Sustaining the world one Brown Bag Series at a time

Brown Bag Series dealt with the importance of a sustainable future. (Andrew Bak / Staff Photographer)

The Brown Bag Series took a turn toward the scientific on Friday, Feb. 17, as Jaimie Cloud, president of the Cloud Institute, came to the College to discuss sustainability in education for the Brown Bag event.

According to its website, the Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education was founded in 1995 as a program of the American Forum for Global Education known as the Sustainability Education Center.

The website also noted that Education for Sustainability was formed out of the recognition that there is a distinct difference between education about sustainable development and education for sustainable development.

The Cloud Institute works with educators and their communities to prepare young people for the shift toward a sustainable future.

Cloud began the presentation with the question, “What kind of future do we want and what does education have to do with it?”

She described Education for Sustainability (EfS) as an innovative learning process that gives teachers, students and school systems new ways of thinking and news ways in which they can achieve specific goals, all while restoring the health of the people in which they depend on.

EfS improves student learning and standards achievements, enhances attitudes towards learning, produces better behavior and attendance and encourages students to make connections between themselves and the system of which they are a part of.

“That is not what schools are producing at the moment,” Cloud said. “But they could, and some schools are.”

Cloud mentioned that there are many ways in which a person can view the world.

These mindsets, according to Cloud, “explain what happens in the brain when we’re trying to figure out the world around us.”

But in order for the future of education to change, mindsets need to change first.

“It all begins with a change in thinking,” Cloud said. “Everything we do, and everything we don’t do, makes a difference.”

Cloud then stated that the most important thing in changing our way of thinking is to see and understand the feedback from our current ways of thinking.

“If we cannot hear or see feedback we cannot perceive relevant data for our brains to filter,” said Peter Senge, the director of the Center for Organizational Learning at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

According to the website, Education for Sustainability has multiple, positive effects on student achievement, school culture, community vitality and ecological integrity.

As Cloud said, EfS “inspires young people to think about the world, their relationship to it, and their ability to influence it in an entirely new way.”

For more information about The Cloud Institute and Sustainability in Education, visit cloudinstitue.org.

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