The education for sustainability movement is as diverse as it is vibrant. Some school communities focus on bringing sustainable practices to their teaching and learning or the relationships they cultivate within the larger community. Others focus on their food systems or their buildings and campuses. Over the course of nearly twenty years, we have developed principles, practices, and resources based on our work with thousands of educators in this hopeful and vital movement. We have also documented the stories of successful practitioners along the way. In this section, we present some highlights.


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How can teaching and learning advance academic achievement; address today’s important ecological challenges; and help develop strength, hope and resiliency in young people? Explore an exciting model of education, described in our book "Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence."
center for ecoliteracy - Becoming Ecoliterate
What it means, what it offers.
center for ecoliteracy - Five Ecoliterate Practices
Five vital practices that integrate emotional, social, and ecological intelligence.

Smart by Nature

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The Center has developed a framework for education for sustainable living, described in our book, "Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability." It is based on four guiding principles: Nature Is Our Teacher; Sustainability Is a Community Practice; The Real World Is the Optimal Learning Environment; Sustainable Living Is Rooted in a Deep Knowledge of Place.
Putting the Smart by Nature Principles into Practice
Educational consequences of applying the Smart by Nature guiding principles.
Lessons Learned and What You Can Do
Checklists from "Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability."

What Is Education for Sustainable Living?

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Through education for sustainable living, students gain the knowledge, skills, and values to address the environmental and social challenges of the coming decades. Sustainability is a far richer concept than simple survival. A truly sustainable community supports the health and quality of life of present and future generations and the natural world. It recognizes the need for justice and for physical, emotional, intellectual, cultural, and spiritual sustenance.
Michael K. Stone - Excerpt from Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability
An excerpt from the introductory chapter of the CEL book Smart by Nature.
Daniel Goleman - Ecological Intelligence
Ecological intelligence allows us to comprehend systems in all their complexity, as well as the interplay between the natural and man-made worlds.

Exemplary Schools

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The Center for Ecoliteracy has identified and supported a number of schools and projects that embody processes and practices for effective education for sustainability. Schools are systems, and they are communities. They are themselves important nodes in the web of institutions that constitutes society. Whatever happens in schools will have profound effects on the rest of society. The most effective schools are often communities that model the traits of sustainable societies.
center for ecoliteracy - Migrating the Food Lab Program: From Davenport to Pesca
A highly evolved school lunch program where students are the cooks finds opportunities for innovation in a new setting.
center for ecoliteracy - when the building is the teacher
Beyond "green": a discussion with architect John Dale about the many ways that campus, teaching, and learning complement each other.
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