Sample Curricula

Climate Change Education: Acting for Change

A group of educators in Ontario, Canada, including faculty from York University and Lakehead University, have collaborated on a research report entitled Climate Change Education: Acting for Change. The report emerged from a series of meetings with  teachers and researchers ­- all recognized as jurisdictional leaders in Climate Change Education. The teachers are all from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Ontario, Canada.
They released the report during the Global Leaders Conference of the Parties on Climate Change in Paris, France (December, 2015).  It has three goals, to: (i) recognize the profound importance of education as a response to climate change; (ii) share innovative school-based approaches to Climate Change Education, and (iii) make a series of recommendations for future policies and practices. It contains nine teaching practices and nine recommendations.
The report is a distinctively local contribution to the International Climate Change negotiations. They hope it inspires many other responses. It is designed for administrators, teachers and students. School-based Climate Change Education is so important and it deserves so much more of our attention and support.  They celebrate and highlight the multiplicity of ways that students, teachers, ENGOS, schools and school boards are responding to contemporary global changes.  
Download a low-resolution version of the report: Climate Change Education: Acting for Change

A higher-resolution version, it is available for download here:

Ecocriticism, Environmental Studies and Interdisciplinarity at the University of North Texas

Ashley Reis

Deeply invested in interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, The University of North Texas takes pride in its numerous environmental and sustainability initiatives, as well as its commitment to addressing economic, social, and cultural environmental issues. In keeping with this mission, the English department provides undergraduate and graduate students with ample opportunities to study literature from an environmental, ecological, and/or ecocritical standpoint.

The department has been building ecocriticism as one of its focus areas and now offers courses addressing fundamental issues of this growing field of literary study (such as “Literature and the Environment”) as well as courses with a more specific focus that address particular areas of ecocritical interest (like “Chicana/o Environmental Thought”). More specifically, professors Priscilla Ybarra and Ian Finseth both have noted interests in the intersections between environmental history and environmental studies, including canonical as well as ethnic American literary traditions. Specifically, Dr. Ybarra—former ASLE Diversity Coordinator—integrates more diverse approaches to the natural environment, focusing particularly on the development of Chicana/o environmental thought. Furthermore, following the work of prominent environmental scholars, Dr. Ybarra’s work problematizes certain fundamental frameworks of ecocriticism such as definitions of “nature writing” and concepts such as “wilderness.” Dr. Finseth specializes in nineteenth-century American and African American literature, with particular research interests in race, ecocrticism, science, and religious history.  His first book, Shades of Green: Visions of Nature in the Literature of American Slavery, 1770-1860 (University of Georgia Press, 2009), examines the role of environmental thought and images of the natural world in the debate over human bondage in the early American republic. His current book project will introduce an analysis of literary representations of ecstasy and dissociative experience, focusing on the cognitive and neurophenomenological dimensions of the human encounter with nature.

The English department also promotes interdisciplinary work more broadly. Graduate students can take advantage of courses offered by the department of Philosophy and Religious Studies which hosts the nation’s leading program in Environmental Ethics and Philosophy—home to such prominent scholars as J. Baird Callicott, Eugene Hargrove, Patricia Glazebrook, Robert Figueroa, Irene Klaver, and Ricardo Rozzi—and the Center for Environmental Philosophy. Students may also take courses within the department of Anthropology, which offers a focused graduate degree in Environmental and Ecological Anthropology.

More generally, UNT’s Office of Sustainability fosters campus-wide awareness of environmental challenges while collaborating with students, faculty, staff, and administration to advance sustainable practices and behaviors, most specifically the University’s goal to achieve carbon-neutrality; and the student-run North Texas Energy and Environment Club promotes environmental awareness, hosts environmental fairs and workshops, promotes initiatives from the Office of Sustainability, and encourages student involvement in environmental issues.

Furthermore, UNT has recently partnered with numerous organizations in the North Texas region to implement numerous environmental initiatives. Such initiatives include, but are not limited to, the Waterways Project, a biennial water conference at UNT which takes an interdisciplinary approach to addressing critical water issues; the Trust for Land, which works with North Texas communities to preserve natural areas and create parklands; the Prairie and Timbers chapter of the Audubon Society, which offers programs related to wildlife, ecology, conservation, and birds; and the Cross Timbers Group of the Sierra Club, which works to protect the wild spaces of North Texas.

For more information about environmental literary studies at UNT, please contact Dr. Ybarra, Dr. Finseth, graduate student Ashley E. Reis or the UT English department.