The Charlotte Teachers Initiative (CTI) is an initiative focused on strengthening teaching in the Charlotte area. It hosts a wide range of seminars for teachers led by college professors in the region as well as special events on particular topics for both teachers and the public. I was invited to speak at one of these events in October on “Exploding Canons: Sustainability in Charlotte and Beyond.” It was preceded by a reception and information expo with tables from dozens of sustainability and education related organizations from the area, and moderated by Rob Phocus, energy and sustainability manager for the City of Charlotte.
I was one of several speakers from Davidson College, UNC Charlotte, Wake Forest University, and two Mecklenburg public schools, and started off the event with a presentation on the “Politics of Sustainability.” I talked about the transition from “government to governance” in the context of environmental issues, and the idea of multi-scale polycentric governance that Eleanor Ostrom and others have described as the current reality of sustainability politics. I used two case studies from my own professional experiences to explore the challenges of sustainability issues – one from my work in China with the Nature Conservancy and one from my work as a Co-Founder of GoodGuide.
The audience had some great follow-up questions and comments, and overall I thought the event went really well. I particularly enjoyed meeting some of the teachers and faculty members who have participated in CTI, and learning about all of the organizations that are working on sustainability-related projects in the Charlotte region.