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Miami Dade College Keeps Going Green with New Course Offering for Environmentally-Conscious Students

Earth 1

Miami, September 23, 2010 - Going green means a lot for Miami Dade College (MDC) – From its Green Urban Living Center to the Earth Ethics Institute to the recent opening of a new eco-friendly Science Complex and others, the College is now expanding its sustainability efforts into the classroom by offering a new course for students interested in environmental and ecological issues. 

Beginning in spring 2011, the Earth Literacy and Sustainability I course will give students the opportunity to investigate and discuss the state of our world today and the chance to explore viable options for our future on earth.

During the course, students will experience field trips, read articles, hear speakers, prepare and eat organic food, watch videos and reflect on various current ethical issues and ideas. 

What is Earth Literacy? “It is, in short, a deep understanding of the evolution of our universe and Earth and the knowledge inherent in the systems that come out of that evolution,” said Colleen Ahern-Hettich, director of MDC’s trailblazing Earth Ethics Institute. 

Ahern-Hettich adds that this course will teach everyone, regardless of occupation, new ways to reverse the negative trends currently affecting the planet. “

Education for sustainable development is an investment in our future. We need to understand that survival and all long-term economic success is dependent on the health of our environment. We need to ensure that there is ‘enough, for all, forever’ as an African elder has stated.” 

The topics in this course will weave many disciplines together, exploring the interconnection of a wide range of subjects that include economics, ecology, global issues, sustainability, culture, spirituality, history, and agriculture. 

The course is open to all MDC students from any major but students must be English proficient and not fall below the advanced English as a Second Language level. 

It counts as an elective and is transferable to other institutions for credit. For more information about the Earth Ethics Institute, visit To register for MDC’s spring 2011 semester, visit

MDC Leading the Environmental Awareness Effort

In 1993, Miami Dade College created the Earth Ethics Institute (EEI) to coordinate college-wide efforts to promote environmental literacy, but the College’s “green” legacy goes back much farther. The Environmental Education Center at the Kendall Campus launched in the 1970s as a demonstration center of best practices well before the environment was a topic of popular concern.

Today, one of the College’s 10 Learning Outcomes states that graduates should be able to “describe how natural systems function and recognize the impact of humans on the environment.” All instructors in all courses are encouraged to include this outcome in their curriculum.

In addition, the College Strategic Plan, which guides its growth, added the theme of Environmental Sustainability in 2007.  The Facilities Department has revised their design and construction standards for new construction/remodeling/renovation of facilities to include sustainability requirements. Moreover, Green Teams have been established at MDC’s campuses to involve everyone in going green.

Finally, the College is also a signatory of The Talloires Declaration, which is a U.N.-sponsored action plan for institutions of higher education to create a culture of environmental sustainability.

Remember, the Earth Literacy and Sustainability I course counts as an elective and is transferable to other institutions for credit.

For more information about the Earth Ethics Institute, visit, or to register for MDC’s spring 2011 semester, visit


Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, media specialist
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist

Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
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