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Urban Garden

Advancing Cornell-Edinburgh Leadership in Sustainability Education

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Project description

Local communities can address the current environmental crisis through sustainability actions. For example, youth and other community members can engage in environmental policy-making and political activism, critiquing and influencing social norms, facilitating civic ecology education, and organizing stewardship projects.


However some communities and groups of people have been not only disproportionately affected by environmental issues, but also denied equal participation in environmental action. They include communities of color, low-income communities, rural and geographically isolated communities, native and tribal communities, as well as people marginalized due to their ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, socioeconomic status, or disability.


Formal and nonformal environmental education programs have the potential to engage these communities in sustainability action, and thus contribute to community sustainability and social equity. But it is unclear what educational approaches and principles are most effective at involving vulnerable communities.


To explore this topic in the context of the U.S. and Scotland, the Cornell-Edinburgh team will review relevant literature, conduct narrative research with environmental educators in vulnerable communities, and interview environmental education professionals in the US and Scotland.


This research aims to create recommendations for the professional development of environmental educators who foster sustainability action in vulnerable communities.

Project coordinators:

Alex Kudryavtsev

Marianne Krasny

Beth Christie


  1. Knowledge Exchange Seminar (April 2023). Cornell and Edinburgh team exchanging ideas about the professional development of environmental educators.

  2. Narrative data collection and interviews in Scotland (June 2023).

  3. Narrative data collection and interviews in the U.S. (September 2023).


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Environmental education

Sustainability action

Vulnerable communities

Collaborators include:

  • Cornell University

  • University of Edinburgh

  • Learning for Sustainability Scotland

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