Nature as Our Teacher: Learning Skills to Shape Change

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Course DatesLengthMeeting TimesStatusFormatInstructor(s)CRN
June 28, 2021 - July 14, 20216/28 - 7/142 WeeksOnlineWaitlistedOnlineLydia Geschiere

Course Description

Adaptive, resilient, interdependent, fecund, fractal are all traits that describe elements and patterns found within nature, but what do these words and patterns have to teach us about shaping change within the environmental movement? Nature has always had it all figured out- sustainability, healing, growth, balance, community. Using wisdom from the book “Emergent Strategy” by adrienne maree brown and works of other visionaries, organizers, and scientists, this course will position nature as our teacher, exploring phenomena and patterns within ecosystems in an effort to find inspiration and ponder how to lead and imagine a way forward in the face of intersectional global crises.

Youth are at the forefront of the environmental movement, which is a movement in the pursuit of justice and learning about relationships with one another and nature. This course will offer interested students the opportunity to better understand these critical relationships and make meaning of them. Through a series of readings and video lectures featuring various natural phenomena, as well as leadership development activities and critical self and group reflection, students will develop a deeper appreciation of our interconnected world, and grow their understanding of how to be an advocate for the environment and for our collective futures. As an overarching project, students will identify a pressing issue that they are passionate about and, with support from faculty and peers, will create an Action Plan to apply their learning from the course to take action on this issue in their home communities. Students are welcome, but not required, to think about potential topics before the course begins. A key component of this class is the emphasis on the role of community in nature and in movement building. Therefore, this course will have three synchronous lessons/discussions as a means to build community as a class and learn from one another. There will be an option for alternative assignments for any student unable to attend due to time differences or other difficulties.

By the end of this course, students will: -Learn how patterns in nature model solutions to address intersectional environmental issues and the pursuit of justice. -Identify and strengthen their personal leadership qualities and think about powerful ways of collaborating and problem solving with others. -Learn a range of perspectives from multiple identities discussing environmental issues and how to be in relationship with the environment. -Practice imagining solutions for the complex, intersectional issues we face by developing an Action Plan project, using lessons from the course to demonstrate learning and generate positive change within their local communities.

Prerequisites: None.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEES0932

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences for students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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