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Sustainability Education Research Guide

A research portal to sustainability resources at Humber and beyond.


  • Beware of student overload.  The messaging around a global environmental crises can overwhelm students. Cognitive overload can cause students to disengage, which can disrupt learning.
  • Deconstruct eco-language.  Spend time teasing apart the legacy of environmental terminology such as “sustainability,” “environmentalism,” “stewardship,” “nature” and other terms. 
  • Embrace intersectionality.  A comprehensive understanding of environmentalism involves a wide variety of disciplines and views, including an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) mindset. Encouraging students to consider EDI when discussing environmentalism can be a challenge, but it it's a moral and professional imperative that becomes easier with resources, such as Humber's Office of Sustainability or organizing guest speakers.
  • Offer balanced perspectives.  Refrain from sticking only to negative stories and be sure to emphasize environmental success stories (e.g., Montreal Protocol)
  • Peer engagement.  Engaging students in group projects and discussions in which they have the opportunity to support one another can alleviate feelings of overload. 
  • Student analysis of data.  Students learn more about an environmental problem by working with empirical data for themselves, rather than listening to lectures secondary sources.
  • Take care of yourself. It is not uncommon for professors and scientists to experience climate change anxiety as a result of their work (see these letters written by climate scientists). Don't hesitate to reach out to the Office of Sustainability if you are experiencing climate anxiety. 

-Adapted from Beth Conklin's tips for teaching sustainability

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • To what extent have the following aspects of environmental sustainability been considered within the life cycle of your research project? See more information here.
    • Transportation (e.g. ability to conduct virtual sessions to reduce emissions from transportation)
    • Material purchased (e.g. supplies are purchased from sustainable vendors)
    • Materials disposal (e.g. materials are reused or recycled)
    • Energy consumption (e.g. consideration for the energy consumption of activities)
    • Food (e.g. plant-based and diverse foods have been considered)
  • Which previous research projects in your field best model sustainability? The Scholars Project Library documents applied research produced since 2011 at the University of British Columbia that model sustainability.
  • Does the research decision-making take into account the impact of racism, sexism, colonialism, ableism, colonialism, homophobia, transphobia, poverty, ageism and other forms of oppressions?
  • How have you intentionally involved stakeholders who are also members of the communities affected by this research? 

-Adapted from Portland Public School Racial Equity Lens, Confederation College:

Diversity, Equity and Indigenous Lens, City of Ottawa: Gender Equality Reference Group

Faculty of Applied Sciences and Technology

Faculty of Business

Faculty of Health Science and Wellness

Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Innovative Learning

Faculty of Media and Creative Arts

Faculty of Social and Community Services