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Curriculum for the Bioregion Initiative


Big Ideas, Learning Outcomes, Skills, and References

Relevant to a Sustainability Course or Curriculum







What follows are two lists of assessable skills that would be good for students of sustainability to work on.  Though these are not necessarily specific to a sustainability education, mastery of  these skills would be invaluable for someone who will work in a sustainability-oriented field.






Concept Mapping

Conflict Resolution



Decision Making

Delphi Process 91

Environmental Assessment

Graphical Representation


Life Cycle Assessment 43



Problem Solving

Public Speaking


Scenario Building 92

Statistical Analysis





This second list of “Sustainability Skills” was adapted from the Sustainability Learning Outcomes list generated during a series of Curriculum for the Bioregion workshops.





Students completing a sustainability curriculum should have the ability to:



·         Reflect on one’s values and habits;

·         Reflect on knowledge, values, and commitment through a variety of media, including artistic expression;

·         Listen and hear with intellectual openness, outside of our usual ways of thinking;

·         Sustain multiple uncertainties and tolerate ambiguity;

·         Recognize and evaluate an injustice or moral insight;

·         Evaluate the ethics of actions or inactions;

·         Recognize that one’s personal choices and widespread cultural norms can affect sustainability;

·         Be sensitive to cross-cultural perspectives;

·         Engage in visioning processes (e.g. design charettes);

·         Use indicators;

·         Conduct audits of personal footprints and resource use;

·         Generate and interpret concept maps to better understand and portray systems relationships;

·         Engage in interdisciplinary research;

·         Generate information empirically and observe closely and deliberately;

·         Use and apply systems thinking to issues and problems; systems modeling skills;

·         Think laterally, “connect the dots,” and synthesize information and ideas;

·         Cope with complexity by examining complex problems, hearing others’ perspectives on them, and proposing alternative ways of addressing them;

·         Understand processes of positive group functioning including basic design principles and skills associated with common property management;

·         Translate understanding to action and commitment, using change-agent strategies; and

·         Practice acts of civic responsibility and participatory democracy: taking small, practical steps, walking our talk.



* See also Skills for a Changing World in Stibbe, A, (2009). The Handbook of Sustainability Literacy. 93

This web site features a list of 28 sustainability skills, each one linking to a book chapter about that skill.



Web Site Pages - Click a title and go!


Home Page

Higher Personal Goals


Polar Concepts

Other Cultural Concepts

Systems Thinking Breakdown

Definitions and Facets of Sustainability

Indicators of Sustainability

Environmental Perspective

Economics Perspective
Sustainability Frameworks and Manifestos

Graphical Models

Ways of Thinking
Habits of Mind
Web Site Bibliography
Additional Teaching Resources


Have any problems with this web site or questions?  Contact Rob Turner at rturner@uwb.edu.



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