If a sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, then a truly advanced technology will be indistinguishable from nature.

-Randall Clague

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Sustainability: finding solutions for the continuing co-existence of humans and other life on this planet.


See Cabrillo GreenSteps for general information. The latest news on sustainability initiatives at Cabrillo College is now available on the blog: http://cabrillogreensteps.wordpress.com/

You can see more about what I've been thinking about at my personal blog: Ponderings of a Perplexed PrimateSee links I've found lately at Dr. Pongo's Sustainability bookmarks on del.icio.us.

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Cabrillo College Sustainability Alliance
We also have a site to network and exchange information about sustainability issues at Cabrillo College on WiserEarth:

"We are growing an alliance of students, faculty, staff and administrators at Cabrillo College, all working to transform our college into a hub for sustainability education in our community. We seek to improve sustainable practices on campus, and to increase ecoliteracy education inside and outside the classroom."

Please join us!

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The latest news on sustainability initiatives at Cabrillo College is now available on the blog: http://cabrillogreensteps.wordpress.com/


Due to budget cuts, ANTHR 19G Surviving the Future: The (Re)emergence of Sustainable Cultures is not being offered this year or 2012-2013.

The student clubs I advise, Cabrillo Sustainability Council and Occupy Cabrillo,  were very active this year, as were the Cabrillo Bike CoOp and the Permaculture Club.

Fall 2010 News

Cabrillo GreenSteps is up and running! Thanks to everyone on the Climate Initiative Task Force and in Marketing who helped get this underway.

ANTHR 19G Surviving the Future: The (Re)emergence of Sustainable Cultures is scheduled to be offered as a one-unit course in Spring 2011.

Spring 2010 News

The Climate Task Force hosted a Flex Week event to work on our Climate Action Plan. See the presentation and participate in a discussion of what we can do to reduce Cabrillo's carbon footprint at the Cabrillo College Sustainability Alliance site.

Many sustainability classes at Cabrillo Collge have been put on-hold due to state budget cuts. ANTHR 19G Surviving the Future: The (Re)emergence of Sustainable Cultures will be offered as a one-unit course in Spring 2010.

We'd love to get the student Sustainability Club happening again, and we need to start making plans for Earth Week at Cabrillo. Contact me if you want to join in these efforts.

Fall 2009 News

Flex week activity: Strides toward Teaching Sustainably, Monday 24 Aug 09. 3-5pm

Many sustainability classes at Cabrillo Collge have been put on-hold due to state budget cuts. ANTHR 19G Surviving the Future: The (Re)emergence of Sustainable Cultures was not offered in Fall 2009, but we will be able to offer it as a one-unit course in Spring 2010 (although it has been approved to be expanded into a 2-unit course in the future). Curriculum for a new class, ES 50 Local Sustainability Research and Solutions, was approved in February 2009, but is not being offered, again due to the reduced units available during this budget crunch. The reasoning for not offering these courses is that they are not part of the core curriculum - they are electives not currently considered essential for transfer, graduation or certificates.

April '08 Update:

Sustainability Curriculum Projects and Progress at Cabrillo College Cabrillo College

Master Plan Goal B: Enhancing Excellence in the Classroom and Student Support Services
Draft Objectives and Justification Narrative (Revised: 4/4/08)

4. Promote awareness of the interdisciplinary nature of emerging trends, including global sustainability and social justice.

As the college mission includes "assisting all students in their quest for success… in an ever-changing world," we must increase our efforts to deliver education that reflects emerging realities in the workforce, at the colleges and universities to which our students transfer, and in the broader social and ecological contexts of our world. The need to respond to global changes and the repercussions of our past and current interactions with natural systems and diverse cultures is already a factor in many business and policy decisions, and our students must be prepared for these realities as they enter the workforce. Social justice is inextricably linked with sustainability as world problems are linked to economic issues and ethics in dynamic, global systems. There is broad interest in increasing interdisciplinary approaches to address these complex, interdependent realities.

Spring 2008 & Fall 2007: Educating for Ecoliteracy activities as Flex Week faculty development seminar

January 2008: new website to connect and coordinate with community http://www.wiserearth.org/group/cabrillosustainability

Registration for Spring 2008: "Sustain on the Brain" fliers listing sustainability courses posted on campus and around community (e.g. New Leaf Markets)

Fall 2007: Karen Groppi and Michelle Merrill received small Faculty Grant for Student Success to support "Student Participation in Sustainability Assessment" for curriculum development and additional grant research

Fall 2007: Elissa Wagner and Michelle Merrill took draft Ecological Literacy requirements to Academic Council

Fall 2007: New 1-unit course proposed, approved by Curriculum Committee: Anthropology 19G - Surviving the Future: The (Re)Emergence of Sustainable Cultures

Summer 2007: Brian King signs President's Climate Commitment

Spring 2007 (?): Elissa Wagner proposes revision of Cabrillo College Core Competencies - limited success "Global Awareness: An appreciation of Scientific Processes, Global Systems and Civics, and Artistic Variety" (word "Systems" added)

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January '08: Flex Week Workshops on Sustainability, Wednesday February 6th:

Cabrillo Climate Initiative Organizational Meeting This session is an organizational meeting to explore the challenges of the national College and University Climate Commitment approved by the Cabrillo College Governing Board. The goal of the meeting is the formation of a task force that will develop a clear timetable and a list of goal's for Cabrillo's Climate Initiative. The resulting plan will be a road map to improve energy efficiency and implement campus-wide sustainability measures at Cabrillo. 9-10am SAC 202 Brian King

Education for Ecoliteracy: Continuing the Conversation Before the sea rises to flood Santa Cruz, please join us to continue discussion about what you do or would like to do in class to address issues of ecology and the environment. Our cultures, our economies and our communities all rely on a healthy, functioning biosphere. Solutions for sustainability will come from smart people working across discipline boundaries, finding the ways that environmental concerns can be addressed throughout the disciplines. Let’s discuss strategies for presenting information on the various global environmental crises and their possible solutions. 1-3 pm rm406 Barbara Bloom, Karen Groppi, & Lisa McAndrews

Sustainable Cabrillo Now that Cabrillo has signed on to the President’s Climate Commitment, how will we approach zero greenhouse gas emissions? What innovations will we create towards educating and evolving our campus to a fully sustainable institution? What new or existing best practices in course design, interdisciplinary courses, task forces, community outreach, student-run programs and activities will help us move toward climate neutrality and improve our ecological footprint as a campus community? Open to all members of the Cabrillo community—staff , faculty, students, administrators—who would like to be a part of the greening of our campus. 3-5pm rm406 Karen Groppi, Lisa McAndrews, & Michelle Merrill

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December '07: Karen Groppi and I received a Faculty Grant for Student Success to begin research and development of curricula to give students opportunities to participate in a Cabrillo College. Contact me if you think you might be interested in participating. More info on the way!

November '07: I will be teaching a new 1-unit course in the Spring 2008 semester:

ANTHR 19G Surviving the Future: The (Re)emergence of Sustainable Cultures

Examines tools and ideas for creating sustainable lifestyles, businesses, communities and cultures, and innovative sustainability solutions that are transforming the way the world works. Investigates the complex systems and networks experiencing dynamic change in our environment, our economy and our society to understand where we are now. Provides scenario building strategies to imagine culture changes in future decades.

Section 57076 | Days W | Times 06:00PM-09:00PM | Units1.00 |
Meets 6 weeks 2/27-4/9. Holiday 3/26.

Click here to learn more about this course.

I am also teaching a workshop called "Unlocking Nature's Secrets" through Cabrillo Extension on May 3rd. Registration will begin in January... Stay tuned for more info!

Elissa Wagner and I are working on developing an Ecoliteracy graduation requirement at Cabrillo (similar to the Multicultural requirement). This will mostly be met by existing classes, and will not be officially required of students who began work at Cabrillo before its inception. We presented our ideas to the Academic Council on November 5th, and were met with a very positive response. We're now asking for feedback from faculty on our Ecoliteracy Goals and Criteria, for determining which classes would meet this requirement.

Cabrillo College Solar Update: See news items at Solar Technologies regarding this project. Rumor has it that contention over preserving native habitat versus installing panels up the hillside is heating up again.


"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."
--R. Buckminster Fuller

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Oct-Nov '07: I attended two amazing conferences: Bioneers and This Way to Sustainability III.

October '07: Thank you to Karen Groppi and her Engineering 25 class for inviting me to speak about Biomimicry. Here's a recent article about constructal theory and how biology can improve models for flow in engineering practice: "Going with the Flow" R. Bliwise, Duke Magazine Sept-Oct 2007 and some useful links and text references.

Thank you also to LauraLee Alben, who invited me to give a talk called "From Sumatra to Santa Cruz: Fathoming the Heart of Sustainability," and to the many wonderful people who supported me there. What an excellent opportunity to find ways to connect with, learn from and teach people so together we can co-create a sustainable, resilient culture!

Summer '07: Cabrillo College is currently considering installing solar photovoltaic panels to generate 1 Megawatt of power on campus. We are in negotiations with a thrid-party vendor for a Power Purchase Agreement to fund construction. See the links on the Password Protected page (for Cabrillo College students, faculty, or staff) to learn more.


"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."
--John Muir

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Cabrillo GreenSteps

Cabrillo College Sustainability Alliance

Cabrillo Student Clubs

EcoCruz is a portal for Santa Cruz County organizations and events

Some favorite outside Sustainability links:

  1. Grist
  2. WiserEarth
  3. Apollo Alliance
  4. Biomimicry
  5. Bioneers

See what I've found lately at:
Dr. Pongo's Sustainability bookmarks on del.icio.us

ANTHR 19G Surviving the Future: The (Re)emergence of Sustainable Cultures

Sustainable Cultures Class Blog




Last modified 24-Jan-2011