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Title: “Caring as Class: Resolving the Emotional Paradox of Climate Change Education.” Journal of Sustainability Education.”
What will it take to create a transformation in human society to coexist with our human and more-than-human earth kin?” – Journal of Sustainability Education call for papers 2021 The question of what it will take to induce societal transformation in the face of climate change is daunting to consider, intimidating to try and answer in the abstract, and potentially paralyzing to try and address through teaching, research, and practice. That is, in response to the JSE editors’ question, we may be tempted to simply curl up in a ball and rock back and forth in search of temporary comfort and escape. Yet, in crafting the subtitle for this issue on climate change, JSE’s editorial team has pointed to multiple paths forward: resistance, recuperation, and resilience. Each of those terms have their roots in sustained action, with the Latin meaning of the ‘re’ prefix based in doing again and again (, 1995). The same implication is present with kindred concepts often used in the realm of grappling with climate change like regeneration, reparations, restoration, recentering, and renewal. Altogether the emphasis on sustained actions, with each term in its own way looking both backwards and forwards in time and knowledge, raises a very more » direct challenge for educators: how do we help students (and ourselves) prepare to engage in sustained action in the face of climate change and its root causes of extraction, inequity, racism and colonialism? In this article, we describe our response to this question, admittedly very much a work in progress. We first elaborate on the conceptual and practical challenges in preparing students for sustained action to imagine and enact the future. Paramount among these challenges is acknowledging that climate change cannot be addressed in an equitable way without also addressing its roots in colonization, racism, sexism, and extractive capitalism. Next, we discuss our integrated teaching-research-engagement approach, developed as part of a US National Science Foundation CAREER award project aimed at examining the potential role of compassion as a transformative practice for reducing long-term risks from natural hazards and climate change. Then, we provide summaries of and reflections on a pair of courses taught in 2019 and 2020 that explored, respectively the inner personal dimensions and external relational dimensions of professional work to reduce climate risks. Finally, we detail some of the lessons we’ve learned in the processes of convening these courses and look to future opportunities for growth and sustained action as educators ourselves. « less
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Journal of sustainability education
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National Science Foundation
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