Sustainability Resources

New sustainability resources are emerging so constantly, it’s impossible (with our tiny staff) to keep this page up to date.  If you run across a resource (a website, book, film, organization, project, etc.) that you think we should feature, just contact us at bioregion<at>  Thanks!

Here are some resources being used now by faculty members participating in Curriculum for the Bioregion:

Higher Education and Sustainability

Recommended texts for courses on sustainability: In 2011-12, the “Sustainability Courses Faculty Learning Community” (a working group of 18 faculty members at 11 colleges and universities, mostly in western Washington) assembled this list of books, which they are using a variety of interdisicplinary courses and learning communities focusing on introducing sustainability concepts and topics.

Books on sustainability in higher education: most of these books are essay collections recounting strategies for advancing sustainability on campus and especially across the post-secondary curriculum. 

Sustainability organizations for institutions of higher education: The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education website keeps an up-to-date list of these organizations at both national and regional levels.

Sustainability Journals and Bulletins: are expanding rapidly; many are online. Some focus entirely on sustainability and higher education; others feature emerging sustainability practices in education as well as other sectors.

Sustainability’s Big Ideas and Learning Outcomes is a website developed by Robert Turner at University of Washington Bothell, which grew out of the work of of the Sustainability Courses faculty learning community mentioned above.  Rob Turner has created a matrix of big ideas and a substantial set of references and resources to support them.

Sustainable Economies

Earth Economics: Based here in Washington State, Earth Economics is a non-profit research initiative dedicated to “helping communities shift away from the failed economic policies of the past, towards an approach that is both economically viable and environmentally sustainable.”  Earth Economics’ website shares abundant research reports, many of which concern current issues and future scenarios in Washington.

The Gund Institute for Ecological Economics: at the University of Vermont is a research community of faculty members and graduate students undertaking research “the interface of ecological, social, and economic systems, with a commitment to developing creative, practical solutions to local and global problems.”  Useful pages on the Institute’s website: current research projects and short videos.

Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE):  BALLE is a non-profit organization supported by its members, who are a growing network of entrepreneurs, funders, and business-network organizers involved with creating local, sustainable economic systems.  BALLE provides an ongoing blog, news items and more.  It also hosts webinars and annual conferences. 

Informative Resource Centers

Ecological Footprint: is the attempt to measure human pressure on Earth with respect to Earth’s regenerative capacity.  This idea was first introduced by William Rees and Mathis Wackernagel at the University of British Columbia, in their book, Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth (New Society Press, 1996).  There are many Ecological Footprint calculators on the web, and organizations such as the Global Footprint Network that provide tools for decision-makers.  In time, will ecological footprint measures be as familiar as GDP?

The Lexicon of Sustainability: is an imaginative multi-media website that shares knowledge, insights, and understanding about, for starters, sustainable food and farming.  And yes, there is a Lexicon there, with more material being added all the time.

The Natural Step: Founded in Sweden in 1989, this non-profit now has offices in 18 countries and a website with resources in multiple languages.  It provides both theory and practice on sustainable development, with tool-kits for “natural step planning.” Excellent frameworks for city and regional planning as well as business planning.

Sightline Institute: We are fortunate beyond measure to have this Seattle-based think tank providing research, news, and tools for addressing the Cascadia bioregion’s most significant challenges.  Sightline’s website is a treasure-trove of reports and maps, and you can sign up to receive free daily, weekly, or monthly news and updates. 

Sustainability Science – from the National Academy of Sciences: The Proceedings of the National Academy of the United States of America (PNAS) “has recently launched a section of the journal dedicated to sustainability science, an emerging field of research dealing with the interactions between natural and social systems, and with how those interactions affect the challenge of sustainability.  PNAS seeks original contributions for this new section on both the fundamental character of interactions among humans, their technologies, and the environment, and on the use of such knowledge to advance sustainability goals relevant to water, food, energy, health, habitation, mobility, and ecosystem services.”  Recently launched, this site looks promising!

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