University Sustainability

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“Rethinking Education on a Changing Planet”–
Worldwatch Institute's 2017 EarthEd State of the World report

Thursday, April 20, 2017 / 9:00am - 4:00pm
Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts

The launch of the Worldwatch Institute's 2017 State of the World report, titled "Rethinking Education on a Changing Planet," will be hosted by Appalachian State University. It will be a full day event, consisting of short, punchy talks and panel discussions.

Earth education is traditionally confined to specific topics: ecoliteracy, outdoor education, environmental science. But in the coming century, on track to be the warmest in human history, every aspect of human life will be affected by our changing planet. Emerging diseases, food shortages, drought, and waterlogged cities are just some of the unprecedented challenges that today’s students will face. How do we prepare 9.5 billion people for life in the Anthropocene, to thrive in this uncharted and more chaotic future?

Answers are being developed in universities, preschools, professional schools, and even prisons around the world. In the latest volume of State of the World, a diverse group of education experts share innovative approaches to teaching and learning in a new era. Topics include systems thinking for kids; the importance of play in early education; social emotional learning; comprehensive sexuality education; indigenous knowledge; sustainable business; medical training to treat the whole person; teaching law in the Anthropocene; and more.

The Worldwatch Institute’s 2017 EarthEd State of the World report addresses schooling at all levels of development, from preschool to professional. Its lessons can inform teachers, policy makers, school administrators, community leaders, parents, and students alike. And its vision will inspire anyone who wants to prepare students not only for the storms ahead but to become the next generation of sustainability leaders.

The April 20, 2017 State of the World report argues that only by boldly adapting education do we stand a chance in adapting to our rapidly changing planet.

TThe event will emphasize that all education needs to be environmental education, and stresses that environmental education must go beyond teaching everyone to live just a bit greener. It must teach students to be bold change agents as well as equip them with the skills necessary to survive the turbulent century ahead.

This report, with contributions from 63 authors, addresses traditional environmental education topics, such as ecoliteracy, nature-based learning and systems thinking, as well as new topics essential for earth education, such as character education, social emotional learning, the importance of play, and comprehensive sex education.

Through research and outreach that inspire action, the Worldwatch Institute works to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world that meets human needs. The Institute’s top mission objectives are universal access to renewable energy and nutritious food, expansion of environmentally sound jobs and development, transformation of cultures from consumerism to sustainability, and an early end to population growth through healthy and intentional childbearing.

Founded in 1974 by Lester Brown as an independent research institute devoted to global environmental concerns, Worldwatch was quickly recognized by opinion leaders around the world for its foresight and accessible, fact-based analysis. Worldwatch develops innovative solutions to intractable problems, emphasizing a blend of government leadership, private sector enterprise, and citizen action that can make a sustainable future a reality.

Symposium Schedule

Morning session: EarthEd Fundamentals (9 AM – 12 PM EST)

Welcome from Appalachian State University Director of Sustainability | Dr. Lee Ball Jr.

Welcome from Appalachian State University Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs  | Dr. Sue Edwards

Welcome Worldwatch Institute | Ed Groark, Acting President, Worldwatch Institute

Video of highlights from Satellite Host Schools

EarthEd Fundamentals | Erik Assadourian

Ecoliteracy and Schooling for Sustainability | Michael K. Stone

Social Emotional Learning for a Challenging Future | Pamela Barker

Expanding Comprehensive Sexuality Education | Robert Engelman

Q & A panel with speakers

Lunch-break and screening of videos from satellite events (12 PM – 1 PM EST)

Afternoon Session: Higher Education Reimagined (1 PM – 4 PM EST)

Appalachian State University afternoon welcome

Afternoon introduction | Erik Assadourian

Higher Education for a Post-Growth Era | Michael Maniates

Bringing the Earth Back into Economics | Josh Farley

Agricultural Education for the Twenty-First Century | Laura Lengnick

Sustainability Education in Prisons | Joslyn Rose Trivett

Q & A panel with speakers

Panel on Sustainability Education at App State/UNC System (3 panelists)

Closing Remarks | Dr. Lee Ball

Can't attend in person? The event will also be webcast live (registration required).

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