NAROPA University Oakland

Master of Liberal Arts Program in Creation Spirituality




Finding our Way Back Home



Course Number:  CSP704W                                             Number of Credit Units:  1


Instructor:  Gayle Edmisten Watkin, M.S., M.A.           Instructor’s Contact Number  (707) 645-7189

                                                                                                Email Address                       


Class Schedule:   Fall, 2003; Saturday October 18th, 9 a.m.– 6:30 p.m. and Sunday October 19th, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.


Course Description:


This class will provide participants with a brief introduction to ecological sustainability, and highlight inherent connections between ecological, ethical, social, spiritual, economic issues, and our current ways of living.  Participants will also enjoy a tour of a local permaculture/native plant garden, and be briefly introduced to other positive projects that are helping to shape our culture, protect living systems, and rebuild communities.


This class was designed to increase the participant’s awareness of ecological and sustainability issues, and to promote critical thinking about our current social and personal behavior.  Class format will consist of lectures, discussions, exercises, and (Saturday afternoon) a local field trip. The field trip will provide students with examples of options in organic agriculture, permaculture, and native plant propagation. It will be necessary for students to provide their own transportation/carpool.


Course Objectives


·         Provide a brief overview of sustainability issues; highlight connections between ecological, ethical, social, spiritual, and economic issues, and our current ways of living


·         Offer an example/tour of a sustainable project


·         Promote explorations of community building, and discussions/processing about sustainability issues.



Course Requirements


1.        Attendance (40%) - Due to the nature of the class, attendance both days is mandatory. 


2.        Readings - No readings will be required for the course, however some materials will be available for view and/or optional purchase. 


3.        Class Participation and Discussion (30%) -


Homework:  In preparation for the second class (October 19, 2003), students are asked to evaluate their personal Ecological Footprint (EF).  Check or for more details on evaluating your EF. Please bring your analysis to class on Sunday, and plan to share your experience and thoughts with others.


Homework:  In preparation for the second class (October 19, 2003), students are also asked to compile a list of what they see as Key Issues and Positive Steps Forward to help move our society toward sustainability (not to be handed in).  The list should include what students believe to be concrete, positive individual, local, national, and global priorities/actions for our future. Students are expected to contribute their insights in class discussions and exercises. 


4.        Short Written Paper/Final Project (30%) – Students are asked to explore an example of a sustainable project in their own community (or nearby).  Suggestions include projects focused on ecological design, green architecture, creek restoration, organic agriculture, alternative energy systems, Zero Waste Management, sustainable forestry, other. Students are asked to visit the chosen project site, explore the options offered, and write a 1-2 page paper about your thoughts on your experiences. Papers are due no later than November 17, 2003. Late submittals are strongly discouraged.


5.  Other:  The class will include a field trip to Wild Heart Gardens in Oakland (afternoon of October 18th). It will be necessary for students to sign a liability waiver prior to attending the tour. 



Tentative Outline:


Saturday, October 18, 2003 –


9:00 a.m. – 9:35 a.m. – Gathering, Introductions

9:35 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Lecture/Discussion, Environmental Issues, Sustainability, Challenging Issues

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Lunch

1:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. – Lecture/Discussion, Exercise, Sustainability, Challenging Issues and Positive Projects/Actions

5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. – Tour of Wild Heart Gardens, Leader: Christopher Shein


8 p.m. - Optional Film Showing – Ancient Futures: Learning From Ladakh


Sunday, October 19, 2003 –


10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Ecological Footprint Discussion,  Spaceship Exercise

11:30 a.m. – 11:50 – Break

11:50 – 1:00 p.m. – Discussion/Exercise – Key Issues and Positive Steps Forward: Where do we go from here?