Ecologists usually study interactions among living and non-living things at a particular spatial scale. Ecological curricula often have a biological focus except in ecosystem or applied ecology courses. At the undergraduate level, the impact of human activity on ecology class discussions is often relegated to urban ecology classes. The discussion of sustainability is a side line in introductory or upper level ecology courses, except in applied research courses, and more intensely addressed in non-science general education courses. To develop a global sustainable society will require that different disciplines understand the many factors that affect “sustainability” and work with a common definition of that term. To start the discussion among disciplines that is necessary to solve global environmental problems ecologists need to outline a clear connection between efficient natural resource management practices and global biodiversity goals. Faculty need to network across disciplines in curriculum development, and consider answers from the point of view of coursework in biology, earth science and physical science majors vs. in the general education or liberal arts core curriculum. The sustainability curriculum outcomes of such interdisciplinary discussions are considered for various undergraduate programs throughout the United States focusing on the process of integration of ecological knowledge.
Eastern Connecticut State University
Copyright: doi.org/10.1038/npre.2009.3611.1 © 2009 copyright