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Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education



Remembering sacred reasonWohlpart, A. James.  Walking in the Land of Many Gods: Remembering Sacred Reason in Contemporary Women’s Environmental Literature.  Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2012.

Walking in the Land of Many Gods builds upon the later philosophy of Martin Heidegger through a discussion of deep anthropology and Native American philosophy in order to provide a theoretical foundation for the analysis of three works of environmental literature: Janisse Ray’s Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, Terry Tempest Williams’ Refuge, and Linda Hogan’s Dwellings

The book suggests that we can remember an ancient wisdom of Earth and Elders that reconnects us, bodily, sensuously, spiritually to the world that sustains us and nurtures us and that is the very foundation--in an evolutionary and biological sense but also in an emotional, psychological, and spiritual sense--of our being.  The central question of the book, then, is about our place in this world.  I want to ask, can we re/place ourselves bodily, emotionally, intuitively in the natural world in such a way that we reopen the channels through which the creative energy of the universe flows, so that we become once again participants in the ongoing dialogue between all species, indeed participants in the omnipresent conversation that occurs within the totality of the natural world including the plants and animals, the mountains and valleys, the rivers and streams, the sky, the thunder, and the sun?  Can we reanimate our own words, both spoken and written, so that they participate in this creative energy and become, rather than the means of our disconnection from the world, a way of reengaging the flow of energy that invisibly surrounds us?

Finally, can we remember an ancient way of thinking and being in the world that heals our bodies and our spirits and that assists us in returning to our rightful place in our communities, human and nonhuman, allowing us to heal the rift between ourselves and nature?  Through a discussion of the theoretical underpinnings of the book and an analysis of the three literary texts, Walking in the Land of Many Gods provides a pathway to this deeper remembering of sacred reason, reconnecting us to the mysterious plenitude of Earth.

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accelerating changeWals, Arjen E.J.  and Peter Blaze Corcoran (eds.).  Learning for Sustainability in Times of Accelerating Change.  Wageningen, The Netherlands: Wageningen Academic Publishers, 2012.

We live in turbulent times, our world is changing at accelerating speed.  Information is everywhere, but wisdom appears in short supply when trying to address key inter-related challenges of our time such as; runaway climate change, the loss of biodiversity, the depletion of natural resources, the ongoing homogenization of culture, and rising inequity.  Living in such times has implications for education and learning.  This book explores the possibilities of designing and facilitating learning-based change and transitions towards sustainability.

In 31 chapters contributors from across the world discuss (re) emerging forms of learning that not only assist in breaking down unsustainable routines, forms of governance, production and consumption, but also can help create ones that are more sustainable.  The book has been divided into three parts: re-orienting science and society, re-connecting people and planet and re-imagining education and learning.  This is essential reading for educators, educational designers, change agents, researchers, students, policymakers and entrepreneurs alike, who are concerned about the well-being of the planet and convinced of our ability to do better.”

Center editorial associates Brandon P. Hollingshead and Joseph P. Weakland assisted in all aspects of the book project.  Wageningen Academic Publishers considers the volume as the third in an informal series to mark the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014).  The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management, and Food Policy provided funding for the project.

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Fundamentals of Sustainable Development

Roorda, Niko with Corcoran, Peter Blaze and Weakland, Joseph P.  Translated by Zaverdinos, Nico.  Fundamentals of Sustainable Development.  London: Routledge Press, 2012.

The impact of development needs to be considered beyond the narrow focus of economic, ecological or social concerns. This reader-friendly book is the first to promote a holistic approach to sustainable development. It gives readers a multifaceted approach to the area to encompass what is referred to as 'people, planet and profit'. It looks at people, cultures, social cohesion, empowerment, education and health, nature and the environment, and prosperity and the economy, to help readers understand the fundamentals of sustainable development.

The book has been written in an accessible way, and can be read with ease by those with no previous knowledge of sustainable development. The first part presents an overview of the conceptual and practical challenges in sustainable development stemming from human-environment relations as well as ensuing issues of inequality and insecurity. The second part explores strategies and solutions for facing these challenges. It presents case studies from all over the world and draws on many disciplines to investigate topics such as climate change, energy, technology, political and economic instruments, and sustainable business practices.

An interactive and complete educational tool, the book comes with a website containing exercises, learning goals and summaries for each chapter as well as over forty video clips. It also offers a 'lecturer section' which includes a PowerPoint to accompany every chapter, and answers and explanations to the exercises. This stimulating book is an invaluable resource for students and lecturers in all disciplines who have an interest in the sustainability of our planet, and our human society and economy.

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Osano, Philip M. and Corcoran, Peter Blaze, Eds. Young People, Education, and Sustainable Development: Exploring Principles, Perspectives, and Praxis. Wageningen, The Netherlands: Wageningen Academic Publishers, 2009.

Young people have an enormous stake in the present and future state of Earth. Almost half of the human population is under the age of 25. If young people’s resources of energy, time, and knowledge are misdirected towards violence, terrorism, socially-isolating technologies, and unsustainable consumption, civilization risks destabilization. Yet, there is a powerful opportunity for society if young people can participate positively in all aspects of sustainable development. In order to do so, young people need education, political support, resources, skills, and hope.

This volume offers a global perspective on education initiatives by and for young people that promote a transition to sustainability. It includes 38 essays co-authored by 68 contributors from 25 nations, representing a diversity of geography, gender, and generation.

"The development of youth leadership has been a central concern of my professional work. Young people have a lot to offer to sustainable development and should participate in planning for our planet’s future. This rich collection of theoretical and practical approaches captures the growing response of young people to this challenge. I am particularly pleased with the attention paid to the role of often-underrepresented regions of the world, to the role of women, and to the Earth Charter in the creating a peaceful and sustainable future."

Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN
(International Union for Conversation of Nature), and former Rector of the University for Peace.

"This book is a rich, global tapestry depicting the inter-linkages among youth, education and sustainable development. What is particularly interesting is that it shows how education, at all levels, can be a powerful engine for promoting sustainability. This work is an important contribution to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development."

Goolam Mohamedbhai, Secretary-General, Association of African Universities, and Past President, International Association of Universities

"This important and skillfully-prepared book comes at a critical time.... A great strength of this volume is that it blends together theoretical and practical insights regarding education for sustainable development by and for young people. It is written from diverse cultural perspectives from all world regions. Readers, from many fields, especially young people and their teachers, will find it timely and relevant. I hope that it will inspire the younger generation to get involved in seeking solutions to the challenges we face."

James Gustave Speth, Former Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, and Dean Emeritus of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University

"It is my hope that you are inspired, as I have been, by Young People, Education, and Sustainable Development: Exploring Principles, Perspectives, and Praxis, for the stories in this volume are full of the possibilities that emerge when we honor and support young people."

Ruud Lubbers, Former Prime Minister of The Netherlands, and past United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

We are proud to announce that the book includes a Preface from Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai, a Foreword from former Secretary General of the UNDP James Gustave Speth, and an Afterword from former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers.

Editors Philip Molo Osano and Peter Blaze Corcoran were assisted by Joseph Paul Weakland and Brandon P. Hollingshead. Funding for the book and an initial press run was generously provided by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management, and Food Quality.

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A Voice for Earth - imageCorcoran, Peter Blaze and A. James Wohlpart, Eds. A Voice for Earth: American Writers Respond to the Earth Charter. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2008.

A Voice for Earth: American Writers Respond to the Earth Charter offers a literary language that seeks to bring to life the concepts in the Earth Charter. We trust that these works do so with a richness of interpretation and possibility, though not in an authoritative way, but rather in a way that allows translation into different cultural settings. The works in this collection demonstrate, through the vitality of literature, the power and importance of the ethical principles of the Earth Charter. The contributions are intended to awaken an understanding of the ethical nature of our current situation and to offer a rich and fertile rendering of the ways in which ethical principles connect our daily lives to wider political, economic, and social concerns.

The hope of A Voice for Earth: American Writers Respond to the Earth Charter is to articulate a new story built upon a new way of being in the world. As many of the works suggest, this new way of being will be founded on an enlarged worldview that takes into account future human generations along with the other-than-human. Several of the pieces in the collection describe how we have lost our way, how we have lost a sense of values that could guide us down a path that is sustainable not only in our relationship to Earth but also to the spirit. Yet these literary responses also lay the groundwork for charting a new path, for recapturing the wisdom of ancient traditions and reformulating current practices and beliefs. The new story of the twenty-first century as envisioned in these works can lead us to a world of ecological integrity and nonviolence, a world that protects life on Earth and is founded on sustainable economic, political, and social systems, a world that sustains not only our physical bodies but also our spirits.

Contributors include Steven C. Rockefeller, Terry Tempest Williams, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Allison Hawthorne Deming, and others.

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The Earth Charter in Action - imageCorcoran, Peter Blaze, ed. The Earth Charter in Action: Toward a Sustainable World.  Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) Publishers, 2005. Published in Dutch, Spanish, and English languages.

The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental principles for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful world. It is an inclusive ethical vision which seeks to inspire in all peoples a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the human family and the larger living world.

This book demonstrates the rich diversity of uses of the Earth Charter and points toward its many future possibilities. Thematic and descriptive essays and artwork from around the world inspired by the Earth Charter demonstrate its utility in diverse cultural contexts. They show its promise in working across the divide between the northern and southern hemispheres, across the faith traditions, the nations, and the generations. Acknowledging the role of early well-known key contributors, this volume also celebrates five years of accomplishments by unsung Earth Charter activists since its launch at the start of the new millennium.

Contributions of Wangari Maathai, Mikhail Gorbachev, Jane Goodall, Peter Blaze Corcoran, Steven C. Rockefeller, Princess Basma Bint Talal, Ruud Lubbers, Mohamed Sahnoun, Leonard Boff, Erna Witolear, Maurice F. Strong, Federico Mayor, Hazel Henderson, Jan Pronk, and many others.

Download the Introduction by Peter Blaze Corcoran (PDF, 144 KB)

Download the Preface by Mikhail Gorbachev (PDF, 128 KB)

Download the cover (GIF, 16 KB)

For ordering information, please contact the Center or Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) Publishers, or read the book online at


Higher Education and Teh Challenge of Sustaninability - imageCorcoran, Peter Blaze, & Arjen E.J. Wals, eds. Higher Education and the Challenge of Sustainability: Problematics, Promise and Practice. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2004.

Sustainability challenges universities around the world to rethink their missions and to re-structure their courses, research programs, and life on campus. Graduates are increasingly exposed to notions of sustainability, which are emotionally, politically, ethically, and scientifically charged. They must be able to deal with conflicting norms and values, uncertain outcomes and futures, and a changing knowledge base. At the same time they will need to be able to contextualize knowledge in an increasingly globalized society.

This book provides a variety of valuable theoretical and practical resources for students, teachers, researchers, and administrators who seek to integrate sustainability in higher education. Sustainability is not only explored as both an outcome and a process of learning, but as a catalyst for educational change and institutional innovation. The book raises the various problematics related to this inchoate field and provides an intellectual history and critical assessment of the prospects for institutionalizing sustainability in higher education.

"Issues of sustainability pose a Copernican level challenge to educators and educational institutions everywhere. Professors Corcoran and Wals have assembled an exemplary group of scholars and change agents to survey the field and the results are both useful and exciting. Strongly recommended for educators, administrators, and all interested in the transition to a world better than that in prospect." --David W. Orr, Professor and Chair of the Environmental Studies Program, Oberlin College, USA. Author of The Last Refuge, The Nature of Design, Earth in Mind, and Ecological Literacy.

"This is a valuable book; it makes a significant and unique contribution to the burgeoning field of sustainable development. It is a fresh breeze with its stories of real academics working to make a difference in their courses, faculties, and universities" --Dr. Karen Malone, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and Australian Director of UNESCO's Growing Up in Cities Project.

"This collection, by leading practitioners, critics, and researchers, is a valuable educational tool. It has the potential to advance significantly the movement towards education for sustainability." --Hans van Ginkel, President, International Association of Universities and Rector of the United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan

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