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David Zandvliet

Walking the Talk

March 25, 2010

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Change doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Nobody knows that better than David Zandvliet and Janet Moore, who have taken on the challenge of researching and promoting effective ways of educating people to adopt sustainable environmental practices.

Zandvliet (above), an associate professor of education, and Moore, assistant professor in the Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue program, lead the BC Working Group on Education for Sustainable Development, known as Walking the Talk.

"We look at the big picture—K-12, post-secondary, workplace and community—to explore ways to educate people about sustainability and engage them in the issues," says Zandvliet.

Already, Walking the Talk has positively influenced policy at the Ministry of Education, he says. "There’s a green schools division that didn’t exist before and an environmental framework learning document that is the most downloaded document on the ministry’s site, so we are having an impact."

In January, Walking the Talk became a chartered United Nations Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE), one of only eight to be chartered worldwide this year.

The designation is important, says Zandvliet because it brings the organization more credibility and plugs it into the international RCE network, which is having an impact on Walking the Talk.

"It has already brought UBC and Environment Canada to the table," says Zandvliet. "And 25 per cent of the proposals for our national conference in May have come from RCEs outside of Canada."

The new RCE will make its official debut at the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication (EECOM) conference, which runs May 19–22 at the Burnaby campus. The conference is open to the public and will explore cultural and practical diversity for environmental learning.

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