can we treat other species as our equals with great compassion? Are all beings intelligently and divinely playing a unique and vital role in the cosmos supporting and enhancing each other? How can we forego anthropocentrism and construct a sense of Cosmo-Ubuntu and interbeing? Painfully witnessing the great species extinction happening in our world, what types of learning do we need to promote in order to embrace Love as the universal energy and consciousness for a World for All?

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Speaker: Iris Alkaher

Title: Is Population Growth an Environmental Problem? Teachers’ Perceptions and Their Attitudes Toward Including it in their Teaching

Abstract: It is widely agreed among scientists from various disciplines that human population growth (PG) dramatically contributes to the environmental crisis and plays a major factor in the damage caused to environmental resources as well as to degradation in the quality of life and well-being of people around the world. Despite the urgency to address PG as a severe problem, it is mostly absent from worldwide public discourse, and from national agendas and policies institutions around the world. In my study, I compared the perspectives of E-teachers who have an academic background in environmental-oriented programs and non-E teachers who have an academic background in non-environmental-oriented programs towards PG as an environmental problem and including this topic in the classroom. Our findings indicate that the E-teachers’ capability to view environmental issues through a “whole system” lens was greater. The percentage of the teachers who support including PG in their teaching was significantly higher among the E-teachers than the non-E teachers. These findings suggest that an academic background in environmental studies contributes to teachers’ motivation, willingness, and probably their teaching capacities and confidence, to include such a complex topic in their school teaching. However, similar concerns were reported by all the teachers in relation to engaging students in discourse around such a controversial issue, focusing on socio-cultural-political reasons. These challenges reflect the dominant Israeli national pronatalist ideologies and the sociocultural norms and religious values that encourage high birth rate. This reality highlights the need to assist teachers who are willing to include controversial environmental issues in their teaching but struggle to do that.

Link to paper

Iris Alkaher is a currently lecturer in the Faculty of Science at the Kibbutzim College of Education, Technology and the Arts in Tel-Aviv. Her research interests and expertise include Environmental and Sustainable Education in higher education and in multicultural settings.

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Speakers: BrightFlame

Title: Storying a Regenerative Future 

Abstract: Cognitive science shows we are wired for stories: our minds process narrative, not data. It’s how we make sense of and navigate the world; it’s how we change the world. Stories shape our imagination and our ideas of the possible. How can we use the power of story to help us envision a positive future, and inspire people to want to work towards it? In this experiential workshop—a change in format for the holidays—we’ll imagine a sustainable, regenerative future and discuss ways to apply this visioning as pedagogy, as curriculum content, and as outreach and action. 

BrightFlame is known for her teaching and writing that blend spirituality, science and activism towards a just, regenerative world. She re-stories our world through her speculative fiction and holds a masters degree in educational psychology.

Storying a Regenerative Future with BrightFlame PPT

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SpeakersSándor Csonka & Attila Varga

Title:  Free Exploration in Nature and the Danger of Inappropriate EE - A preliminary study

Abstract: Nowadays, Environmental Education programs primarily provide opportunities for organized teaching and studying controlled by educators. As far as free explorational experiences in nature are concerned, their positive effects on the development of environmental consciousness are often overlooked. This presentation summarizes the key findings of our study (Csonka and Varga, 2019) based on which free explorational experiences in nature should be made a very important part of children’s life so that they can later develop a strong ecological identity. Interestingly, the firmly structured EE programs are more likely to trigger negative emotions towards nature. Also a surprising result will be presented that it is likely that the programs of eco-schools contain less free exploration in nature than programs of non-eco-schools (based on Csonka, 2019). Finally, we are also going to demonstrate the implementation possibilities of free exploration in nature in curricular and extracurricular programs, especially in PE education, sporting events and camps (based on Csonka, 2020).  



Speaker: Dr. Aaron Benavot

Title:  Integrating Cognitive, Social and Emotional, and Behavioural Learning in Education for Sustainability: Insights from comparative research

Abstract: This presentation summarizes key findings from a recent UNESCO report I coauthored entitled “Educational content up close: Examining the learning dimensions of Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education.” The report explores whether, and to what extent, the three learning dimensions -- cognitive, social and emotional and behavioral -- are prioritized in commitments to ESD (and GCED) at different education levels in a diverse selection of ten countries. Drawing on the study’s analyses, the presentation discusses which contexts and conditions are more conducive to an integrated approach to the teaching of education for sustainability.   

Integrating Cognitive, Social and Emotional, and Behavioural Learning in Education for Sustainability: Insights from comparative research

Speaker: Dr. Orla Kelly

Title: Educational Attainment and the Carbon Intensity of Wellbeing: A Regional Analysis

Abstract: Education is widely regarded as an important social mechanism for enhancing human wellbeing. So much so, that the goal of raising nations’ rates of per capita educational attainment has been part of global development policy since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR 1948, Article 26). Policymakers have included it in many subsequent international treaties and frameworks, including the current Sustainable Development Agenda (SDG 4). However, much remains unknown about the macro-level relationship between educational attainment and global sustainability. In this research, I empirically assess the relationship between per capita rates of educational attainment and the carbon intensity of wellbeing (CIWB), across six world regions, using data for the period 1960-2010. CIWB is a ratio of CO2 per capita/life expectancy. It is a widely used metric for socio-ecological sustainability within environmental sociology and other disciplines. I also consider how regionally specific historical, cultural, and geopolitical contexts across these regions may have influenced the relationship between education and sustainability.    

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Speakers: Dr. Elsa Lee and Sarah Stepney

Title: "Making meaning in an animated school "

Abstract: This presentation will discuss the work of a Cambridgeshire primary school through the lens of Kath Weston’s posthumanist take on animacy.  The school that we are writing from has engaged with two external partners to develop adventurous, creative and child-led approaches to learning, both inside its classrooms and outside in the school’s playgrounds.  This approach to exploring the curriculum has engendered a different way of being in the school for both the children and the adults it comprises. Using the heuristic of an animated school, we will reflect on how posthumanist conceptualizations of materiality, relationality and temporality are entangled in this space, and what this means for how the children and adults in the school engage in processes of meaning making and learning that matters.  

Speaker: Dr. Dafna Gan

Title: Environmental Education during Covid-19

Environmental Education during Covid-19

Speakers: Dr. Oren Pizmony-Levy, Dr. Carine Verschueren, and Erika Kessler 

Title: Coronavirus Outbreak and Climate Change: Findings from a Public Opinion Survey in the United States

View PresentationCoronavirus Outbreak and Climate Change Workshop

About the Workshop

Oren Pizmony-Levy (

Dafna Gan (

Building of the success of two-year partnership between Teachers College (TC) and Kibbutzim College of Education, Technology and the Arts in Israel (KC), we are launching the International Workshop on Environment, Sustainability, and Education. The Workshop will meet virtually once a month between July 2020 and July 2021 (see schedule below)…with little ecological footprint! Workshop materials including presentations, handouts, recording, etc. will be archived on this website for continuous use.

 Over the past two years, Teachers College and Kibbutzim College have collaborated to enhance their curriculum around the intersection of environment, sustainability, and education. In addition to continuous meetings between professors/instructors, the collaboration also included several meetings between students at both institutions. In these meetings, TC students shared their case studies exploring the ways in which public schools in New York City engage with sustainability, and their counterparts at KC presented their action research projects on environmental education in schools and the broader Israeli communities. One of the immediate takeaways from these virtual interactions was how they offered students a unique perspective on the role of global and local context in promoting environmental and sustainability education.

While developing the Workshop, we recognize the many groups and organizations who already meets on a regular basis in national, regional, and international conferences. Take for example the scholarly associations with a mission to engage this work, such as the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) and the Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa (EEASA). Or, the dedicated Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and networks at larger education associations American Educational Research Association (AERA), Comparative and International Education Society (CIES US), and the European Education Research Association (EERA). We envision the Workshop as a space that brings together and bridges individuals who attend national, regional, and international conferences. The Workshop is intended to facilitate an ongoing discussion between annual conferences and connect scholars that might not yet know each other yet but share common interest and scholarship. The Workshop will be crafted in interactive ways so that there is maximum opportunity to network with other likeminded people.

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