Albert Einstein once warned that unless human beings “master a new manner of thinking, humankind will drift into ultimate catastrophe.” Miami Dade College’s Earth Ethics Institute (EEI) kept that warning in mind as it developed its mission statement in 1988, seeking to create an organization that would prompt students and faculty to look for new answers to old problems and teach them that avoiding catastrophe – perhaps an environmental one – is possible. After MDC’s Board of Trustees signed off on the creation of EEI, initially called the Environmental Ethics Institute, the College’s Foundation approved a campaign to raise funds for EEI’s endowment, which began with $600,000. EEI, originally only located at Wolfson Campus, now has a presence on every MDC campus. The academic initiative works to educate MDC students, faculty and staff about Earth literacy, emphasizing awareness of global interdependence and ecological integrity. Through the Institute’s Global Sustainability and Earth Literacy Studies (GSELS) Learning Network, MDC faculty members are encouraged to incorporate Earth literacy studies into their courses. GSELS has expanded from a pilot endeavor in 2013 to a program that reached 10,000 students in 2017. EEI organizes events at every MDC campus during the academic year, including service learning activities for students and professional development workshops for MDC faculty and staff.
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