About us

Sustainable Food, Environment and Social Systems in Australia 2011
July 18 – August 13, 2011
www.msu.edu/course/be/475/australia
Instructors: Jim Lucas, lucasjam@msu.edu & Luke Reese, reesel@msu.edu

Thank you for participating with our 2011 study abroad program.

Regardless of your role, we welcome and encourage you to share and interact with our students who are studying sustainable food, environment and social systems in Australia. Sustainability is our major theme; however, our four-week study program explores sustainability in many context—including Australian wilderness, urban, and agricultural systems—with an emphasis on human interactions with these environments and one another. Students will explore broad questions related to sustainability and connect these questions back to their lives as future professionals, scholars, and citizens. These questions include:

1. What is sustainability? How can it be defined and measured?
2. How do humans’ culture and context influence their attitudes and interaction with the world?
3. How do social and economic issues influence humans’ interactions with their environments?
4. What are our personal and collective responsibilities toward promoting sustainability?

Any way you can help our students reflect on and answer these questions would be appreciated.  Please feel free to post comments and questions on our blog to inspire thinking and reflection. Prior to our journey, we offered (5) 2-hour orientations on sustainability, Australian history and culture, environmental footprints and ecosystem services, and cultural awareness.   Reading for these orientations and the course reading pack came from sources such as:

  1. Cullen, P., Young, M., & McColl. J. (2008). Water. In D. Lindenmayer, S. Dovers, M. H. Olson, & S. Morton (Eds.), Ten commitments: Reshaping the lucky country’s environment. Collingwood, VIC: CSIRO Publishing.
  2. Dresner, S. (2008). “Introduction: What is Sustainability?” The Principles of Sustainability, 2nd Ed. London, UK: Earthscan. pp 1-5.
  3. Edwards, W.H. (2003).  An Introduction to Aboriginal Societies, 2nd Ed. Melbourne,  AU: Thomson Social Science Press
  4. Goldie, J., Douglas, B., & Furnass, B., (Eds.) (2004).  In Search of Sustainability. Canberra, AU: CSIRO Publishing.
  5. Lewis, R., White, J., & Chandler, W. (2010). Education – revolution or resilience. In S. Cork (Ed.), Resilience and Transformation: Preparing Australia for Uncertain Futures. Collingwood, VIC: CSIRO Publishing.
  6. Lindenmayer, D. (2007). “The Good: Australia, the Ecological Paradise.” On borrowed time: Australia’s environmental crisis and  what we must do about it. Camberwell, Australia: Penguin Books. pp 1-33.
  7. McEwen, S. (2005). Ecologic: Creating a sustainable
    future
    . Haymarket, NSW: Powerhouse Publishing
  8. Steffen, W., Burbidge, A.A., Hughes, L., Kitching, R., Lindenmayer, D., Musgrave, W., Stafford-Smith, M., & Werner, P.A. (2009). The nature of Australia’s biodiversity. Australia’s Biodiversity and Climate Change. Collingwood, VIC: CSIRO Publishing.

Our journey will take us to Adelaide (July 18-20); the Barossa Valley and Renmark (July 21-23); Broken Hill (July 24-28); Sydney (July 29- Aug. 1); and Cairns, Atherton Tablelands, Townsville, and Magnetic Island (Aug. 2-12).   Our group of 19 Uni students (10 females, 9 males) contains a diverse range of academic majors and interests, which we view as a strength that helps us to better understand sustainable problem-solving using a systems approach.  This diversity also means that when presenting, we ask that speakers remember that all students in the room or blog might not have the same background. Our 2011 group consists of:

  • 8 students who have College of Agriculture and  Natural Resources majors and 2 with physical/biological science majors for a total of 10 physical science majors
  • 3 students who are engineering majors (1 mechanical, 1 biosystems and 1 civil)
  • 2 students who have social science majors and 1 economics major
  • 2 students with education and communication majors and 1 arts and humanities major

Average age for the group is approximately 20 and most students are at the mid-point or later of their academic studies. You will find our full itinerary on our website listed above along with our daily blog entries.   We thank you for your participation in our study abroad program and your assistance in fostering global citizenship and sustainability.

One response to “About us

  1. Congratulations to all of the participants in the 2011 Study Abroad trip to Australia, and thank you for continuing to update the blog for people like me to be able to follow your journey! One day I’ll be making my pilgrimage to Australia and I’ll be able to see the same sights as you all have seen.

    Promoting environmental responsibility and sustainability should be a top priority among all citizens of the world, and it has to start with our youth. I know that you will never forget the lessons you learn this summer, and I hope that you’ll use them to make a difference.

    Have a great trip; I’ll continue to live vicariously through your blog entries until I get to take a flight there myself!

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