Earth Ethics Institute
Miami Dade College
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Seeing Systems: Peace, Justice and Sustainability


11 hours of Professional Development
2.5 hours pre-workshop,5.5 hours Face to Face, 3 hours post-workshop assignment

There will be four sessions. The first session will meet for 1 hour, the following three sessions will meet for 1.5 hours

Facilitated by Earth Ethics Institute Staff        

This workshop is one of a two-part series, each offering four sessions examining the interrelationships of and interconnections between peace, social and economic  justice, racial and gender equity and environmental sustainability.  It also explores systems thinking as a way to make sense of complex systems and problems.  This series will help participants examine multiple elements and processes that interact to form a whole, while examining relationships between people and between systems that contribute to or inhibit peace, justice and environmental sustainability. The process of problem solving will not only include problem analysis but also attention to relationships, patterns and dynamics, as well as the individual parts. Participants co-facilitate the series with EEI Staff.

There will be four discussion sessions, each of which will start with a short video related to the particular theme of that session. Prior to the meeting, participants will read essays exploring three themes: 1) Systems Interconnections: Peace, Justice and Environmental Sustainability; 2) Constructive Communication and Habits of Empathy; and 3) Justice for the Community of Life.

As a result of this workshop participants will be able to:

-Describe the interrelatedness of peace, justice and sustainability

-Discover Individual opportunities for positive social change despite big challenges

-Apply systems thinking for peace, justice and sustainability action

-Recognize the connection between communication and conflict transformation

-Develop nonviolent communication skills

-Articulate several issues of justice connected to the environment

-Describe examples of where injustice creates environmental degradation and vice-versa

-Identify how climate change issues impact the poorest nations and people


Evaluation will include completion of workshop and participant must develop a discipline specific lesson plan or course module that incorporates key concepts of sustainability and/or  systems thinking. Lesson plan is due to the director of Earth Ethics Institute within three weeks of the workshop, and will be posted on the Earth Ethics webpage.


Colleen Ahern-Hettich has served as the director of the Earth Ethics Institute for the past 11 years. Ms. Ahern-Hettich has served on several boards and committees including: the Environmental Education Providers of Miami-Dade County, the Advisory Committee of South Florida Environmental Art Project, Inc.; the Economic, Social and Health Issues Committee of the Miami-Dade County Climate Change Advisory Task Force, the Be Healthy Board, and The City of Miami Green Commission.

Mike Matthews has served as the Earth Ethics Institute part-time program professional for the InterAmerican Campus for the past three years. Matthews holds an M.S. in environmental science from Florida International University. He has taught as a visiting instructor on the faculty of Florida Gulf Coast University’s Marine and Ecological Sciences Department

Netiva Kolitz has served as the Earth Ethics Institute part-time program professional at the Kendall Campus for the past three years. Ms. Kolitz holds a B.S. degree in Psychology, and has completed graduate course work both in Environmental Studies and Education. She has more than 10 years of professional experience in program coordination, environmental education, and public outreach. Ms. Kolitz worked as part of the Education Department of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

Paola Plevak has served as the part-time program professional for the North Campus for the past year. Plevak earned a Masters of Arts in International Administration with a concentration in Sustainable Development from the University of Miami, and a Bachelors in Global Leadership from St. Thomas University.

Angelica Alvarez has served as the part-time program professional for the Wolfson Campus for the past year. Alvarez holds a Bachelors of Science in Society and Environment from University of California, Berkeley, and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from Florida International University.



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Earth Ethics Institute • An Earth Literacy Resource Center Serving MDC Administrators, Faculty, Staff,  and Students, as well as the South Florida Community
Miami Dade College • 300 N.E. 2nd Avenue, Room 1201, Miami, FL 33132-2204 • t: 305-237-3796 • f: 305-237-7724