Transforming Sustainability Education: ‘Canes Raising Sustainability Awareness
The United Nations describes environmental and sustainability education as a learning process that increases knowledge and awareness about the environmental sustainability and associated challenges; develops the necessary skills and expertise to address these challenges; and fosters attitudes, motivations and commitments to enhance decision-making skills.
Nonetheless, there is a mounting consensus that sustainability education is not meeting its goals, as evidenced by measures of low sustainability and scientific knowledge, awareness and behaviors, as well as continued sustainability decline.
In the pursuit of increasing awareness and knowledge about sustainability problems, Ali Ghahremaninezhad – an assistant professor in the University of Miami College of Engineering’s (UMCoE) Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering – is working with collaborators to develop an innovative sustainability education program aimed at casting a spotlight on pressing sustainability issues affecting South Florida, particularly, Miami-Dade County.
The research project, titled “Innovative Environmental Education Programs: Getting Communities Excited about Water Conservation and Solid Waste Recycling,” provides the public with the necessary skills to make informed and responsible decisions.
Ghahremaninezhad, and his team of researchers received funding from Miami-Dade County to provide innovative education programs to Miami-Dade County public schools – with an emphasis on critically low-performing schools.
“The public will learn about various innovations in the area of sustainability programs,” Ghahremaninezhad explains.
Within the sustainability programs, “Students will learn how recycled waste such as plastics, papers and glass can be reused in construction materials such as concrete,” he says. “We also will communicate the benefits of reducing the amount of solid waste that ends up in landfills to the school students and communities through effective and informative presentations.”