The home of “things said” by the National Association of Scholars.

How Higher Education Incubated the Eco-Socialism of the Green New Deal

Rachelle Peterson

Sustainability is an ideology in which protecting the environment also concerns protecting society from dangers of any kind. But at what cost?

Episode #14: Regulatory Overreach with Larry Kogan


Peter W. Wood interviews Larry Kogan on sustainability. Join us as Larry takes us on an expedition to the dark underbelly of the regulatory regime.

Divesting Freedom: The Fossil Fuel Divestment’s Campaign Against Civic Debate

Rachelle Peterson

NAS Policy Director Rachelle Peterson spoke in New Orleans, LA on the future of divestment.

Extinct Experiments

Peter Wood

NAS celebrates a victory as the Divestment Student Network closes. 

Debating Scientific Epistemology

Edward R. Dougherty

Professor Dougherty discusses the dangers of modeling complex systems in response to Professors Gilley and Goldstein.

No Regrets

Peter Wood

NAS president Peter Wood reflects on laments and satisfaction in life. 

Sustainability: The Left's New Facade

Rachelle Peterson

Rachelle Peterson discusses the greening of Oklahoma's universities.

Inside Divestment: The Illiberal Movement to Turn a Generation Against Fossil Fuels

Rachelle Peterson

A comprehensive account of the campus fossil fuel divestment movement.

NAS on the Radio


NAS president Peter Wood appeared on two radio programs this week to discuss campus trends in political correctness.

Peter Wood and Rachelle Peterson Interviewed on Leaders with Ginni Thomas


Virginia Thomas takes viewers inside the NAS report, Sustainability: Higher Education's New Fundamentalism. 

Room for Debate: NAS and 350.org

Peter Wood

Peter Wood comments on 350.org's response to Rachelle Peterson's recent piece about the college divestment movement.

Rachelle Peterson in Today's NYT Room for Debate


Rachelle Peterson discussed the college divestment movement in the New York Times Room for Debate.

Whose Side Are You On?

Rachelle Peterson

The fossil fuel divestment campaign declares war on free speech.

Bill McKibben Responds to NAS Questions on Divestment

Rachelle Peterson

Prominent sustainability activist Bill McKibben offers some answers to questions posed by NAS. 

The Remarkable Class of 2015 Must Save the Planet

Rachelle Peterson

From Bill Nye to Barack Obama, commencement speakers across the country encouraged the class of 2015 to "change the world" by changing the planet. 

Rachelle Peterson on WSJ Live


The fossil fuel divestment fad indulges fantasy rather than grappling with economic realities. 

Sustainability’s War on Doubt

Peter Wood

Sustainability encompasses not only a particularly aggressive form of environmentalism, but also a strong attack on market capitalism and a progressive vision of social justice.

'Nudging' Goes to College

Rachelle Peterson

Higher education should train students to think for themselves, not resort to a pre-set path set by those who seek to manipulate behavior.

Prince Ea Is Sorry. Me Too.

Rachelle Peterson

Prince Ea's "Dear Future Generations" video is moving, but it neglects some important facts.

Diminishing Returns

Rachelle Peterson

Divestment activism has failed. Universities are learning that sanctions rarely accomplish anything.

President Obama, Not Green Enough for the Hardcore Greens

Rachelle Peterson

It doesn't take much to be accused of being a climate change "denier." You don't even have to deny climate change.

Environmentalists vs. Babies


Ashley Thorne wrote for World Magazine on environmentalism's anti-reproductive attitude.

Divestment Spring

Rachelle Peterson

Students stage sit-ins for divestment, claiming to be "oppressed" by college trustees. 

The Hungry Ocean: Sustainability and the Curriculum

Peter Wood

Universities are increasingly dominated by the view that we live in environmentally desperate times

Scared Green: Sustainability Lies We Tell Our Children

Peter Wood

Environmental messaging targeting children sets the stage for the ubiquity of "sustainability" ideology in colleges and universities. 

Eco-Marxism: Deception 2.0

Peter Wood

Sustainability provides colleges an all-encompassing worldview. 

Pope Francis Discusses Sustainable Development

Rachelle Peterson

Scientists and theologians weigh in on a summit at the Vatican. 

NAS Sustainability Report Continues to Garner Coverage


An update on what other people are saying about Sustainability: Higher Education's New Fundamentalism

Good Citizens Are ‘Inclusive’ and Take Shorter Showers, Colleges Say

Ashley Thorne

Forget checks and balances, or popular sovereignty: citizenship education has morphed into environmental propaganda.

Resurfacing Sustainability in AQ


In 2010, we devoted an issue of Academic Questions to the topic of sustainability. 

Earth Day, 2015

Peter Wood

The earth is in better shape than it has been for many years. Let's celebrate the human innovation that made this possible. 

George Will Speaks on NAS's Sustainability Report


At the William F. Buckley Society's "Disinvitation Dinner," George Will discussed the soft totalitarianism that the campus sustainability movement fosters.

The "Sustainability" Trend Costs Students Money

Peter Wood

The sustainability movement has muscled its way into the college curriculum, administration, and culture. 

George F. Will Writes About NAS Sustainability Report


Nationally syndicated columnist George F. Will devotes his most recent column to the new NAS report. 

Global Warming: The Campus Non-Debate

Russell K. Nieli

Many lack a robust understanding of the environmentalism debate divorced from religious overtones and political appeal.

Wall Street Journal Quotes the NAS's Sustainability Report


In "Notable & Quotable," the Wall Street Journal quoted the NAS's "Sustainability: Higher Education’s New Fundamentalism" report.

Stanley Fish Praises the NAS’s Sustainability Report


Stanley Fish responds to the NAS's sustainability report. 

Walden on Ice

Peter Wood

Peter Wood offers a fresh look at Henry David Thoreau's Walden

What Others Are Saying About NAS's Sustainability Report


Since the launch of NAS's sustainability report, here's what writers, bloggers, and think tanks had to say about it.

Peter Wood on Wall Street Journal Live


NAS President Peter Wood and WSJ's Mary Kissel take viewers inside the new NAS report on the campus sustainability movement. 

Sustainability: Higher Education's New Fundamentalism

Peter Wood

The first critical account of the sustainability movement in higher education.

Executive Summary - Sustainability: Higher Education's New Fundamentalism

Peter Wood

The authors of an NAS report critiquing the campus sustainability movement make 10 recommendations for colleges and universities. 

Sustainability FAQs

Peter Wood

The authors of the report Sustainability: Higher Education's New Fundamentalism answer frequently asked questions about sustainability and the NAS's positions.

Merchants of Smear

Rachelle Peterson

Conspiracy theorists make an ad hominem attack film about climate-change doubters. 

(Not So) Happy Global Divestment Day

Rachelle Peterson

Activists worldwide are converging to demand divestment from fossil fuels. 

Call Your Broker, Save the Planet

Rachelle Peterson

Rachelle Peterson writes for National Review Online on why climate activists' latest cause has them sounding like stock market analysts. 

Fueling Lawsuits

Rachelle Peterson

Harvard students sue to divest from fossil fuels.

Don't Underestimate the Eco-Worriers

Rachelle Peterson

Climate activists have become experts at selling their secular salvation myth to millions of young people.

Environmental Colonialism

Rachelle Peterson

A team of youth is calling for a return to the "eco-friendly" Aztec tradition.

A Climate March Against Capitalism

Peter Wood

The world's largest climate march took place in New York City on Sunday, September 21.

Campus Energy Divestment: A Mistaken Legacy of the Anti-Apartheid Movement

Caleb Rossiter

"Divestment will again harm Africans, but this time to no good end." Dr. Caleb Rossiter, an adjunct professor at American University, weighs in.

Sustainability Triumphalism

Marilee Turscak

As new reports express skepticism about anthropogenic global warming, sustainability activists proclaim their cause more boldly than ever.

Bamboozled Billionaires

Norman Rogers

NAS board member Norman Rogers replies to a global warming report produced by three billionaires.

Integrity and Objectivity: The Shaken Pillars of Environmental Science

Rachelle Peterson

Rachelle DeJong writes on the compromised peer review process used by the EPA.

Climate Reparations—A New Demand

Peter Wood

Protesters are demanding "reparations" for the damage caused by the use of fossil fuels in the developing world.

Eh? The Rise of the Environmental Humanities Movement

Peter Wood

Environmental Humanities, a new academic sub-division of the sustainability movement, encourages scholars in all disciplines to fight climate change.

Short-Circuiting Peer Review in Climate Science

Peter Wood

The integrity of science depends on rigorous and transparent peer review—both of which may be compromised in climate change research. 

“Sustainable Development” and Global Salvationism

David Henderson

Has sustainability become a dogma?

Stanford Divests—and Entangles Itself

Peter Wood

Divestment isn't about stocks; it's about souls.

Climate Thuggery at the University of Delaware

Jan H. Blits

The University is broadly committed to protecting its faculty from intrusive FOIA inquiries - provided they're on board with AGW orthodoxy

Sustainability’s Latest Pulpit

Rachelle Peterson

The advocacy organization Second Nature launches a new signatory initiative, the Alliance for Resilient Campuses. 

Happy Earth Day

Rachelle Peterson

How many institutions of higher education are celebrating Earth Day?

Outside the 'Consensus'—Notes of a Climate Change 'Denier'

Peter Wood

With regard to climate change, the academy enforces a hardened orthodoxy with increasing determination.

DeJong in Commentary Mag on Campus Sustainability Nudging


NAS research associate Rachelle DeJong has published an article in Commentary Magazine on the behavioral modification inherent in the campus sustainability movement. 

Top Five Environmental Themes in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah

Rachelle Peterson

The recent movie reimagines Noah as a prophet of environmental sustainability. 

What I Learned in Sustainability School

Rachelle Peterson

Rachelle DeJong recounts her final thoughts on an eight-week MOOC on Sustainability.

Divestment’s Gettysburg?

Rachelle Peterson

The divestment movement suffers a devastating defeat at Hamilton College.

Trash Radicals: Sustainability’s New Ascetic Ideal

Rachelle Peterson

Colleges' "zero waste" policies and sustainability movements have grown exponentially and developed into long-term institutional policies.

Truman Show

Peter Wood

A sensible university in the Midwest shows a light-hearted side in a video featuring its president. Peter Wood gives a nod to the good humor and reflects on the strains of political correctness cropping up in the university's curriculum. 

Signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment

Rachelle Peterson

Nearly 700 college presidents vow to eliminate their campuses' greenhouse gas emissions. NAS found that these schools are concentrated along the two coasts, more likely to be elite liberal arts colleges than universities, predominantly doctorate-granting institutions, and urban. 

From Student Activist to Gotham’s Mayor

Peter Wood

The Metropolitan Studies major is now the Metropolitan-in-Chief. Peter Wood takes a look at how perspectives from academia have influenced Bill de Blasio.

The New School’s New Wail: A Visit to Campus Sustainability Day

Peter Wood

At a sustainability festival at The New School, students complacently accepted pseudo-scientific claims and the nationwide campaign to divest holdings from oil companies. 

Happy Campus Sustainability Day!

Rachelle Peterson

Colleges across the country celebrate the 11th annual campus sustainability day. 

Doubts, Deficits, Divestments, and Developments: A Higher Education Bubble Update

Ashley Thorne

CFOs lack confidence in their institutions' financial sustainability, Loyola University fails to enroll enough students to make budget, and the University of Wisconsin announces a "flexible option" for college credit.

What Does “Sustainability” Cost?

Rachelle Peterson

Middlebury College goes green...and its budget goes red.

Swarthmore Lets an Angry Mob Take Over

Peter Wood

Peter Wood comments on the most recent display of the sustainability movement's "new anger" at Swarthmore College.

Peter Wood on Larry Parks Show

Peter Wood

In an interview with Larry Parks, NAS president Peter Wood discussed Bowdoin College and the National Association of Scholars' work in higher education reform.

Indoctrinating Students Isn't Easy

Peter Wood

Cash incentives are used at UCLA to reinforce the sustainability movement.

Barry Commoner, Connected

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reflects on the career of a Founding Father of the sustainability movement.

Peter Wood Featured on Radio Show with Thayrone X

Crystal Plum

Thayrone X asks Peter Wood about the sustainability movement and its effect on college campuses.

Take a Stand Against the Campus Sustainability Movement

Ashley Thorne

You can get involved by joining the National Association of Scholars, learning about the issues, and telling a friend.

Fox Special Report Re-run Times

Ashley Thorne

If you missed the first broadcast, you can see it at these times.

NAS on Fox News Sustainability Special Report

Ashley Thorne

Fox News aired a special report on the sustainability movement which featured NAS president Peter Wood, who talked about NAS's examination of the movement.

Encyclopedia of Sustainability, 6th Edition

Ashley Thorne

A 6th edition of the NAS 'sustainapedia' of the key names, terms, books, colleges, and organizations in the campus sustainability movement.

Trash Big Brothers at UMass Amherst

Ashley Thorne

Student "Eco-Reps" open trash bags of residence hall buildings to inspect whether recyclables are being thrown away. 

Galloping to Insolvency

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reviews a recent report that found that a third of American colleges and universities have unhealthy financial outlooks.

Abundance on Trial: The Cultural Significance of “Sustainability”

Joshua J. Yates

An article in the Hedgehog Review describes the rise of sustainability as "a master term" in our culture.

Green Acres

Peter Wood

Colleges and universities tend to spend lavishly on diversity and sustainability initiatives, but is this really the best use of their (and taxpayers') money?

CSU Chico Introduces Sustainability Gen Ed Track, Green Courses Include "African History"

Ashley Thorne

The university has designated over 200 courses as "green courses" and its general education program will now include a “sustainability studies" track. These two curricular developments tell us something about the expansionist strategy of the campus sustainability movement.

Universities Neglect Financial Sustainability

Ashley Thorne

Mission creep in higher education turns out to have some serious monetary consequences for individual institutions. A new study urges college and university leaders to get back to the core and stop trying to be an all-purpose operation.

Take Back Sustainability

Antonio R. Chaves

Sustainability is too important for us to let it be undermined by politics and polarization, writes Antonio Chaves, who teaches environmental science.

Religion, Sustainability and Wisconsin Recall Engage Collegiate Press Hawks

Glenn Ricketts

Collegiate press corps takes on national, state and campus issues.

Common Ground

R. H. Winnick

What’s an Obama Democrat doing on the board of the NAS?

Student Editors Weigh In On OWS, Sustainability, Other Issues

Glenn Ricketts

Student press corps regulars size the Occupy Wall Street movement and other current issues.

Satiric Graph on the Use of the Word "Sustainable"

Ashley Thorne

Is the word "sustainable" itself unsustainable?

Sustainability News

Ashley Thorne

Researchers determine that sustainability is now a science; Occupy Wall Street's sustainability committee plays house; Harvard looks to hire someone who can "cultivate an understanding of food"; and a debate asks whether the campus sustainability movement detracts from the better purposes of higher education.

Debate: Does the Sustainability Movement Belong on Campus?

Ashley Thorne

At Bloomberg Businessweek, Ashley Thorne and Paul Rowland debate: The campus sustainability movement subtracts from the better purposes of higher education. Pro or con?

Meatlessness and Sustainability, Part 1

Ashley Thorne

How is vegetarianism connected to sustainability? Ashley Thorne decides to find out.

Energetic at Caltech

Ashley Thorne

A Chronicle article on revolving sustainability funds for colleges and universities includes a suprising perspective on energy usage.

Sustainability News

Ashley Thorne

A university grades students on their energy use; a president announces that “sustainability defines” her institution.

Milestones for the NAS

Peter Wood

NAS's two signal events in 2011 pointed college students back to the core principles of the liberal arts and sciences.

Harvard Crimson Staff Skeptical of Dining Hall Workers'"Sustainability" Demands

Ashley Thorne

The Harvard Crimson recently published an editorial raising an eyebrow at demands by the University's unionized dining hall workers when they asked for longer hours and more “sustainable” food production, which in this case, means preparing more dining hall food in-house. 

Tyranny or Theft? Part III

Peter Wood concludes his three-part critique of the sustainability movement as a cultural phenomenon.

Tyranny or Theft? Part II

Peter Wood

In the second of three installments, Peter Wood examines the impact of the sustainability movement on free inquiry and the the unfortunate experience of one scientist who dissented from the views of his colleagues.

The Reverse Metamorphosis of Sustainability: Governance

William H. Young

William Young concludes his series on the goals of the sustainability movement, and considers its implications for the constitutional order.

The Reverse Metamorphsis of Sustainability: Economy

William H. Young

In the third of his four-part series on the goals of the sustainability movement, William Young ponders its probable economic impact.

Tyranny or Theft? Part I

Peter Wood

NAS president Peter Wood begins a three-part critique of the sustainability movement, based on his attendance at two recent conferences.

The Reverse Metamorphosis of Sustainability: Nature

William H. Young

In the second of four articles on the goals of the sustainability movement, William Young examines its impulse to return to a pre-rational, mystical experience of Nature.

The Reverse Metamorphosis of Sustainability: Science

William H. Young

William Young begins a four-part series examining the "reverse metamorphosis" sought by proponents of sustainability in American academic institutions. Today, he examines its effects on the natural sciences.

Programming Scientists to Perform Social Engineering

Chuck Rogér

Chuck Rogér spots red flags in an ASU alumni magazine that represent a movement in higher education to politicize science.

Radio: Peter Wood on WGN 720 on Sustainability

Peter Wood discusses the harmful effect sustainability ideology has on higher education.

Moralism and Sustainability

William H. Young

Universities should prepare students to draw responsible rather than moralistic conclusions. Sustainability ideology, however, encourages people to make decisions based on personal or collective moral intuition, not critical thought.

Sustainability News

Ashley Thorne

This month’s campus sustainability news includes critiques of the movement for giving students ready-made conclusions; examples of sustainability’s embrace by the college curriculum, a roundup of campus Earth Day events, and an analysis of how environmental language is becoming more nuanced. Be sure to check out the new resources from NAS, a policy statement summarizing why the movement is bad for higher education and what we can do to fix it; and an updated edition of our useful sustainability encyclopedia.

Critiquing Sustainability

Peter Wood

NAS starts the conversation on what the sustainability movement is doing on campus.

Video: Ashley Thorne on Sustainability as Staff and Rod for the New Elite

Sustainability, as the latest politically correct campus ideology, aims to fix attitudes rather than promote disciplined study.

Earth Day Thoughts on Campus Sustainability

Ashley Thorne

Cross posted from Phi Beta Cons

The National Association of Scholars has issued an official statement critiquing the campus “sustainability” movement and suggesting paths to improvement.

Video: Terry Anderson on Sustainability and Free Market Environmentalism

A professor emeritus of economics makes a case for markets as the true path to future generations' prosperity.

Encyclopedia of Sustainability, 5th Edition

Ashley Thorne

A 5th edition of the NAS 'sustainapedia' of the key names, terms, books, colleges, and organizations in the campus sustainability movement.

The Cultural Contradictions of Sustainability

William H. Young

The sustainability movement aims to prevent expansion and propagate utopianism. Yet its advocates promote the spread of their ideas and seek "real change" in the real world. Higher education should train students to perceive the contradictions of ideologies such as capitalism and sustainability.

Sustainability News

Ashley Thorne

This edition of sustainability news includes articles on campus culture, curriculum, sustainability pledges, and funding, and it concludes with several critical perspectives.

Teaching Sustainability: Moral Imperatives and Psychotherapy

Peter Wood

A webinar on sustainability education counsels participants to use manipulative psychotherapeutic techniques to influence people to act sustainably.

Sustainability as Conservative Ideology

Mitchell Langbert

Environmentalist ideology in the guise of sustainability is everywhere. It is pap. The words sustainability, conservation and conservatism are linked. They suggest protection of the status quo. Until the Progressive era Americans were not concerned with conservation because they assumed that progress would make life better. Sustaining the status quo paled beside a glowing manifest destiny. Perhaps today's progressive interest in sustainability is an admission that the left is not progressive but conservative. 

Nature-Deficit Disorder?

Ashley Thorne

A winter course, "Sustainability and Social Justice," at the University of Chicago, will explore "biophilia" and "ecopedagogy."

College Sustainability Programs May Soon Die Out

Ashley Thorne

So writes Charlotte Allen in Minding the Campus. 

Radio: Sustainability in Higher Education

Ashley Thorne

NAS speaks out about the ideological character of the sustainability movement.

Sustainability News: December 2010

Ashley Thorne

“If the early 21st century could be said to have a secular religion, it would be the mantra of sustainability,” writes Warren Meyer on Forbes.com. In this religion, American colleges and universities are fanatics.

A Glimpse of Culture Change at Princeton

Ashley Thorne

Princeton's sustainability open house confirmed that "it's about changing habits."

Princeton Works to "Incorporate Sustainability into Our Daily Lives"

Ashley Thorne

An NAS member sent me this video for fundraising at Princeton, describing the work of the university's office of sustainability. There are a few things in this video to be concerned about. The effort to “induce a culture change,” to “incorporate those principles  into our daily decisions,” is all part of the steady movement to guide people into a particular, “correct” way of thinking and acting. The removal of trays from dining halls is a perfect example of this. It’s a relatively small change, but it’s a daily reinforcement of new habits. I wrote about this in “Tray Chic.” And the young woman with the title “sustainability fellow” is one of the new generation of activists that self-reproduces. Activist administrators recruit students to get involved on campus and hire them once they graduate so they will become activist administrators. The recycling process thus applies to people, not just plastic.

The Sustainability Inquisition

Ashley Thorne

Colleges and universities are now assessing faculty members' work in and commitment to sustainability.

Sustainability News: October 2010

Ashley Thorne

"Sustainability is no longer a buzz word," says an MSU administrator. So if it's not a buzzword, what's all the buzz on college campuses about?

Trick or Vote

Ashley Thorne

Among my sustainability emails today is a message from the Energy Action Coalition ("the hub of the youth climate movement") encouraging people to "scare big oil" this Halloween by organizing Trick or Vote events. I'd never heard of Trick or Vote before. Apparently you go around in a group knocking on doors like you would as a trick-or-treater, but in addition to begging for candy, you're asking people to vote on November 2. A brilliant idea! Halloween is the only day of the year in which door-to-door solicitation is socially smiled upon. I suppose my family exploited Halloween from inside our home when we included Christian tracts with the candy we gave out. And now the youth climate movement has figured out a way to exploit it as well. Check out their costume ideas here. What other door-to-door pitches are possible on All Hallow's Eve?

From Diversity to Sustainability: How Campus Ideology is Born

Peter Wood

Sustainability, like diversity, subtracts from the better purposes of higher education.

Thoughts on Campus Bottled Water Bans

Ashley Thorne

Scott Carlson, a blog author for the Chronicle of Higher Education, has a dogmatic article on college bottled-water bans. Here's the comment I posted on it:

I wrote about the anti-bottled water movement a couple years ago here. It's amazing to me that universities are taking away students' rights to purchase something (very healthy and wholesome) that they are willing to purchase. Yes, tap water is free, and wherever it is clean enough to drink it's a good idea to take advantage of that and save money. But if people want to pay for water, they shouldn't be banned from doing so. The anti-bottled water movement is part of sustainability's "change daily habits" strategy. Sustainability advocates seek to change our attitudes, values, and behavior, so they enact policies that train people to make small, daily adjustments by increments, until we've made it the basis for our moral compass. The campus "trayless dining" movement is also part of this strategy.

This recent race to ban bottled water strikes me as inimical to freedom. It could also turn out to be one of those bans that make the embargoed item even more alluring. There may soon be black market bottled water sales in dark corners of college campuses. Be on the watch for guilty-looking students hiding Evians in their backpacks until they can sneak sips back in their dorm rooms.

Mandatory Rape Lecture for Male Freshmen at Hamilton College

Ashley Thorne

Male freshmen will be instructed tonight by "a national leader in social justice and sustainability education."

Sustainability News: September 2010

Ashley Thorne

Is sustainability just a fad? Or has it become ingrained in our culture? Take a look at these 14 recent articles on sustainability in higher education and judge for yourself.

State of the Campus at UNC-Greensboro: Politically Correct Pandering

Ashley Thorne

Today NAS received a copy of this speech by UNC-Greensboro Chancellor Linda P. Brady.  The speech was given on August 18, 2010 as a "State of the Campus" address. Brady bows to politically correct idols in a fashion typical at today's colleges and universities: Diversity

  • The University has launched a search for a new Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion [Quite a title!]
  • Chancellor Brady is “especially proud of the hard work of faculty search and promotion and tenure committees, reflected in the growing number of women faculty and ethnic minority faculty in the junior ranks” [Are there gender and ethnicity quotas for faculty members?]
  • According to a report by The Education Trust, “On average, 56 percent of African American students at UNCG graduate in six years, compared with 51 percent of white students. To quote from the report, ‘Clearly, when colleges focus on student success, all students benefit greatly – particularly students of color.’” [Does UNCG have programs to help white students graduate too?]


  • Sustainability “remains a core value at UNCG” [A core value that competes with the real business of education]
  • “In 2009-10 UNCG appointed a full-time sustainability coordinator in facilities operations, initiated planning for implementation of a behavior-based energy conservation program...” [Sounds like an effort to change behavior through small, everyday changes – like getting rid of cafeteria trays and making dorm halls compete to use the least energy]

Learning Communities

  • The University aims to place all new undergraduate students in residential “learning communities.” [Is this similar to the University of Delaware’s 2007 mandatory residence life “citizenship” program – an Orwellian effort to change students’ “thoughts, values, beliefs, and actions”?]


Sustainability News 8-3-10

Ashley Thorne

This edition of sustainability-in-higher-ed news includes the University of Toledo’s new curricular residence life programs in sustainability; UNC’s workshop to help participants explore oppression and injustice; the growing trend of campus gardens; the University of Chicago’s anxious efforts to “catch up”; and strategic questions for identifying eco-friendly colleges.

Renewable Debate: Progress vs. Sustainability

Daniel Bonevac

Philosophy professor Daniel Bonevac responds to a historian's critiques of his AQ article "Is Sustainability Sustainable?"

Reaching for the STARS

Ashley Thorne

Sustainability assessment on campus says a lot about the larger movement's need to count points.

For Goodness Sake: Sustainability Ponders Ethics

Ashley Thorne

“Being sustainable has become more-or-less synonymous with being good,” two professors write. But even sustainability can be either virtuous or vulgar, depending on your motive.

New Author on NAS.org: Jason Fertig

Ashley Thorne

I'm pleased to introduce Jason Fertig as a new contributor at NAS.org. Dr. Fertig is an NAS member and assistant professor of management at the University of Southern Indiana. Dr. Fertig brings a depth of perception and lively anecdotes from his own experience in the classroom to speak to some of the  most real issues in higher education today. He has written three articles for NAS so far:

More Millennials Need to Work at McDonalds advises recent college graduates: get a job, anywhere. Real Sustainability: Saving Our Sense of Culture asks, "Are we failing to hand down our cultural legacy to the next generation?" Dangers of Credentialing the College Degree: A Real-Life Example is a case study that illustrates the popular idea that students are entitled to get a passing grade - even if they don't earn one.

I especially recommend the third article, which received attention from blogs such as Phi Beta Cons and Joanne Jacobs. Also check out his essay at the Pope Center on the gap year, The Gift of Academic Maturity. Fertig spoke about the gap year this morning on Wisconsin Public Radio. You can look forward to more NAS articles by Dr. Fertig in the weeks ahead.

Peter Wood Speaks on Campus Sustainability and Political Correctness

Ashley Thorne

Radio: NAS's president discussed the origins of the sustainability movement; its environmental, social, and economic aspects; and its influence on higher education today.

Sustainability at Universities a "Feel-Good" Term...No Comment

Ashley Thorne

Sustainability can be "a plastic phrase that all adhere to with varying invested meanings."

NAS President on Radio Tonight on Sustainability

Ashley Thorne

Peter Wood will appear on Milt Rosenberg’s Chicago-based radio program Extension 720 tonight to talk about the campus sustainability movement.

Real Sustainability: Saving Our Sense of Culture

Jason Fertig

Are we failing to hand down our cultural legacy to the next generation?

Encyclopedia of Sustainability, 4th Edition

Ashley Thorne

A 4th edition of the NAS 'sustainapedia' of the key names, terms, books, colleges, and organizations in the campus sustainability movement.

Sustainability News 6-28-2010

Ashley Thorne

This week’s news includes students sending hair clippings to help plug the oil spill; the reinventing of Biosphere 2; a new generation of sustainability graduates; how apocalyptic predictions can be encouraging; and one university's decision to go trayless.

The Ivory Tower of Babel

David Clemens

The current issue of Academic Questions focuses on “sustainability,” that hollow abstraction around which coalesce feel-good connotations of moral superiority and environmental correctness.  At the very least, higher education should foster a scrupulous, continuous, and critical attention to language, yet academia today seems more enamored of rhetoric which is either empty (“student success”) or deceptive (“social justice”).  My own college has an institutional commitment to “diversity,” a word whose apparent meaning changes from document to document even though HR requires all teaching applicants to produce a “Diversity Statement.”  Diversity is a good thing and we’re for it, and, by gosh, you had better be, too, whatever it is! We also have an institutional commitment to “critical thinking.”  In my experience, most teachers are confident they know what critical thinking is (it’s what they do) but hardly any can provide a definition.  For them, "critical thinking" is just another abstract good thing.  Actually, California State University Chancellor Glenn Dumke's Executive Order 338 defined "critical thinking instruction" as

. . . designed to achieve an understanding of the relationship of language to logic, which should lead to the ability to analyze, criticize, and advocate ideas, to reason inductively and deductively, and to reach factual or judgmental conclusions based on sound inferences drawn from unambiguous statements of knowledge or belief (1980).

Personally, I favor William Graham Sumner’s succinct definition of critical thinking as “the examination of propositions of any kind which are offered for acceptance, in order to find out whether they correspond to reality or not” (1906). By either definition, my school’s proud commitment to “Promote academic excellence and critical thinking across all areas and disciplines” is incoherent since critical thinking is not germane in all disciplines.  Music?  Dance?  Literature?  Ornamental horticulture?  The academy’s adoption of language which is, in Peggy Noonan’s words, “bland and indecipherable,” betrays the foundation of verbal communication itself--that, as David Mulroy puts it in The War Against Grammar, “intelligible statements have definite literal meanings.” “Sustainability,” “diversity,” “social justice,” “critical thinking” are intended to convey feelings, not meanings.  In Disturbing the Peace, Vaclav Havel asks, “Isn't just such a subtle abuse of the truth, and of language, the real beginning . . . of the misery of the world we live in?”  Perhaps higher education should be promoting clarity rather than sponsoring a new confusion of tongues.

Sustainability News 5-17-10

Ashley Thorne

This week’s news includes a debate at small college over whether to sign the ACUPCC, a free sustainability issue of NAS’s journal Academic Questions, student eco-reps who work to change their peers’ behavior, and a sustainability graduation pledge.


Daniel Asia

So the Provost sent out a year end wrap-up. For those of you who don't know, it hasn't been good year for academe, particularly here in Arizona. The income side of the fiscal picture is a disaster. Have the tough questions been asked in response to this unpleasant picture? Of course not. Instead we get the following: "UA is the center of and model of environmental sustainability, both as a facility and in research excellence." In the fall, our UA facility was listed as one of the most environmentally sensitive campuses in the nation in The Sustainable Endowments Institute’s “College Sustainability Report Card 2010.” This citing compliments the National Wildlife Federation’s “Campus Ecology” program that identified our University two years ago as one of six U.S. universities and colleges from more than 1,000 as having exemplary, campus-wide sustainability programs." Whoa! I guess big-time partying is now called "Wildlife". And we are called the Wildcats. Who would have thunk it. We are proud of our institutional innovative projects that minimize the University’s environmental footprint. It is gratifying to see our students are taking charge of their own future by pushing to make the campus and the surrounding community a greener place to study, work and live.

Free Online 'Sustainability' Academic Questions Articles

Ashley Thorne

We are pleased to announce that the current issue of Academic Questions, a special issue on “Sustainability,” is available FREE online!

To Serve Mann: Virginia

Peter Wood

Is the climate fraud investigation a breach or an exercise of academic freedom?

Free Sustainability Academic Questions Issue


Hot off the press: the current issue of Academic Questions, a special issue on "Sustainability,” is available free online.

Sustainability News 05-05-10

Ashley Thorne

In sustainability news this week are 'green' graduation garb, Unity College's newly enlisted energy monitor, the 'new era' of sustainability, and a political science professor's debunking of the organic food myth.

Schools and Groups Train Young Eco-Warriors to 'Green' Their Parents

Ashley Thorne

Children today are getting a strong message from their schools, extra-curricular activities, and popular culture: "You need to help your parents live greener." Reinforcing this message are campaigns such as GreenMyParents, which trains kids to "grade their parents” on their energy and water use and demand pay for their services. In "Indoctrinate Our Kids and Green My Parents," I argued that such teaching subverts parents' authority, breaks down the family, and undermines one of the great purposes of education - to hand down civilization's legacy to the next generation. University Talk radio interviewed me on this here. My segment is from 13:47 to 29:27.

Indoctrinate Our Kids and Green My Parents

Ashley Thorne

Today kids are taught to be eco-warriors...and re-educate their parents.

What Does Sustainability Have to Do with Social Justice?

Peter Wood

In honor of Earth Day, Peter Wood examines the sustainability movement's Bookchin-born theory that "everything is connected to everything else." An excerpt:

What about that idea that that human social relations and the relation of humanity to the natural world belong on the same plane of analysis?  Is it true?  The answer is rather important, since pretty much the entire sustainability movement assumes that it is true.  The reason that the sustainability movement can range freely from concern over pollution and global warming to issues of economic organization and matters such as racism and women’s rights is that it treats all of these as not merely connected by UNESCO-style chains of cause-and-effect but also by a pseudo principle that, deep down, these are all instances of a single phenomenon:  oppression.  To cure the oppression of Mother Earth, we must simultaneously rid the world of man’s inhumanity to man.

Earth Day Thoughts on the Campus Sustainability Movement

Peter Wood

Is everything really connected to everything else?

Earth Day and Sustainability News

Ashley Thorne

This week's stories include Green My Parents, Earth Day's observance by college students, sustainability college rankings, and how to help your pets do their part for the environment.

Letter to Stanford Committee: Vote Against Sustainability in Gen Ed Requirement

Peter Wood

Today NAS president Peter Wood sent a letter to the Stanford University Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policy, which is voting on a proposal to make sustainability education part of a requirement for graduation.

To Sustain Stony Brook, Sustainability Campus Will Close

Ashley Thorne

Stony Brook University has announced that it will close its sustainability campus in Southampton due to budget cuts. Is it a ruse to recover funding or is the sustainability stronghold crumbling?

Encyclopedia of Sustainability, 3rd Edition

Ashley Thorne

A 3rd edition of the NAS 'sustainapedia' of the key names, terms, books, colleges, and organizations in the campus sustainability movement.

Ark of Hope for the Earth Charter...No Comment

Ashley Thorne

The UN sustainability manifesto endorsed by many U.S. colleges and universities has its own 200-pound "ark" for transportation.

10 Campus Sustainability News Stories

Ashley Thorne

Colleges create new sustainability programs and requirements, ASU publishes a student journal, universities participated in WWF's Earth Hour, and the sustainability generation comes of age.

Sustainability Links

Ashley Thorne

Articles of note on campus sustainability - of special note is UF's "40 days of change" leading up to Earth Day. Is Earth Day the new Easter?

Going Green is Part of Social Integrity? No Comment

Ashley Thorne

"An Honor Code must link social integrity with ecological sustainability," says a student. Is that really so?

The Absurdity of "Sustainability" in Economics Education

Tyler Watts

How sustainability education contradicts the sound teaching of economics.

Radio: "The Green Movement and Its Discontents"

Ashley Thorne

Listen to NAS communications director discuss the rise of the sustainability movement in higher education.

An Elbow in the Ribs: Prof-Prodding Toward Sustainability

Ashley Thorne

Campus administrators and leaders of sustainability organizations come together to think of ways to get "reluctant professors" to teach sustainability. Their answer: "Change how they think."

Calling the Kettle Black

Ashley Thorne

A Columbia professor calls global warming skepticism “scare tactics” and “propaganda.”

Free Academic Questions Articles

Ashley Thorne

Enjoy “Corroding the Curriculum: Sustainability v. Education,” by Austin Williams, for free along with other AQ articles.

Florida Students Petition to Make Mandatory Sustainability Course Optional

Ashley Thorne

Florida Gulf Coast University students say mandated eco-propaganda actually fosters anti-environmentalism.

Encyclopedia of Sustainability, 2nd Edition

Ashley Thorne

A 2nd edition of the NAS 'sustainapedia' of the key names, terms, books, colleges, and organizations in the campus sustainability movement.

Earth Charter U

Ashley Thorne

Check out my article at NAS.org on Florida Gulf Coast University and its love affair with the Earth Charter, a United Nations sustainability document.

Swamped: Florida's Earth Charter U

Ashley Thorne

Florida Gulf Coast University centers its curriculum on sustainability and the UN document the Earth Charter.

Seventh Generation Sustainability - A New Myth?

Peter Wood

One of the favorite metaphors of the sustainability movement is a phrase from the Iroquois Great Law. Or is it?

Penn State Seeks "A Rapid Shift in Mindset" Toward Sustainability

Ashley Thorne

Should sustainability be a "defining feature" of higher education? I examine the sustaina-zeal at Penn State U in a recent NAS.org article. It sounds as if sustainabullies are ready to invade every aspect of the university. Some takeaways:

  • Sustainability at PSU goes hand-in-hand with "global citizenship," which is antithetical to national citizenship and national patriotism.

  • PSU's Institute for Teaching Excellence sponsored a national Educating for Sustainability conference in order to "Promote sustainability in all sectors of higher education, but particularly the scholarly/academic arena."

  • The director of sustainability defines sustainability as "A pursuit that weaves economic, environmental, and social impact metrics in the assessment of decisions" and "A value system to weave into the fabric of our university."

  • A presentation at the conference urges that sustainability be factored in to promotion, tenure, accreditation, and “professional identity as an academic.” Sound familiar?

  • Much of one presenter's slideshow matched exactly a presentation given by Kathleen Kerr, the architect of the disgraced University of Delaware residence life program, known for coercion, intrusiveness, and attempts to indoctrinate freshmen living in the dorms.

  • Quote from presentation: “Be more methodical and systematic in all your efforts to create a shift of the norms here in curricula, policies and culture, and nationally (e.g. institutionalize it into annual reviews). [...] “A rapid shift in mindset is needed and education to action is the key.”

  • Quote from presentation: “Sustainability is everyone’s job. Doing nothing is not benign – it is a destructive decision for society.”

  • Michael Mann, implicated in the "hide the decline" emails, is a professor at Penn State U. After "Climategate" the university announced an investigation into his work. But will Penn State, so nurtured in sustainability, give him a fair investigation?

Businesses Move From Greenwashing to Sincerity, Business Schools Adapt

Ashley Thorne

The Financial Times has an article on how corporations, which formerly touted their commitment to the environment as a marketing ploy, now really believe in the eco-cause. More and more business schools have "infused" sustainability into the curriculum due to student and corporate demand:

A cynic might question how deeply companies believe in the value of social responsibility but Tom Lyon, director of the Erb Institute at University of Michigan who holds an endowed chair at the school from Dow Chemical, insists that companies that approach him are “sincere”. “I am sure there’s some degree of reputation and image building, but there is also a sincere effort to be connected with a university. These companies want to be up to speed on the latest thinking, to know what students are thinking and to understand how to get the next generation’s best and brightest to come work for them.”

A sustainability director at Yale said, “We know you can get filthy rich destroying the planet, but now we’re starting to think about how you can make lots of money saving the planet.”

Changing the Norms: Sustainability at Penn State

Ashley Thorne

Advocacy - insisting on a certain point of view and suppressing those who dissent - seems to have been the motive behind Michael Mann’s troubling emails. Will Penn State, so nurtured in sustainability, give him a fair investigation?

On Advocacy in the Classroom

Ashley Thorne

A blog on Inside Higher Ed that I pay attention to, Getting to Green, has an interesting discussion about advocacy intruding on higher education. Note that the Getting to Green blogger writes under a pseudonym and is "a sustainability administrator at a large private research university, an adjunct faculty member, and a farmer." Michael Legaspi at Creighton University commenting on Getting to Green:

Advocacy rears its head too often, in multicultural moralism, identity politics, and, as the CRU debacle shows, in too many kinds of environmental studies. When we are concerned only to convert students to the “right” view of things, rather than to lead them through complex engagement of the intellectual substance of important questions, we make it all too easy for them to get by in our classes by telling us what we want to hear. When they do so to our satisfaction, we may have scored a cheap political victory, but we have surely done so at the expense of our best and highest ideals.

Getting to Green responds:

Michael Legaspi is concerned that too much of American higher education consists of political advocacy. He's right to be, and I agree with him. In fact, I'd go further. I'd say that too much teaching consists of social and economic advocacy, as well. Too much of what goes on in social sciences and professional schools treats how things are as the best they could possibly be (in this, the best of all possible worlds). Advocacy may be an acceptable form of consciousness-raising, but it's far from the highest form of teaching. When I work with professors at Greenback, I really don't know how much sustainability-related advocacy they indulge in. My impression, and my sincere hope, is that it's not much. Advocacy is appropriate in the marketplace of ideas, but potentially troubling in the classroom. My objective is to get students to engage both with the material -- the facts -- and in some degree of substantive analysis. If a student seriously engages with the idea that natural resources (both sources and sinks) are finite, that the systems which interact to produce the planet's climate are many and complex, and that societies may have a responsibility to address problems of their own creation, then I'm satisfied. Not everyone has to agree with my conclusions about climate disruption, its causes, its likely costs for humanity if left unchecked, or the need to address it globally and immediately. What I comment on when I review student projects and papers is whether they demonstrate an understanding of the material, not whether that understanding matches my own.

I don't agree with G2G's entire post (especially the part about the mainstream media giving credence to Climategate - think Googlegate), but he's saying the right thing here. One of the main problems with the push to "infuse" sustainability into higher education is that it brings ideological advocacy into the classroom. If we are to have sustainability education in the university, the approach G2G is talking about sounds like the right one.

The True Meaning of Thanksgiving?

Ashley Thorne

I subscribe to a sustainability listserv through the University of Chicago. This came in the mail today:  I wonder what it means by "true meaning of Thanksgiving." I wrote to the host of the event and asked for more information and whether the event will focus on the story of the first Thanksgiving. I haven't yet received a reply. Hmm...

What Do Sexual Harassment and Global Warming Have in Common?

Ashley Thorne

Foolish mandates, says David Little at ChicoER. See also the memo notifying employees that they must document all mileage traveled for university business, in order to "help the campus to achieve its goal of being a national leader in sustainability."


Ashley Thorne

Climate change faith has been ruled a protected “philosophical belief” in the UK.

CSU Chico Buckles Down on Employees' Mileage

Ashley Thorne

A faculty member at California State University, Chico, sent me the following email from the director of the university's institute for sustainable development:
From: McNall, Scott
Sent: Monday, November 09, 2009 12:15 PM
To: All Faculty (restricted); All Staff (restricted)
Subject: FW: Mileage Requirement Announcement
California State University, Chico has been recognized nationally for its efforts in sustainability. In 2007 President Zingg was among a small group of campus presidents who took the initiative and signed the American College and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment, which pledged to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. In the spring of 2007 the University updated its Strategic Plan for the Future and introduced a new strategic priority, grounded in the core values of the campus, which recognized the need to prepare students for the challenges they will face in balancing economic, environmental, and social problems. We want them to be informed, environmentally literature citizens. To do this, we need to model the behavior we hope to see in our students and assure that the built environment, the social environment, and the intellectual life of the campus present an integrated understanding of sustainability and, when possible, solutions.
We need to be mindful of our activities and we need to measure them to know if we are making progress toward our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the level set by California in SB 32, and in the goals set forth by the new administration in Washington. In the past, we have not focused on collecting data on campus transportation, which is a key component in all measures of greenhouse gas emissions.
New travel guidelines will go into effect on January 1, 2010. We are fortunate that the Office of the Vice President for Business and Finance will collect the necessary travel data and provide information for reporting purposes. We will ask you to record some simple information, which has always been available. For example, we will want to know the actual air mileage flown, and we will want car rental mileage, use of personal vehicles for reimbursed university business, miles traveled in a taxi, miles traveled by rail, etc. We appreciate your patience in using new Travel Expense Claim available on the State Travel Accounting web site at www.csuchico.edu/ao/travel <http://www.csuchico.edu/ao/travel> , and helping the campus to achieve its goal of being a national leader in sustainability.

I was not entirely sure what Scott McNall meant by "mileage" (does he refer only to university business-related travel or all travel, including personal?), so I emailed him to ask. He answered that the new travel requirements are "only to those trips for the university for which people claim reimbursement--all business related." This is reassuring - at least CSU-Chico isn't requiring employees to document mileage for their family trips to Hawaii or Hong Kong. But this compulsion to tally up miles and calculate carbon footprints can be a slippery slope. Could it lead to restrictions on personal travel? I have it on good authority that Scott McNall lives 12-14 miles from campus and does not bike to work... See also: http://www.claremontconservative.com/2009/11/travel-to-and-from-school-next-thing-to.html

Blue Blastoff

Ashley Thorne

A school in lower Manhattan created by the Blue Man Group believes we can't teach kids facts anymore...but we can teach them to "build a harmonious and sustainable world."

The Chico Romance

Ashley Thorne

A sustainability conference at CSU-Chico prompts a concerned letter. NAS spots some good reasons for concern.

Neander-Thoughts: Reply to Steiner

Peter Wood

Does academic freedom mean I can ignore the terms of my grant? University of Alaska Professor Richard Steiner thinks so and challenges the NAS to rescind an award to a university president who got in his way. We won't. Here's why.

Scary Sustainability

Ashley Thorne

Richard Steiner Responds

Richard Steiner

The University Alaska professor who was denied grant funding for engaging in sustainability advocacy responds to the NAS.

Ideologues vs. Principles

Peter Wood

Check out my article at NAS.org, "Sustainability Skepticism Has Arrived." I juxtapose two news stories from this week on challenges to the sustainability doctrine:

These stories are parallel. Both Michael Pollan and Richard Steiner were caught off guard when challenged, then played the victim in the name of academic freedom—a skewed version of academic freedom. When David Wood sought to open Cal Poly’s eyes to the ideological agenda Pollan proselytizes, Pollan and others accused the university of cravenly capitulating to demands from the big bad corporate world. And when NOAA identified Steiner as going outside Sea Grant parameters by engaging in advocacy, Steiner said the University of Alaska had put a “gag order” on him.

If you are interested in helping the NAS expose the truth about the campus sustainability movement, send our list of “10 Reasons to Oppose the Sustainability Movement on Campus” to students, parents, faculty members, administrators, and news media.

Sustainability Skepticism Has Arrived

Ashley Thorne

Two controversies this week wrought an unexpected clash between sustainability ideologues and universities that decided to stand on fundamental principles of higher education.

Colleges Celebrate Sustainability, aka Redressing "Maldistribution"

Ashley Thorne

Today is the seventh annual Campus Sustainability Day (CSD), a celebration invented by the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP), in collaboration with Second Nature. Second Nature, remember, considers sustainability a tool to redress “past, present, and future maldistribution of resources, privileges and rights of endangered communities, of poor people, and of communities of color.” It believes that the university is the best place to foster sustainability advocacy, and that “The myth of the value-free university, that knowledge is attained for its own sake, stands in contrast to the reality that special interests always play a greater or lesser role.” As we speak, SCUP is streaming a live webcast on “Sustainability Strategies for Vibrant Campus Communities” to colleges that paid the $195 registration fee.

Happy Campus Sustainability Day

Ashley Thorne

With its Second Nature roots, global warming alarmist moderator, and exuberant intentions to “celebrate sustainability in higher education,” Campus Sustainability Day promises to deliver the usual political agenda of the sustainatopians.

Found: A Fellow Sustainability-Challenger

Ashley Thorne

NAS has published an interview with Holly Swanson, the founder and director of an Oregon-based group called Operation Green Out! (the exclamation point is part of its name!). We first learned of Operation Green Out! while researching Second Nature, an organization that seeks to make sustainability the “foundation of all learning and practice in higher education.” We found that thus far Operation Green Out! seems to be the sole challenger of Second Nature’s education for sustainability agenda, and that it has launched a campaign “to get green politics out in the open and out of the classroom.” Holly Swanson, the organization’s founder and director, is the author of Set Up and Sold Out: Find Out What Green Really Means, and she is a nationwide speaker on the “Green movement” and its “plan to use public education to politically indoctrinate.” By way of introducing NAS members and readers to Ms. Swanson and Operation Green Out! we present this interview.  We are glad to have found an organization that sees the dangers the sustainability movement (Swanson calls it "the Greens") poses for education. As Ms. Swanson puts it,

The Education for Sustainability movement is harmful because this movement is swiftly changing the role of public education in America from a ‘politically neutral system’ to a ‘politically driven system’ rooted in the ideology of the Greens and designed to produce mass compliance and predictable support for one ideology or single party rule.

It's good to know we're not alone in saying this.

An Interview with Holly Swanson

Ashley Thorne

An Oregon-based organization called Operation Green Out! works “to get green politics out in the open and out of the classroom.”

Peace, Love, and Sustainability

Ashley Thorne

Sustainatopians already have an international symbol of allegiance. The three-finger salute is "peace plus one," and represents the three pillars of sustainability (take your pick):

  • Society, Economy, Environment
  • People, Planet, Profit
  • Wealth, Wisdom, Wellness

A Canadian professor teaching in China came up with the symbol and has propagated it in a Flickr campaign. Take a look here for more on what the professor calls the "secret sustainability symbol." Just more evidence that sustainability is not just about practicing good stewardship of the environment. It sells eco-responsibility but delivers major political plans for big government, economic redistribution, and loss of individual freedoms. "Sustainability, dude" just doesn't have the catchiness of the 60s "Peace" mantra. Maybe it doesn't have to.

Peace Plus One

Ashley Thorne

Culture watch: the three-finger salute symbolizes the three pillars of sustainability - it's "peace plus one"!


Ashley Thorne

NAS has posted an encyclopedia of the key names, terms, and organizations in the sector of sustainability activism aimed specifically at re-centering elementary and higher education around sustainability practice. We hope it will be a useful resource for everyone interested in tracking and critiquing the sustainability movement. Abby Alger at CampusReform.org likes the NAS-coined sustainability vocabulary at the end.

Encyclopedia of Sustainability

Ashley Thorne

NAS presents an encyclopedia of the key names, terms, and organizations in the sector of sustainability activism aimed specifically at re-centering elementary and higher education around sustainability practice.

We Didn't Call it Communism

Peter Wood

“Sustainable Sausage,” a blog that promotes “sustainability for twenty somethings” features the views of three New Zealanders, Lisa, Kavi, and Janelle. One of the Kiwi sausage-makers found her way to Ashley’s and my provocative press release from a month ago, Sustainability is a Waste:  10 Reasons to Oppose the Sustainability Movement on Your Campus, and was appropriately provoked.  She imagines we invite “huge piles of garbage all over the world,” and also accuses us of confusing Soviet communism with the Green movement.  Ah, no.  Communist regimes proved themselves in the last century to be the most environmentally destructive in human history.  The Soviet Union gave us not only Chernobyl, but massive pollution in the Urals; uncontrolled radiological releases including the now famous Chelyabinsk-65 release in 1957 that contaminated 20,000 square kilometers and the Tomsk-7 release in 1993 that poisoned another 100 square kilometers; chemical dumps on the Baltic Seabed; the attempt in the 1970s to re-channel northern-flowing rivers with nuclear explosions; and the destruction of the Aral Sea to irrigate deserts.  The modern West has not always been a good steward of the environment, but there is nothing in the West in the last century remotely on the level of heedless destruction of the environment carried out by communist regimes.  It might, however, be a good thing if promoters of the sustainability movement with its emphasis on central planning and an ideology of shared sacrifice showed a little awareness of where public policy based on those principles has led in recent times. We never drew or implied a comparison of communism with the sustainability movement.  Yet Lisa-Kavi-Janelle are so baffled by our criticisms of the sustainability movement that they jump to the idea that when we said “sustainability” we really meant “communism.”  Sorry, Kiwis.  When we said “sustainability” we meant “sustainability.”  And we are not at all keen on having “huge piles of garbage all over the world.”  We are just keen on making sure that people like you—people who seem ignorant of recent history and determined to promote the latest feel-good cause without any understanding of its larger social implications—are put on the spot.


Ashley Thorne

AASHE released an early version of a project called the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) to measure colleges' sustainability progress. It measures items such as:

  •           Sustainability in New Student Orientation

  •           Sustainability-Focused Courses*

  •           Sustainability-Related Courses*

  •           Sustainability Learning Outcomes*

  •           Incentives for Developing Sustainability Courses

  •           Faculty Involved in Sustainability Research*

  •           Interdisciplinary Research in Tenure and Promotion

Dancing with the STARS

Ashley Thorne

AASHE publishes an early version of a project called the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) to measure colleges' sustainability progress.

UW-Oshkosh Students Reexamine Sustainability

Ashley Thorne

The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh student newspaper, the Advance-Titan, has published an article about our article "Sustainability is a Waste." The staff writes, "the idea that an ideology enters any classroom unexamined is something students should be concerned about. As students, we have the first and foremost duty to educate ourselves for the future. Our goal should first be to learn something about the world before attempting to change it in ways we may not fully understand." We are pleased to see the Advance-Titan paying attention to the realities behind the campus sustainability movement.

Why are College Presidents in Love with "Sustainability"?

Ashley Thorne

Peter Wood's article, "Never Waste a Good Cliché," ponders the reasons college presidents sign their institutions up for the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in their eagerness to jump on the sustainability bandwagon. He imagines 4 possibilities:

A. They aren’t very deep thinkers. They just like the sound of “sustainability,” and enjoy being in front of a popular cause. B. They are cynics. They see where the movement is headed but calculate that it is to their advantage to play along. C. They are true believers. They know sustainability aims at radical, even utopian transformation of human society and they are all for it. D. They are gamblers. They understand the sustainability movement has an extremist element, but they see themselves as capable of drawing what is good from it without getting trapped in its craziness.

Peter cites a letter by the president of Hamilton College, whose rhetoric is so blandly superficial, she seems to go in category A.

Never Waste a Good Cliche

Peter Wood

The sustainability ethic of a college president.

What Good Are People?

Ashley Thorne

Two ominous new developments for the sustainability movement: the MAHB and a sustainability literacy handbook.

Vapor Trail: The UN's Plan for Higher Education

Peter Wood

The United Nations asks presidents of all colleges and universities in the world to sign its "Academic Impact" initiative.

Tray Chic

Ashley Thorne

Colleges experiment in trayless dining...and mind manipulation.

Sustainability is a Waste: 10 Reasons to Oppose the Sustainability Movement on Your Campus

Peter Wood

College students hear a lot about sustainability these days, but do you know what it really means?

Sunbeams for Indigenes: The New Discipline of Cultural Sustainability

Peter Wood

Goucher College trains students to help marginalized communities realize their dreams.

A First Look at Second Nature

Ashley Thorne

Will education for sustainabiity become Second Nature?

UNESCO-topia: Sustainability's Big Brother

Peter Wood

What does gender have to do with climate change?


Peter Wood

Why "sustainability" is not the foundation of all learning and practice in higher education.

The Sustainability Movement in the American University

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood presents a scholarly paper synthesizing NAS's work on sustainability.

Wal-Mart's Eco-Index

Ashley Thorne

The retail giant teams up with the University of Arkansas and Arizona State University to find ways to measure products' social and environmental impact.

Woven Into the Fabric...No Comment

Ashley Thorne

"Approach sustainability as an issue woven into the fabric of every university, rather than as a passing fad."

1% for Propaganda

Ashley Thorne

College presidents ask the Senate to help support sustainability education.

PC Gadflies Chide Their Own

Ashley Thorne

Blogging professors urge fellow academics to update their commitment to identity politics and sustainability.

Thursday Vert-Degree

Ashley Thorne

Green news: go asparaguses, intelligent life isn't sustainable in outer space either, and messages from AASHE.

Does Environmentalism "Fit Squarely" with Higher Ed's Mission?

Ashley Thorne

What do you think? We invite comments.

Sustainability Education's New Morality

Ashley Thorne

What will happen when the sustainability revolutionaries take over the college curriculum?

Swear It!

Ashley Thorne

Ball State U's new core curriculum wants to turn students into activists.

Green Goblins

Ashley Thorne

Kids fear a looming eco-apocalypse and learn in school, "every day is Earth Day."

Proven Commitment to the Climate

Ashley Thorne

Colleges get ready to use a “climate action litmus test” in hiring new campus leaders.

Tuesday Temptations

Ashley Thorne

Transparency, Stereotype threat and the SAT, Lottery admissions, and Immortal sustainability

Tuesday Tangerine

Ashley Thorne

Going green, leapfrogging, and triggering

Green Fatigue

Ashley Thorne

In the real world, environmental alarmism is on the downturn. In the universities, it's just gaining momentum.

Sustainability is the New Diversity

Peter Wood

Except worse.


Peter Wood

How the sustainability movement self-reproduces

Vote on Administrator's Political Showcasing

Ashley Thorne

Should a campus dean use his university platform to advertise his politics? Vote now!

Enchanting Sustainability

Peter Wood

Shock and awe come to the university.

Holiday Conquest

Ashley Thorne

Lessons from the "educational" board game

The Cave

Peter Wood

It's October - time to pay attention to recent and upcoming trends in higher education, like the student loan crisis, the rise of distance learning, the therapeutic campus, and sustainability.

"Hurray! We Got Noticed!" ACPA's Response to NAS Residence Life Statement

Peter Wood

The American College Personnel Association responded to NAS's statement Rebuilding Campus Community: The Wrong Imperative by reaffirming its 1994 document, the Student Learning Imperative and "savoring the moment."

The Communitarian ResLife Movement: Part 2

Tom Wood

Thomas Wood explains how the three circles of sustainability overlap to produce a new pedagogy in residence halls.

National Association of Scowlers

Peter Wood

Introducing the other NAS: a disgruntled membership association of fist-shakers working to thwart new ideas and to sustain the tradition of grim solemnity and cranky curmudgeonhood in America

The Communitarian ResLife Movement

Tom Wood

What exactly is the ideology underlying res life programs today? Sustainability? Communitariansim? Social Justice? Oh my.

Rational Animals?

Ashley Thorne

Tap Dancers: Bottled Water and College Students

Ashley Thorne

Sustainability's latest wave on college campuses: ban the bottle, drink tap.

Wartime Thrift

Ashley Thorne

Book review: a British architect weighs in on the sustainability movement's anti-progress gospel.

We'll Be Watching

Jan H. Blits

How to Defeat the Res Lifer's Nouveau Indoctrination Program

Tom Wood

It's not the university's job to save the planet.

UD Faculty, Students Stand Up Against Res Life Proposal

The University of Delaware Faculty Senate held debate over the proposed new residence life program, a repackaged version of what was formerly known as "the treatment."

Sustainability's Third Circle

Peter Wood

On college campuses, sustainability advocates are involving political nostrums and one-sidedness in a debate that requires equal representation of facts and positions.

8. Ideology @ UCLA Dorms

Peter Wood

Sustainability, as it is used on campus these days, signifies more than merely limiting man's effect on the environment

3. Residence Life, the Shaha Troupe, and Social Justice Education at U Mass Amherst

Tom Wood

Our posting of 11 December (below), "Psychotherapeutic Interventions, Transformative Learning, and the Dorms of U Delaware," was the second in a series that will attempt to assess whether and to what extent U Delaware's ResLife diversity training program might be typical of programs at other universities.

2. Psychotherapeutic Interventions, Transformative Learning, and the Dorms of U Delaware

Tom Wood

The ResLife program at the University of Delaware has received a great deal of well-deserved ridicule and opprobrium in recent weeks, but virtually all of the attention has been directed at the details of the radical views on race it promulgated. Little or no attention has been given to placing these details within the larger context of the concept of "education" that inspired and drove the program. This is unfortunate, because understanding the wider context of the ResLife program at Delaware is as important as the details.

Little Delawares All Over :Diversity Indoctrination, K-12 Branch

Hans Bader, a lawyer with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, writes that the Delaware Indoctrination Syndrome has a k-12 counterpart. A common thread is the presence of what Elizabeth Lasch-Quinn in her 2001 book dubbed "race experts." In Delaware, it was Shakti Butler. As Mr. Bader points out, another expert, Glenn Singleton, is making a career of promoting similar themes in K-12 public schools. See Mr. Bader's postings at www.openmarket.org, e.g., November 16, 20, and 27, and December 3.

Little Delawares All Over: Diversity Indoctrination, K-12 Branch

Hans Bader, a lawyer with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, writes that the Delaware Indoctrination Syndrome has a k-12 counterpart. A common thread is the presence of what Elizabeth Lasch-Quinn in her 2001 book dubbed "race experts." In Delaware, it was Shakti Butler. As Mr. Bader points out, another expert, Glenn Singleton, is making a career of promoting similar themes in K-12 public schools. See Mr. Bader's postings at www.openmarket.org, e.g., November 16, 20, and 27, and December 3.

How Many Delawares?

The National Association of Scholars announces an inquiry into residence hall and student life policies that violate intellectual freedom and promote a partisan political agenda.

1. Infestation: Widespread or Not?

The recent nationwide media exposure of the diversity facilitation training program of residence assistants at the University of Delaware demonstrates what a couple of professors -- in this case, professors Linda Gottfredson and Jan Blits, two NAS members who teach there -- and a relatively small group of activists can accomplish in revealing the extent to which political correctness and toxic racial ideology have infested some of today's campuses.

University of Delaware Residence Life Abuses Exposed

Our Delaware affiliate exposes the University of Delaware's residence life program, known on campus as "the treatment."

Startling Revelations: The National Association of Scholars Salutes Its Delaware Affiliate for Its R

Our Delaware affiliate exposes the University of Delaware's residence life program, known on campus as "the treatment."