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Academy News

Sustainability Reading Group

During Fall 2011 a group of faculty, graduate students, staff, and community members initiated a reading group whose initial study was Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac. A Sand County Almanac contains beautiful nature writing, pragmatic land management advice grounded in the interconnected character of each part of "the land" system, and forceful ethical and political statements. 

The group has continued since that time and is composed of current and emeritus faculty and community members representing: Anthropology, Architecture, Administration, Building Better Communities, Chemistry, Clergy, English, Facilities Planning and Management, History, Journalism, Natural Resources and Environmental Management, Nutrition, Philosophy, and Sociology.

Over the past few years the group has read:

  • Carolan, Michael. Society and the Environment
  • DeGraaf, John. Take Back Your Time
  • Gardiner, Stephen. A Perfect Moral Storm
  • Heinberg, Richard. The End of Growth
  • Klein, Naomi. This Changes Everything
  • Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac
  • Lovins, Amory. Reinventing Fire
  • Mann, Michael. The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars
  • McKibben, Bill. Eaarth
  • Moore & Nelson, Moral Ground
  • Speth, James. Bridge at the End of the World

In addition to discussing books, the group has discussed numerous articles and videos including:

  • George Lakoff, “Why it Matters How We Frame the Environment,” Environmental Communication, Vol. 4, No. 1, March 2010, pp. 70-81 
  • John Cook, “The Debunking Handbook”
  • Lynn White, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis"

The Sustainability Reading Group is an exemplar of the interdisciplinary thinking so needed in sustainability education and practice, and a valuable centerpiece for the group as it builds interdisciplinary connections for the future of sustainability at Ball State and in East Central Indiana. Future texts will be selected to suit the interests of the regular attendees. In response to reading group discussions faculty who teach classes that are part of the BSU Sustainability Minor are considering course revisions to include interdisciplinary work, and researchers are considering new collaborations.