Beyond Rio+20: Combating Environmental Crises Through Education and Action
Thinking globally and acting locally have never been more essential. From climate change and the collapse of our oceans to green energy and resource conservation, we must prepare for a new and more sustainable world. Spurred on by the United Nations' Rio+20 document "The Future We Want", governments around the globe are looking more and more to educational institutions to help implement sustainable development through transformative curriculum, collaborative outreach, green job training, and research and development. As critical homes for teaching, learning, training, and new ideas, higher education offers the platform to deliver the necessary tools for empowering students to become the engaged workers and citizens for our sustainable future. Learn more about actions being taken around the world and discuss how Whitman can join in this larger mission to foster healthy green economies, ecosystems, and communities.
Kim Smith received her B.A. in sociology from Whitman College in 1990 and her Ph.D. in sociology from Indiana University in 2000. She has taught sociology at Portland Community College (PCC), in Portland, Oregon, since 1996 and specializes in environmental sociology and social movements. Kim also has served as PCC's Service-Learning Coordinator, the Teaching Learning Center Co-Director and the Training Coordinator for PCC's Summer Sustainability Institute. She is committed to promoting sustainability within the community and has worked closely with many non-profits, including the Northwest Earth Institute, the Community Energy Project, City Repair, and Hands on Greater Portland, where she served as a board member for six years. Last summer, she served as the higher education representative for North America, through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), at the United Nations Rio+20 Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro. This led to her current effort to create a Portland Regional Center of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development, through the United Nations University system.