SLS approaches sustainability as an integrated system, linking environment, economy, and society. As an initiative focused on “creating sustainable communities,” we especially emphasize the role that SOCIETY plays in sustainability – and particularly issues of social equity and community voice. You can learn about SLS’ approach to sustainable communities here. The purpose of this tool is to help students begin to understand the SOCIETY part of sustainability. It includes two exercises and resources for learning more.
The following rubric assesses SLO 3: Students will be able to evaluate how decisions impact the sustainability of communities. Students who rank highly on this rubric are able to evaluate how a variety of decisions that occur within and outside of communities affect community sustainability. Students can explain/demonstrate how different stakeholders, seeking to achieve different outcomes, can make decisions that create consequences for community sustainability. The consequences of that impact often disproportionately affect marginalized groups.
Environmental Justice (EJ) is concerned with making sure that (a) no community takes on an unfair share of environmental burdens and (b) environmental benefits are shared in an equitable way regardless of race, class, gender, or orientation. The Environmental Justice Movement challenges environmental injustices, with a special focus on racial and class disparities, in the U.S. and around the globe. The purpose of this tool is to help students begin to understand:
What EJ is – and what environmental injustices are;
How the EJ movement works to address EJ issues (especially in the U.S. South, where the movement was born) with close attention to injustices related to race and class;
The different types of roles that scientists and engineers in particular can play in this work.
This tool was contributed by Jennifer Hirsch. We also want to thank Fatemeh Shafiei from Spelman College for contributing to this tool.
This journaling tool, based on a lesson created by Yelena Rivera-Vale and Kristina Chatfield, introduces first year students to Georgia Tech’s efforts to create a sustainable campus community. Touring sites on campus, documenting the tour experience through journaling and photography, and considering the ways that sustainable design can impact the environment, equity, and economy will teach students about how effective sustainable design impacts both Georgia Tech and the wider Atlanta community.