Global environmental degradation and global social inequity are two of the most critical issues of our age. The enormity of the paradigm shift that mainstream societies need to go through to address current environmental, cultural, economic, and social sustainability challenges requires that all actors question their roles. What might they do to contribute to a world where people come to realize their responsibilities and interdependent relationships with the non-human world that sustains all life? In the university sector, what might our roles be as scholars and educators? Are our roles solely to explain what happens so that others, such as political leaders and policy makers, can step in and offer solutions? Many scholars would argue that we should go further and address questions on the policies, political systems, and governance structures that are necessary or desirable. In other words, might university scholars engage in advocacy? What shapes might this advocacy take? Who would be involved? What are the challenges of changing existing power relationships? There is growing realization within and beyond the academy that addressing global ecological and social justice issues requires widening the circle of knowledges and ways of knowing, including bringing together the rationality of scientific empiricism with Indigenous ecological knowledges.
The perceived need for a more vociferous role for educators has led to the emergence of ecopedagogy which focuses on the possibilities of a green world as well as a just world. The question of how pedagogies may contribute to transformative social changes that promote sustainability will be considered at the Fifteenth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic & Social Sustainability. And we warmly welcome proposals for papers, workshops, interactive sessions, posters, and exhibits from all who are interested in sustainability.
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