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SUSTAINABILITY EDUCATION:	

!
ECOLOGICAL, SOCIAL/CULTURAL, ECONOMICAL
Kurt Love, Ph.D. 	

Department of Educational Leader...
MARCH 2016 ISTHE FIRSTTIME IN HUMAN
HISTORYTHATTHE PLANET CROSSED OVER
THE 2°C MARK.
SCIENCETEACHERS
A 2016 study published in Science showed that:	

30% of science teachers (middle and high school) teach th...
PROBLEMS
Climate Change and Our Students	

Fossil Fuels, Carbon Dioxide & Methane (GHGs)
PROBLEMS
Climate Change and Our Students	

Fossil Fuels, Carbon Dioxide & Methane (GHGs)
METHANE POLLUTION
Carbon dioxide from fossil fuel emissions warms the atmosphere,
which, in turn, warms the oceans and lan...
METHANE POLLUTION
“One recent estimate: the permafrost traps 1,600 billion tons of carbon. 

A hundred billion tons could ...
METHANE &THE GREAT DYING
Permian Extinction: 

250 million years ago, the Great Dying, was the planet’s greatest extinctio...
HUMANITY’S GREATEST CHALLENGE
CONNECTINGTHE DOTS
The greatest cause of climate change is greedy, arrogant humans
giving poorer humans no other choices t...
FOUNDATIONS FOR TODAY’S
GLOBAL UNSUSTAINABILITY
Colonized Ecological Identities
COLONIZING 

EARTH-BASED IDENTITIES
Western Europeans created identities that convinced themselves
that they were a superi...
EUROPEAN COLONIZERS & AMERICAN INDIANS
Clash of two peoples with two
different “ecological selves”	

European Colonizers: ...
RELIGIOUS FOUNDATIONS
Pre-date Christianity	

Pre-date Islam	

Pre-date Judaism	

Earth-based
spiritualities	

Found in al...
EUROPEAN COLONIZERS &
WEST AFRICANS
Clash of two peoples with two different
“ecological selves”	

European Colonizers: Nat...
CREATING PATRIARCHY
Women are closer to
nature than men;!
Nature is wild, chaotic,
and uncontrollable
Therefore...
Women a...
REALISM & PATRIARCHY
Women are closer to
nature than men;!
Nature is wild, chaotic,
and uncontrollable
Therefore...
Women ...
MAINTAINING PATRIARCHY
A mass killing of women during the
“Burning Times” in Europe & the US
Removal of a religion where
w...
MAINTAINING PATRIARCHY
Movement out of nature and into “Human” as
separate from nature	

Nature is where Satan resides 	

...
Aloha & Haole
Aloha & Haole
Aloha !
“Together, we breathe the sacred breath”!
A consciousness that we are inescapably interwoven with
ea...
Aloha & Haole
Haole !
“One who is without sacred breath”!
A consciousness that does not include an awareness that we are
i...
EDUCATING TOWARDS
AFFLUENCE
Colonized Ecological Identities
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
MISSION STATEMENT
“[The U.S. Department of Education’s] mission is to promote
student achieve...
EDUCATION FOR COMPETITION
“[The U.S. Department of Education’s] mission is to promote student achievement and
preparation ...
COLLEGE- AND CAREER-READY AND GLOBALLY
COMPETITIVE RHETORIC 

OR EDUCATING TOWARDS AFFLUENCE
“[The U.S. Department of Educ...
UNSUSTAINABILITY AND
CHALLENGES OF AFFLUENCE
“[The U.S. Department of Education’s] mission is to promote student achieveme...
UNSUSTAINABILITY AND
CHALLENGES OF AFFLUENCE
Work is a central component to affluent people’s lifestyles. However, work is ...
UNSUSTAINABILITY AND
CHALLENGES OF AFFLUENCE
Affluence is a buffer for the super wealthy
and allows for a rationalization o...
SUSTAINABILITY FRAMEWORK
Ecological, Social/Cultural, and Economic
EDUCATING TOWARDS
SUSTAINABILITY
A Necessary Paradigm Shift
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
MISSION STATEMENT (REVISITED)
“[The U.S. Department of Education’s] mission is to promote stu...
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
MISSION STATEMENT (REVISITED)
The U.S. Department of Education’s mission is to fully support ...
WHAT ARETHE AIMS OF
EDUCATING FOR SUSTAINABILITY
Peaceful communication (peaceful listening, validation, finding
common gro...
RUNNING CORE EDUCATIONAL ASSUMPTIONS
THROUGH SUSTAINABILITY LENSES
Anthropologist/philosopher, co-founder of cybernetics, ...
EDUCATIONTHROUGH A
SUSTAINABILITY LENS
Learning Theories	

A change from convergent thinking to divergent thinking.	

A ch...
CONVERGENTTHINKING
DIVERGENTTHINKING
EDUCATIONTHROUGH A
SUSTAINABILITY LENS
From Classroom Management
to Classroom Climate	

Movement from
standardization and
...
EDUCATIONTHROUGH A
SUSTAINABILITY LENS
From Classroom Management
to Classroom Climate	

Movement from
standardization and
...
HAPPINESS, NOT SAMENESS
Happiness is a goal that we should take seriously.	

When a person is truly supported to pursue
he...
HAPPINESS, NOT SAMENESS
Sameness narrows the capacity for deep
soul desires to emerge. Sameness forces us
to ignore that w...
POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT IS ABOUT CONTROL
Positive reinforcement is not about making a child feel good or confident. By defini...
POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS, 

NOT POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT
Learners do best when they have genuinely positive
relationships with...
POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS, 

NOT POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT
Positive relationships are important
because they need to be modeled ...
EDUCATIONTHROUGH A
SUSTAINABILITY LENS
Curricula	

Movement from
decontextualized to
contextualized	

Interconnected curri...
CURRICULUM SHAPES ITSELF
What do each of the subject areas look like when:	

We approach content from a theory-to-context-...
EDUCATIONTHROUGH A
SUSTAINABILITY LENS
Issues of Diversity	

Towards solidarity,
affirmation, and
critique of power.
DIFFERENCE IS GOOD, 

PRIVILEGE IS NOT
Social justice is not about creating equal access to a
destructive system that expl...
Sustainability Education
Sustainability Education
Sustainability Education
Sustainability Education
Sustainability Education
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Sustainability Education

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A paradigm shift happens when a sustainability framework is applied to education.

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Sustainability Education

  1. 1. SUSTAINABILITY EDUCATION: ! ECOLOGICAL, SOCIAL/CULTURAL, ECONOMICAL Kurt Love, Ph.D. Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Educational Technology Department Meeting - March 15, 2015
  2. 2. MARCH 2016 ISTHE FIRSTTIME IN HUMAN HISTORYTHATTHE PLANET CROSSED OVER THE 2°C MARK.
  3. 3. SCIENCETEACHERS A 2016 study published in Science showed that: 30% of science teachers (middle and high school) teach that global climate change is due to “natural causes.” 12% avoid talking about human impact altogether. The median teacher teaches between 1-2 hours on climate change during the course of one school year. Only 4.4% of teachers were pressured not to teach about climate change Plutzer, E., McCaffrey, M., Hannah, A. L., Rosenau, J., Berbeco, M., & Reid, A. H. (2016). Climate confusion among U.S. teachers. Science, 352(6274), 664-665. Retrieved from http://science.sciencemag.org/content/351/6274/664.full!
  4. 4. PROBLEMS Climate Change and Our Students Fossil Fuels, Carbon Dioxide & Methane (GHGs)
  5. 5. PROBLEMS Climate Change and Our Students Fossil Fuels, Carbon Dioxide & Methane (GHGs)
  6. 6. METHANE POLLUTION Carbon dioxide from fossil fuel emissions warms the atmosphere, which, in turn, warms the oceans and land. Solid carbon reserves of methane hydrates under permafrost melt and release into the atmosphere.
  7. 7. METHANE POLLUTION “One recent estimate: the permafrost traps 1,600 billion tons of carbon. 
 A hundred billion tons could be released this century, mostly in the form of methane, which would have the warming effect of 270 years of carbon dioxide emissions at current levels.” ! - Bill McKibben, Eaarth, p. 22
  8. 8. METHANE &THE GREAT DYING Permian Extinction: 
 250 million years ago, the Great Dying, was the planet’s greatest extinction of species (96% marine, 70% terrestrial) Possible reason for the Great Dying may have been a major volcanic eruption in Siberia, which through a cascade of events eventually led to the warming of the atmosphere enough to warm methane reserves into the atmosphere rapidly increasing the temperature of the Earth by 6 degrees Celsius. Current global policies are trying to avoid anything more than an increase of 2 degrees Celsius. Take-home message: methane is a planet-killer.
  9. 9. HUMANITY’S GREATEST CHALLENGE
  10. 10. CONNECTINGTHE DOTS The greatest cause of climate change is greedy, arrogant humans giving poorer humans no other choices than to live lives in a system of high risk consumption that ultimately destroys life on the planet.
  11. 11. FOUNDATIONS FOR TODAY’S GLOBAL UNSUSTAINABILITY Colonized Ecological Identities
  12. 12. COLONIZING 
 EARTH-BASED IDENTITIES Western Europeans created identities that convinced themselves that they were a superior version of “human” while all others were not fully human. The fundamental basis for Western Europeans thinking that they were superior was that they saw themselves as being farther removed from nature than the people that they colonized, enslaved, killed, and dominated (Africans, Indigenous Americans, Hawaiians, Polynesians, Southeast Asian Islanders, Puerto Ricans, and women).
  13. 13. EUROPEAN COLONIZERS & AMERICAN INDIANS Clash of two peoples with two different “ecological selves” European Colonizers: Nature for profit, land ownership, enclosure, capitalist mindset/values American Indians: Nurturance, reciprocity, sustainable mindset/values Genocide: From up to 18 million in 1490’s to 190,000 in 1890, up to 200 million Indians died in the Americas Land Domination Cultural Foundations
  14. 14. RELIGIOUS FOUNDATIONS Pre-date Christianity Pre-date Islam Pre-date Judaism Earth-based spiritualities Found in all parts of the world
  15. 15. EUROPEAN COLONIZERS & WEST AFRICANS Clash of two peoples with two different “ecological selves” European Colonizers: Nature for profit, land ownership, enclosure, capitalist mindset/ values West Africans: Nurturance, reciprocity, sustainable mindset/values Slavery:About 12 million captured and shipped to the Americas, 645,000 brought to the U.S., nearly 4 million slaves in the 1860 census Domination for profit via capitalism
  16. 16. CREATING PATRIARCHY Women are closer to nature than men;! Nature is wild, chaotic, and uncontrollable Therefore... Women are wild, chaotic, and uncontrollable Adam & Eve Mythopoetic Foundations
  17. 17. REALISM & PATRIARCHY Women are closer to nature than men;! Nature is wild, chaotic, and uncontrollable Therefore... Women are wild, chaotic, and uncontrollable Aristotle and Phyllis 
 (Alexander the Great’s Wife) "If thus it happened to me, an old man most wise, that I was deceived by a woman, you can see that I taught you well, that it could happen to you, a young man." - Aristotle Philosophic Foundations
  18. 18. MAINTAINING PATRIARCHY A mass killing of women during the “Burning Times” in Europe & the US Removal of a religion where women are spiritual leaders and the central spirit is seen as feminine. ! Origin story: Goddess comes into her own, splits her self to have a male half who governs the physical plane (physical universe), and we are all aspects of the Goddess with the support of the God. Religious & Social Foundations
  19. 19. MAINTAINING PATRIARCHY Movement out of nature and into “Human” as separate from nature Nature is where Satan resides Technology is Godly & righteous Christian missionaries with indigenous peoples globally, negative views on nudity Killing of at least tens of thousands of “witches” from 1400s-1600s Continued persecution of paganism, neopaganism, and Wicca A mass killing of women during the “Burning Times” in Europe & the US Religious & Social Foundations
  20. 20. Aloha & Haole
  21. 21. Aloha & Haole Aloha ! “Together, we breathe the sacred breath”! A consciousness that we are inescapably interwoven with each other and the earth. ! What we do to each other and the earth, we do to ourselves.
  22. 22. Aloha & Haole Haole ! “One who is without sacred breath”! A consciousness that does not include an awareness that we are inescapably interwoven with each other and the earth. ! A consciousness only of self and an ignorance of one’s energetic and spiritual impact. Often comes with little or no understanding of spirituality or the purpose of one’s soul (soul loss).
  23. 23. EDUCATING TOWARDS AFFLUENCE Colonized Ecological Identities
  24. 24. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION MISSION STATEMENT “[The U.S. Department of Education’s] mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.”
 -- U.S. Department of Education Website (2016) What are the roles of education in this context?
  25. 25. EDUCATION FOR COMPETITION “[The U.S. Department of Education’s] mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.”
 -- U.S. Department of Education Website (2016) Major intended outcome: 
 Create mid-level, STEM-based, affluent workers Major consequence:
 Students become worker-consumers both perpetuating the business of consumption and acting as consumers. Westernized consumption is the primary measure to determine a country’s level of success and entry into a “modernized” world. 
 However, Westernized consumption is the leading cause for global environmental degradation including, but not limited to, climate change.
  26. 26. COLLEGE- AND CAREER-READY AND GLOBALLY COMPETITIVE RHETORIC 
 OR EDUCATING TOWARDS AFFLUENCE “[The U.S. Department of Education’s] mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.”
 -- U.S. Department of Education Website (2016) College- and career-ready, and global competitiveness are the only goals of public education in the mission statement. Providing educational excellence in our schools with equal access is the path towards being college- and career-ready and becoming a globally competitive worker. College- and career-ready, and global competitiveness rhetoric means graduating students into mainly careers that produce affluence.Affluence is the reward for adhering to the demands of PreK-18 curricula. However, college- and career-ready, and global competitiveness rhetoric ignores issues of unsustainability that are maintained when students are seen as future workers in a current system that is the central cause of climate change.
  27. 27. UNSUSTAINABILITY AND CHALLENGES OF AFFLUENCE “[The U.S. Department of Education’s] mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.”
 -- U.S. Department of Education Website (2016) Affluence is held as the reward for succeeding in schools, but affluent lifestyles are environmentally unsound. The material goods of contemporary affluent lifestyles come from almost exclusively very poor, low-wage (slave-wage) workers in the global South and East Asia who are deeply exploited for labor and live in ever increasingly polluted environments that are causing alarming rates of cancer and other severe health problems that shorten life expectancy. Affluence paints a distorted picture of social justice. Social justice cannot just mean moving the “have-nots” into a lifestyle that is largely consumeristic and environmentally problematic. Affluence also adds to social unsustainability. Affluent people are not incentivized to significantly change a social/economic system that is effectively working for them.They generally see the system as providing enough “fair” possibilities for people through a perception of meritocracy. However, affluent people also feel like when they suffer financial loss, others leverage that to put them down and say that they deserve it.
  28. 28. UNSUSTAINABILITY AND CHALLENGES OF AFFLUENCE Work is a central component to affluent people’s lifestyles. However, work is endless and dominant in every aspect of life. A life where work is a central component often means that there is isolation and stressed intimate and familial relationships. Affluent people often work continuously and have great difficulty separating work from personal lives.Affluent parents rely more heavily on electronic communication before, during, and after work, which infiltrates nearly every part of their day. Affluent parents struggle to find routine quality time with their children who then often feel distant from their parents.This distance creates deeper addictions to technology/media, depression, and anxieties that have lifelong effects. Because of a continuous work schedule, affluent parents hire outside help (such as nannies, babysitters, land caretakers, and housekeeping) to run their households and care for their children. A separation of the generations in families is another goal or sign of “success.” Affluent parents often involve their children in many after school and summer extracurriculars, which may provide children with some social skills, but also tends to further minimize quality time at home. The constant involvement of children in extracurriculars provides a schedule for the children that begins to mimic that of the parents’ work schedules. Since affluent children have more access to money, substance experimentation and abuse is common.
  29. 29. UNSUSTAINABILITY AND CHALLENGES OF AFFLUENCE Affluence is a buffer for the super wealthy and allows for a rationalization of disparity. If affluence is seen as achievable in a context of competition, then the hyper- greed of the super wealthy becomes more allowable. Affluence needs to be contrasted with prosperity.They are not the same. Prosperity is not built upon a reified notion of competition. Prosperity, as a root metaphor, encourages sharing and cooperation.Affluence is rooted more in self-centric notions. Prosperity is rooted more in philosopher, Martin Buber’s “I- Thou” mindset whereby all people (who are interconnected) achieve stability, reduce excessive stress, and can rely on each other.
  30. 30. SUSTAINABILITY FRAMEWORK Ecological, Social/Cultural, and Economic
  31. 31. EDUCATING TOWARDS SUSTAINABILITY A Necessary Paradigm Shift
  32. 32. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION MISSION STATEMENT (REVISITED) “[The U.S. Department of Education’s] mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.”
 -- U.S. Department of Education Website (2016) The U.S. Department of Education’s mission is to fully support the optimal educational growth and success of every student in order to create environmental sustainability, social and cultural empowerment, and economic prosperity by fostering equality, solidarity, wellness, and peaceful democratic discourse.
  33. 33. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION MISSION STATEMENT (REVISITED) The U.S. Department of Education’s mission is to fully support the optimal educational growth and success of every student in order to create environmental sustainability, social and cultural empowerment, and economic prosperity by fostering equality, solidarity, wellness, and peaceful democratic discourse. What are the roles of education in this context? The economic prosperity piece is still there, but it exists in a different relationship, perhaps a healthier one. Economic prosperity as an outcome of competition is not prosperity for all. It is prosperity for the few. Economic prosperity couched in solidarity, wellness, and environmental balance is more towards prosperity for all.
  34. 34. WHAT ARETHE AIMS OF EDUCATING FOR SUSTAINABILITY Peaceful communication (peaceful listening, validation, finding common ground, negotiation, compromise) Identification of ecological, social/cultural, and economic problems and possibilizing (piloting, data gathering, studying, researching) in a community Sustainability literacy/fluency (environmental sciences, Building of positive relationships Creating sustainable, responsible options in the marketplace Stable work Strengthen local economics Sustainable food production Replacing accountability with responsibility Maximizing homes for sustainability (energy efficiency, organic gardening, renewable energy, homesteading, etc.)
  35. 35. RUNNING CORE EDUCATIONAL ASSUMPTIONS THROUGH SUSTAINABILITY LENSES Anthropologist/philosopher, co-founder of cybernetics, Gregory Bateson stated we are often missing an understanding of a) how we create an “ecology” in our mind of reality, and b) that adding a new element to an existing ecology affects the entire network. Learning Theories Classroom Management Curricula Issues of Diversity
  36. 36. EDUCATIONTHROUGH A SUSTAINABILITY LENS Learning Theories A change from convergent thinking to divergent thinking. A change from decontextualized to contextualized knowledge.
  37. 37. CONVERGENTTHINKING
  38. 38. DIVERGENTTHINKING
  39. 39. EDUCATIONTHROUGH A SUSTAINABILITY LENS From Classroom Management to Classroom Climate Movement from standardization and sameness to empowerment and happiness. Movement from positive reinforcement to positive relationships.
  40. 40. EDUCATIONTHROUGH A SUSTAINABILITY LENS From Classroom Management to Classroom Climate Movement from standardization and sameness to empowerment and happiness. Movement from positive reinforcement to positive relationships.
  41. 41. HAPPINESS, NOT SAMENESS Happiness is a goal that we should take seriously. When a person is truly supported to pursue her/his deeper life’s purpose, our society has more people who have the opportunity to more optimally contribute to moving us towards sustainability. Happiness is not a “fluffy” thing.A happiness that is connected to the deeper desires in our soul is transformative and guides us to fulfilling our purposes. A society where people are more able to skillfully identify the desires deep within their soul, manifest them, and contribute them to that society is one that is ultimately more peaceful, able to communicate more democratically, and able to work with more significant problems.
  42. 42. HAPPINESS, NOT SAMENESS Sameness narrows the capacity for deep soul desires to emerge. Sameness forces us to ignore that which makes us unique. Sameness provides greater challenges to a society becoming more sustainable. Schools are going in the completely opposite direction by supporting standardization. Standardization, or sameness, has lifelong effects, especially when we bury our young people in that pressurized culture. Schools ought to be mining every student and helping them find in themselves their own strengths, talents, and gifts that will bring us to a place of greater health, wellness, balance, and sustainability.
  43. 43. POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT IS ABOUT CONTROL Positive reinforcement is not about making a child feel good or confident. By definition, positive reinforcement has nothing to do with making a child feel good or confident. Positive reinforcement is about manipulating a person so that they continually produce a desired behavior. Positive reinforcement, just like negative reinforcement, punishment, and reward, is about controlling a person. Positive reinforcement feels fake and disingenuous to students because it is. Positive reinforcement pushes students away from the teacher. It makes students feel like they are a burden to the teacher. Positive reinforcement does not move us towards sustainability or peace. It is an attempt to strip a person of their unique differences and gifts in order to make them become predictable, docile, and indistinguishable in significant ways. Behaviorists, like B.F. Skinner, made it their mission to reduce people to scientifically predictable sets of behaviors when surrounded by specific reinforcements, punishments, and rewards through operant conditioning. Positive reinforcement was not designed to build a person up. It was designed to break a person down. Most popular behavior management programs rely heavily on positive reinforcement for their methods.
  44. 44. POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS, 
 NOT POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT Learners do best when they have genuinely positive relationships with their teachers. Period. The more a student feels supported by her/his teacher, the more s/he is likely to succeed. Students will take more risks. They will be more likely to go outside of their comfort zones. Their behaviors are far more cooperative and engaging. They do not need to be controlled.They are willing participants. Teachers are more inclined to see the possibilities for every child no matter their background, difficulties, or stresses. Students see their own possibilities and contributions more clearly.
  45. 45. POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS, 
 NOT POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT Positive relationships are important because they need to be modeled in order to show students how to better relate to one another, communicate with each other, look for possibilities in each other, encourage the best in each other, and take on challenges together. Sustainable societies have people who are looking for the best in each other, actively listening with their mind and hearts, and validating/affirming each other. Adults can show children how to do this in real life situations and talk about the challenges of doing this when stresses arise.
  46. 46. EDUCATIONTHROUGH A SUSTAINABILITY LENS Curricula Movement from decontextualized to contextualized Interconnected curricula
  47. 47. CURRICULUM SHAPES ITSELF What do each of the subject areas look like when: We approach content from a theory-to-context-to-practice perspective? We (re)contextualize content? We excavate all of the perspectives present in a community that pertain to a given topic? We connect philosophies with knowledge making processes? We engage students in actual research of their communities using actual research methods? We blur or knock down the walls of the classroom and relocate learning in the everyday world? In other words, we repurpose the classroom space for learning in an inquiry-based, conference style, dialogue- centric experience in order to debrief about experiences from outside the classroom. We move from the end point of getting the “right” answer to the target of trying to understand the diversity and nuances of knowledge that exist in our communities?
  48. 48. EDUCATIONTHROUGH A SUSTAINABILITY LENS Issues of Diversity Towards solidarity, affirmation, and critique of power.
  49. 49. DIFFERENCE IS GOOD, 
 PRIVILEGE IS NOT Social justice is not about creating equal access to a destructive system that exploits “other” people and nature. 
 Social justice is about creating a society where people of all backgrounds have equal access to a sustainable life. Difference is to be protected, not marginalized, ranked, or narrowed. Difference provides more sustainability. We need to careful about attaching stress to race and culture as if they are part of those races and cultures. Pedagogy needs to be developed to truly protect difference and critique privilege, separate stress from race/culture, and connect social justice with sustainability.

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