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Researcher Speaks at United Nations Environmental Assembly about Sustainability Education

Rebecca Potter, director of the University of Dayton sustainability studies program and associate professor of English, was a panelist discussing sustainable education last week at the United Nations Environmental Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya.

The assembly, comprised of environmental ministers from all 193 U.N. member states, is the world's highest-level decision-making body on the environment. 

The panel discussion sponsored by the U.N. Science and Technology Working Group — "Can Sustainability Education Impact Sustainable Consumption and Production?" — identified the role education can play in furthering the U.N.'s sustainable development goals, transforming lifestyles and inspiring new career paths.

"I discussed the need for open dialogue and broad participation by educators in developing core competencies in sustainability for higher education," Potter said. "Our session attracted interest from more than a dozen nations."

She attended the assembly as part of this year's National Council for Science and the Environment delegation. The council advances environmental policy and decision-making through scientific research, assessment, information-sharing, training and curriculum development. 

Potter, who is working on the launch of an undergraduate major and graduate program in sustainability at the University of Dayton, has examined engaged-learning at the master's and undergraduate levels. Her current research project — The Cassandra Effect — is working to understand the public response to climate change. The study examines narratives of doubt, uncertainty, risk, skepticism and denial of climate change, and the challenges of moving social concern to social and political actions that address climate change and its impacts.

For interviews, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at srobinson1@udayton.edu or 937-229-3391.


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