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Archive for the ‘SHP Spring 2010’ Category

[This post was written by Megan Rice, Jamie Price, and Angelina Peters in response to viewing the documentary Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home]

    Yuck! Stinky!
    Honey, take out the garbage!
    Honey, let’s keep our garbage in the garage for 3 months! Huh?

Retaining the family’s garbage in the garage is not generally an option couples discuss during dinner or when getting ready for the day. However, one couple did in fact take on this task. Asked by a friend who wanted to ask a question about how much garbage do we create and where does the garbage go after it leaves the curb. All great questions, but really keeping garbage and recycling for 3 months—some might call this a little crazy but this family did just that. They even brought garbage home from work, school, and parties—either really dedicated to the project or crazy. Perhaps a little of both.

Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home tackles this issue. A bold and respectable documentary that asks a family of five to keep all of their garbage and recycling. They weighed and put their wet garbage on the curb to avoid health department calls but everything else they kept in their garage. The primary purpose of the film is to make people aware of the impact each individual has on our environment in regards to our consumption (especially in North America).

Some things that stood out in our mind when watching this film were (more…)

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One important part of student work in the course Documenting Sustainability in the Pacific Northwest is to do five hours of community service. Below the fold is Sean Cochran’s write-up after he volunteered for Portland Sunday Parkways.

Portland Sunday Parkways, May 16, 2010. Photo Sean Cochran.

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Three students attended some sessions of the May 20-22, 2010, Understanding Sustainability conference held at Portland State University (PSU). For some extra credit, these students then reported on what they learned.

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One assignment for the Spring 2010 quarter asked students to read two peer-reviewed sources of their own choosing that related to their essay topic and/or interviewee.

Below the fold is selection of student observations based on their research, followed by a list of their sources and, finally, the details of the assignment itself.

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A few weeks ago, one of my students asked if there existed any identifiable schools of thought that have put forth a world view completely outside of the idea of sustainability. This is a great question. The notion of sustainability the Brundtland Commission report articulated seems to frame the issue completely, to the extent that even those who would critique the notion do so within the contextual universe created by the Commission. Following Marshall McLuhan, this seems to be the proverbial water that the fish could not possibly have discovered, or, following Thomas Kuhn, the current paradigm in which “normal” science (and other work) is done.

After doing a bit of initial research, I haven’t been able to find any evidence that there is a school of thought that does not engage itself in fundamental ways with the Brundtland Commission Report’s definition of sustainability/sustainable development (If there’s anyone in the Internet universe that can provide evidence otherwise, please do comment below).

What I did find, however, seem to fall into two general categories: Critiques of the idea of sustainability itself, and critiques of implementation of Brundtlandian sustainability. (See sources below)

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Last week, students responded to two articles outlining the history, philosophy, and methods of oral history interviewing (core of assignment reproduced below). These readings prepared students for the class discussion we had on Thursday April 22. (Additional information on oral history methods & techniques can be found here.)

There were many thought-provoking elements in these student responses . . .

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This post continues the conversation from the post On Sustainability, Spring 2010. Again, I’ve gleaned themes and questions from student responses to the assignment (reproduced below) and from class discussion on April 6:

Understanding Gibson’s Purpose & Approach

Many students found Gibson’s 2006 article difficult. As Gibson writes, his article “outlines the basics of a practical generic approach to sustainability assessment (italics mine).” Thus, he analyzes a range of sustainability programs put in place since publication of the Brundtland Commission report (1987); remember that the Brundtland report did not come with specific assessment criteria, but was an intellectual framework outlining the idea of “sustainable development.” (more…)

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