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Curriculum for the Bioregion Initiative


Big Ideas, Learning Outcomes, Skills, and References

Relevant to a Sustainability Course or Curriculum





Habits of Mind


What follows is a list of the Habits of Mind we might want to encourage in students of sustainability.  This list was generated by many Washington State academics over several Curriculum for the Bioregion workshops.


For other takes on the Habits of Mind we might want to encourage in students of sustainability, see:

-      The Cloud Institute’s Education for Sustainability Standards. 75

-      Creating a Sustainability Curriculum 76

-      Achieving Transformative Sustainability Learning 77






Respect for Earth’s systems and interconnectedness as the nature of the world



·         “Cradle-to-cradle” thought and practice

·         Nature as model/bio-mimicry

·         Small actions can lead to large impacts

·         Actions in one place can affect conditions/actions elsewhere


Respect and understanding for the interconnectedness among people

·         Society thinking instead of individualism

·         Reliance between different societies

·         How one group’s actions can impact others (positively and negatively)

·         We rely on the experiments and knowledge of the people that came before and from across the globe, and of our neighbors

Civic consciousness in one’s place

·         An animated knowledge of place – dynamic and sensory perception

·         Attachment to one’s place – intuitive attachment, bioregional connectedness

·         Sense of citizenship, civic responsibility, and agency in one’s place (both social and ecological community)

·         An understanding of the diversity of lived experiences and perspectives within our communities — we need to learn from each other and address each other’s needs (ethic of care)—and thus the importance of INCLUSION in creating real change.

Shared responsibility for the future/ethic of care

·         Understanding of intergenerational responsibility

·         Working toward intragenerational equity/responsibility

·         Positive vision of desirable future

·         Understanding of urgency, that the time to act is now

·         Sense that the future does not have to be same as the past

·         Sustainability is worth pursing (moral, economic, social, environmental..)

·         Commons thinking

·         Practice of the precautionary principle

·         Representation and inclusion

Critical hope

·         There is hope: no beginning is too small, no goal too large

·         Commitment and motivation to become personally and civically engaged

·         Imagination of a collective vision of a positive future

·         Power is everywhere and not limited to those higher on the social ladder

·         An understanding of the movement of movements


·         Respect for all living beings and the non-living world (beyond anthropocentrism)

·         Acknowledgement that we have a limited understanding of how things work

·         Acknowledgement that uncertainty is an acceptable state

·         Respect for humans’ place in nature (both positive and negative)

·         Respect for the wisdom of other cultures in the world and other cultures in history

·         Respect for the knowledge and experience of other people around you including…the poor, people of color, people who disagree with you (and visa versa)

·         Humility about the term “sustainability” as an evolving idea

·         Skepticism



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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