Environmental Sustainability in Practice

Table of Contents

Welcome to Environmental Sustainability in Practice! We are excited that you are interested in learning more about what is happening in the field of environmental sustainability. We have chosen to introduce you to five areas in which society is working towards environmental sustainability: education, planning and management, agriculture, geospatial technologies, and communications. These areas reflect the expertise of the individuals involved in the development of the learning modules, as well as provide a sample of the diversity of disciplines, practices, and actors involved in the pursuit of environmental sustainability. Many other areas and topics could have been added to this work, but this was beyond the scope of the project. We hope the examples chosen highlight the interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary nature of environmental sustainability, the complexity of the field, as well as the positive steps that are being taken toward a more sustainable world. You can work through the modules in order, or choose whichever interests you the most and begin there.

Navigating Scalar

You have arrived at the course home page. The modules topics are listed below. You can being by clicking on the navigation button, "Begin with Introduction: What is Environmental Sustainability?" at the bottom, or click on a topic listed in the Contents. You can also navigate through the modules by clicking on the menu button in the upper left-hand corner of the page and selecting a topic.

There are many links throughout the module that you can click on. Some will take you to other pages within this book, some will take you to external web pages, and still others provide definitions or further reading. The Things to Think About and Try it Yourself links provide opportunities for you to engage with the material through self-reflection and application or exploration of concepts.

About Us

These open-access modules have been developed by members of the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) at Brock University, located in St. Catharines, Ontario. One of five transdisciplinary hubs at Brock, the ESRC is a transformative and creative transdisciplinary community dedicated to research and education advancing environmental sustainability locally and globally. In working towards this mission, the ESRC:
  • encourages research excellence in environmental sustainability by faculty, librarians, and students;
  • enables enriching educational experiences in environmental sustainability; and
  • engages in knowledge mobilization and fosters knowledge impacts. 

More information about the ESRC, including its undergraduate and graduate programming, is available here.

The ESRC is uniquely positioned to study environmental sustainability in that Brock University lies in the heart of the Niagara Region, and is one of the few universities worldwide to be located in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve - a living research site of environmental sustainability in practice. Throughout the modules, you will see some examples of how different stakeholders in the Region are addressing issues critical to its environmental, social, and economic sustainability.


The creation of the following modules would not have been possible without the collaborative effort and support of a number of individuals at Brock University and the many individuals who kindly agreed to take part in this project beyond the campus. The ESRC would like to acknowledge and thank the following Faculty and individuals for their input, support, and dedication to the project to bring you these learning modules:

Sustainability Education: Dr. Xavier Fazio, Christine Janzen, Amanda Smits, Dr. Douglas D. Karrow
Environmental Planning and Management: Dr. Julia Baird, Dr. Chris Fullerton, Dr. Ryan Plummer, Dr. Romila Verma
Sustainable Agriculture: Dr. Liette Vasseur, Dr. Wendee Kubik, Dr. Julia Baird
Geospatial Technologies: Dr. Marilyne Jollineau, Brodie Hague, Dr. Kevin Turner, Darren Platakis
Environmental Communications: Dr. Todd Green, Dr. Gary Pickering, Samantha Morris

The completion of this project would not have been possible without the support of many individuals at Brock University who worked “behind the scenes” to ensure the project's completion and success. We are grateful for their knowledge, insight, time, and collegiality. 
  • Steering Committee Members
    • Dr. Ryan Plummer
    • Dr. Christopher Fullerton
    • Dr. Liette Vasseur
    • Matt Clare
    • Brodie Hague
    • Christine Janzen
  • Brock University’s Centre for Pedagogical Innovation (CPI)
    • Dr. Jill Grose, Director
    • Matt Clare
    • Giulia Forsythe
  • Project Administration Team
    • Dr. Ryan Plummer
    • Luaine Hathaway
    • Brodie Hague
    • Christine Janzen
    • Amanda Smits
    • Carrie Sportel
We would also like to express our sincere thanks to the following individuals who took the time to help create video content for this project:
  • Matt Bruder, Manager of Planning Services, Town of Lincoln
  • Ed Hughes, owner of Hughes Vineyards, Vineland
  • Charles Hopkins, UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Teacher Education at York University, Toronto
  • Simon Guan, Sustainability Programs Manager, General Motors of Canada
  • Heidi Levitzky, Environmental Officer, Global Propulsion Systems, General Motors of Canada
  • Susanne Robitaille, Forest School Facilitator, Rosalind Blauer Child Care Centre, Brock University, St. Catharines
  • Ryan Thiessen, owner of Creekshore Farms, St. Catharines
These videos could not have been created without the hard work of Brock TV, including Executive Director Mitch Morrone and his wonderful team, who produced and edited all of the videos illustrating local examples of environmental sustainability practices. 

The ESRC would also like to thank the following reviewers whose constructive comments and feedback further enhanced the module content.
  • Dr. Derek Armitage, Professor, School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability, University of Waterloo
  • Dr. Bradley May, Sessional Lecturer, Environmental Change & Governance Group, Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo
  • Mackenzie Ceci, Student, Brock University  
Finally, the ESRC would like to thank eCampus Ontario for the generous financial funding that was used to create these modules, and to Peggy French for her support and guidance on behalf of eCampus Ontario.

This book is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 license except where otherwise noted. This license allows for reuse, adaptation, remixing, and redistribution of content, so long as you attribute it to the original authors, indicate if changes are made, and link to the original, free content, found at http://brockuesrc.ca/environmental-sustainability-in-practice/index.

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