Leadership in unexpected places

Leadership in unexpected places

Imagine this: A bold manifesto that challenges the very notion of U.S. global dominance and the Cold War mindset of containing threat with military strength.  In its place: a new definition of security and prosperity based on sustainable communities, localized food system, renewable energy, and US leadership on human rights.  “Dominance, like fossil fuels, is not a sustainable source of energy,” the document proclaims. Another day at Occupy Wall Street?  No.  How about read more a call to action from two military men? Captain Wayne Porter (U.S. Navy) and Colonel Mark Mykleby (U.S. Marine Corps) recently served as special strategic assistants to former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen.  Porter and Mykleby authored “A National Strategic Narrative” (NSN), a paper that says international security depends on strong and sustainable communities, educated citizens, and international leadership towards global equity.  The authors argue the Cold War strategy of containing threats cannot be effective in a global ecosystem characterized by dwindling resources, climate change, and other destabilizing forces. In the 21st Century, interdependence is the operating principle, with cooperation more vital to our success than zero-sum approaches to competition that define “others” as threats. This compelling analysis of sustainability moves beyond environmental issues and repositions it as the global security issue of our time. I couldn’t agree more.   How inspiring to find leadership in this most unexpected place.  But perhaps it’s not so surprising.  After all, military leaders are in the middle of the global conflicts fueling unsustainability.  They will be on the front lines as water scarcity and climate change create social instability, refuges and unprecedented environmental...

“I wanted to build an organization focused on supporting educators to teach effectively about sustainability. I wanted to equip people with quality curriculum that supports inquiry, engagement and action. “

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What do we mean by “innovation”?

What do we mean by “innovation”?

The educational field is abuzz with a quest for innovation. Public and private dollars are pouring into a frenzied race for “disruptive” changes and silver bullets, with many of the approaches heavy on technology. There’s flipped classrooms.  Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS).  Big data.  And of course, more STEM (science, technology, engineering and math.) There’s value in all of these things.  But too often, something’s missing: applications and connections to the actual issues defining this century.  Where’s the emphasis on solving food and water challenges?  What about climate change, global conflict, and creating healthy communities at home?  Tools that could help solve problems too often become high-tech ends in themselves. So what would be innovative?  Here’s what I’d like to see: Technologies and solutions that are evaluated based on their ability to contribute to overall wellbeing Incorporating arts into STEM to create “STEAM.”  This more integrated approach should also address the ethical applications of STEM. A mindset that values “traditional” technologies or solutions as well as new ones.  Let’s bring back (or create) courses that provide students with skills such as building, sewing, or food preparation.  Paired with entrepreneurship training, these skills can be gateways to new businesses, careers, post-secondary pathways, and community-centered economic development. All that’s new is not innovative, and sometimes the most innovative thing is to revive a time-tested tradition. Like what you’re reading? Learn more about education for sustainability and why it matters for your future. http://www.creativechange.net/education_for_sustainability/what_is_efs/ Innovative education depends on innovative curriculum content.  Learn...