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Measures of a Sustainable Commute as a Predictor of Happiness

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The ways in which we travel—by what mode, for how long, and for what purpose—can affect our sense of happiness and well-being. This paper assesses the relationships between measures of

The ways in which we travel—by what mode, for how long, and for what purpose—can affect our sense of happiness and well-being. This paper assesses the relationships between measures of the sustainability of transportation systems in U.S. metropolitan areas and subjective well-being. Associations between self-reported happiness levels from the Gallup Healthways Well-being Index and commute data were examined for 187 core-based statistical areas (CBSA). We also supplement this quantitative analysis through brief case studies of high- and low-performing happiness cities. Our quantitative results indicate that regions with higher commute mode shares by non-automobile modes generally had higher well-being scores, even when controlling for important economic predictors of happiness. We also find that pro-sustainable transportation policies can have implications for population-wide happiness and well-being. Our case studies indicate that both high and low scoring happiness cities demonstrate a dedicated commitment to improving sustainable transportation infrastructure. Our study suggests that cities that provide incentives for residents to use more sustainable commute modes may offer greater opportunity for happiness than those that do not.

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  • 2017-07-13

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Inside-Out Pedagogies: Transformative Innovations for Environmental and Sustainability Education

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Institutions of higher learning can be centers of meaning-making and learning and are expected to play a pivotal role in a global shift toward sustainability. Despite recent innovations, much sustainability

Institutions of higher learning can be centers of meaning-making and learning and are expected to play a pivotal role in a global shift toward sustainability. Despite recent innovations, much sustainability education today is still delivered using traditional pedagogies common across higher education. Therefore, students and facilitators should continue innovating along pedagogical themes consistent with the goals of sustainability: transformation and emancipation. Yet, more clarity is needed about pedagogical approaches that will transform and emancipate students, allowing them to become innovators that change existing structures and systems. My dissertation attempts to address this need using three approaches. First, I present a framework combining four interacting (i.e., complementary) pedagogies (transmissive, transformative, instrumental, and emancipatory) for sustainability education, helping to reify pedagogical concepts, rebel against outdated curricula, and orient facilitators/learners on their journey toward transformative and emancipatory learning. Second, I use a descriptive case study of a sustainability education course set outside of the traditional higher education context to highlight pedagogical techniques that led to transformative and emancipatory outcomes for learners partaking in the course. Third, I employ the method of autoethnography to explore my own phenomenological experience as a sustainability student and classroom facilitator, helping others to identify the disenchanting paradoxes of sustainability education and integrate the lessons they hold. All three approaches of the dissertation maintain a vision of sustainability education that incorporates contemplative practices as essential methods in a field in need of cultivating hope, resilience, and emergence.

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  • 2019