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Peggy F. Barlett

Peggy F. Barlett is Professor of Anthropology at Emory University. She received a BA in anthropology from Grinnell College (1969) and the PhD in anthropology at Columbia University (1975). A cultural anthropologist specializing in agricultural systems and sustainable development, she carried out fieldwork in economic anthropology in Ecuador, Costa Rica, and rural Georgia (USA). Earlier work focused on farmer decision making, rural social change, and industrial agriculture. She has published Agricultural Choice and Change: Decision Making in a Costa Rican Community (1982, Rutgers University Press), American Dreams, Rural Realities: Family Farms in Crisis (1993, University of North Carolina Press) and is editor of Agricultural Decision Making: Anthropological Contributions to Rural Development (1980, Academic Press).Recently, interests in the challenge of sustainability in urban Atlanta have given her an opportunity to return to early training in applied anthropology and to combine it with interests in political economy, group dynamics, and personal development. Part of a growing movement toward sustainability at Emory, she has focused on expanding awareness of environmental issues through curriculum development (the Piedmont Project), campus policies, and connections to place. She also has interests in local food systems and a local Watershed Alliance. She is the coeditor (with Geoffrey Chase) of Sustainability on Campus: Stories and Strategies for Change (MIT Press, 2004).

Titles by This Editor

Stories and Strategies for Transformation

In colleges and universities across the United States, students, faculty, and staff are forging new paths to sustainability. From private liberal arts colleges to major research institutions to community colleges, sustainability concerns are being integrated into curricula, policies, and programs. New divisions, degree programs, and courses of study cross traditional disciplinary boundaries; Sustainability Councils become part of campus governance; and new sustainability issues link to historic social and educational missions. In this book, leaders from twenty-four colleges and universities offer their stories of institutional and personal transformation.

These stories document both the power of leadership—whether by college presidents, faculty, staff, or student activists—and the potential for institutions to redefine themselves. Chapters recount, among other things, how inclusive campus governance helped mobilize students at the University of South Carolina; how a course at the Menominee Nation’s tribal college linked sustainability and traditional knowledge; how the president of Furman University convinced a conservative campus community to make sustainability a strategic priority; how students at San Diego State University built sustainability into future governance while financing a LEED platinum-certified student center; and how sustainability transformed pedagogy in a lecture class at Penn State. As this book makes clear, there are many paths to sustainability in higher education. These stories offer a snapshot of what has been accomplished and a roadmap to what is possible.

Colleges and Universities covered include
Arizona State University • Central College, Iowa • College of the Menominee Nation, Wisconsin • Curriculum for the Bio-region Project, Pacific Northwest • Drury University, Missouri • Emory University, Georgia • Florida A&M University • Furman University, South Carolina • Green Mountain College, Vermont • Kap’olani Community College, Honolulu, Hawaii • Pennsylvania State University •
San Diego State University • Santa Clara University, California • Slippery Rock State University, Pennsylvania •
Spelman College, Georgia • Unity College, Maine • University of Hawaii–Manoa • University of Michigan • University of South Carolina • University of South Florida • University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh • Warren Wilson College, North Carolina • Yale University

Reconnecting with the Natural World

Amidst city concrete and suburban sprawl, Americans are discovering new ways to reconnect with the natural world. From community gardens in New York's Lower East Side to homeless shelters in California, the search for a more sustainable future has led grassroots groups to a profound reconnection to place and to the natural world.

Studies of the health consequences of renewing a connection with nature support the urgency of providing green surroundings as cities expand and the majority of the earth's population lives in urban areas. Medical research results, from groups as diverse as healthy volunteers, surgery patients, and heart attack survivors, suggest that contact with nature may improve health and well-being. Engagement with nearby natural places also provides restoration from mental fatigue and support for more resilient and cooperative behavior. Aspects of stronger community life are fostered by access to nature, suggesting that there are significant social as well as physical and psychological benefits from connection with the natural world.

This volume brings together research from anthropology, sociology, public health, psychology, and landscape architecture to highlight how awareness of locale and a meaningful renewal of attachment with the earth are connected to delight in learning about nature as well as to civic action and new forms of community. Community garden coalitions, organic market advocates, and greenspace preservationists resist the power of global forces, enacting visions of a different future. Their creative efforts tell a story of a constructive and dynamic middle ground between private plots and public action, between human health and ecosystem health, between individual attachment and urban sustainability.

Stories and Strategies for Change

These personal narratives of greening college campuses offer inspiration, motivation, and practical advice. Written by faculty, staff, administrators, and a student, from varying perspectives and reflecting divergent experiences, these stories also map the growing strength of a national movement toward environmental responsibility on campus.

Environmental awareness on college and university campuses began with the celebratory consciousness-raising of Earth Day, 1970. Since then environmental action on campus has been both global (in research and policy formation) and local (in efforts to make specific environmental improvements on campuses). The stories in this book show that achieving environmental sustainability is not a matter of applying the formulas of risk management or engineering technology but part of what the editors call "the messy reality of participatory engagement in cultural transformation."

In Sustainability on Campus campus leaders recount inspiring stories of strategies that moved eighteen colleges and universities toward a more sustainable future. This book is for faculty, students, administrators, staff, and community partners, whether hesitant or committed, knowledgeable or newcomer. Scholars and activists have recognized the crucial role that higher education can play in the sustainability effort, and each chapter in the book is full of ideas about how to get started, revitalize efforts, and overcome roadblocks. Human and at times joyful, these stories illustrate many forms of leadership, in new courses and faculty development, green buildings and administrative policies, student programs, residential life, and collaborations with local communities.