Wednesday 7
Pathways of Resilience in a Rapidly Changing Alaska
Berill Blair, Winslow Hansen
› 14:35 - 15:30 (55min)
› JOFFRE 1-4
Educating for Resilience in the North: Best Practices and Future Directions
Katie Spellman  1@  
1 : Resilience and Adaptation Program, University of Alaska Fairbanks  (RAP UAF)  -  Website

An emerging body of theoretical work has explored the role education institutions might play in enhancing the resilience and adaptability of social-ecological systems. The actual tools or mechanisms that education institutions can use to help foster resilience-building feedbacks in social-ecological systems, however, remain understudied. Communities in far northern latitudes must respond rapidly to the complex problems that are arising from a changing climate. The response time of these communities to climate-driven social-ecological change may be decreased if education institutions understood the most effective and efficient teaching tools to foster resilience-promoting feedbacks. Northern communities may benefit from broad-scale, high efficiency public education strategies that can enhance resilience thinking capacity and possibilities for action at a pace to match the rapid changes occurring in arctic and subarctic systems. To help fill the knowledge gap on mechanisms for education institutions to promote resilience and adaptive capacity of communities, this study investigates the following questions: 1) What educational tools are available that may enhance the feedbacks between public education institutions, public action and northern ecosystems? 2) How effective and efficient are these educational tools in reinforcing the feedbacks between the bio-physical and the socio-cultural dimensions of northern high latitude social-ecological systems?

To address these questions, the education and sustainability science literature were surveyed for cognitive and social learning tools that northern education institutions can use to help enhance resilience thinking in public audiences. Promising cognitive tools include teaching strategies that embed systems thinking, metacognition and scenarios or futures thinking. Social learning tools that may enhance the resilience and adaptive capacity of social-ecological systems include citizen science, problem-based learning, and service learning. Because the combination of tools used to enhance resilience and build adaptive capacity is likely context dependent, I investigate two environmental education programs that use a suite of learning tools to address two rapidly escalating issues in Alaska, non-native plant invasions and coastal change. Using this evaluation of the learning tools, I begin to develop a set of best practices in resilience education and suggest policy for northern education institutions that might help support these best practices.

This paper is prepared for the session "Pathways of Resilience in a Rapidly Changing Alaska." 


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