As part of the 2004 development of the Washtenaw County comprehensive plan, the County hired Creative Educational Solutions (a local non-profit) to develop a high school curriculum module about land use, public policy and regional sustainability. The result was reviewed in the August 2009 issue of “Planning and Zoning News”. The module grew into “Our Town: Sustainable Places, Green Spaces” and has been adapted for elementary through adult education classes. The intent is to “revitalize communities and invigorate learning through interdisciplinary place-based programs on land use, brownfield redevelopment and sustainable communities. Support equity with content that teaches it.” Per PZN, the intended result is to “develop a new generation of informed citizens while introducing students to academic and career pathways related to community revitalization and the ‘new’ Michigan economy.”
Taking the “Program Tours” on the website shows how “sustainability” is being integrated into education at all levels.
Their website includes on of the clearest definitions of “sustainability” I’ve found, and is as follows:
What Is Sustainability?
There is growing acknowledgement that forces such as population growth, consumption, and inappropriate “development” are combining to weaken the ecological systems on which all life depends. Although environmental fluctuations have occurred throughout history, changes generated by human activity may be altering ecological systems in ways that will be irreversible. An alternative future is “sustainable”, defined as lasting environmental health, economic prosperity, and social equity for current and future generations.
In a sustainable society, the regenerative capacity of the environment is maintained.
All people have the opportunity to live a fulfilling life within the earth’s capacity.
Democracy and justice are core values guiding people and institutions.
People live, work and communicate successfully in multiple cultural contexts.
Conflicts are resolved without violence.
Beauty and wonder are celebrated.
Achieving sustainability requires rethinking economic systems and cultural beliefs that equate “more” with “better”.
Creative Educational Solutions has some sustainability street credibility of its own as described in the section that describes their office practices which include a gray water recovery system, rain barrels and even an office worm bin to compost food scraps.