Date of Award

8-2014

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Interdisciplinary Program

Advisor

Kristina Nielson

Second Committee Member

Joline Blais

Third Committee Member

John Bear Mitchell

Abstract

For decades now, there has been a growing recognition of the need for environmentally “sustainable” practices (practices which ensure future generations will be able to live at least as well as the current generations), as well as considerable commitment of resources to justify, identify, and implement appropriate practices. Although scientific evidence, education and even legislation can inspire sustainable (pro- environmental/social) intention, this often does not translate into individual sustainable behavior.

Research has already shown correlation between individual well-being and such pro-environmental behaviors as reduced consumption of material goods, as well as prosocial behaviors such as professional ethics. Relatively few resources have been invested, however, in exploring these links fully or in providing education in promoting well-being as a means of promoting sustainable behavior.

As a means of addressing the gap between knowledge of the need for sustainable behavior and one's individual practice, this project will review existing literature to (1) show that well-being and happiness serve as a prerequisite of consistent sustainable behavior; (2) identify current means of measuring well-being and effective ways of increasing our well-being, as well as common thought and behavior patterns which interfere with our well-being; and (3) briefly discuss current efforts toward teaching both well-being and sustainability. The remainder of the project will explore several of the resources and frameworks useful to instructors of such a curriculum; discuss effective pedagogy; propose an outline for such a course; and offer alternative implementations.

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