The Limits of Sustainability Education: Reflections on 10 Years of International Urban Sustainability Field Schools
Cameron Owens, Associate Teaching Professor, Department of Geography, University of Victoria
Teaching and learning to inspire urban sustainability—promoting communities that are resilient, inclusive, equitable, and prosperous—represents one of the key challenges of our time. In this talk, I draw on ten years of experience running sustainability-focused travel study programs to reflect on the prospect of sustainability education. I have organized my reflections around two senses of “limits”. First, imagining limits in terms of “the utmost extent,” I articulate the exciting promise of off-campus, action-based, experiential learning sharing highlights from our encounters with inspiring people and projects in places like Portland, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen. But, I temper this more celebratory commentary in the second half of the talk, sharing insecurities and apprehensions about sustainability education, thinking here of limits in terms of “bounds, constraints, or confines.” In the end, I ask in the context of alarming indicators of unsustainability: are our efforts to teach and learn sufficient and, if not, what is to be done?
Cameron Owens is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Victoria on Coast Salish Territories. His teaching and research interests concern the political context of environmental governance and sustainable cities. He has been involved with local and international field schools since 2001 and currently leads a travel study program exploring sustainable community development in cities of the Pacific Northwest (of North America) and Western Europe. He is co-editor of the book, Out There Learning: Critical Reflections on Off-Campus Learning.
Thursday, March 28, 2019, 7:30pm
Legacy Art Gallery ~ 630 Yates Street, Victoria
Free Public Event
This City Talk is co-sponsored by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union through the Jean Monnet EU Centre of Excellence at the University of Victoria.