Complex environmental issues and constant change call for creative and innovative solutions. We believe critical thinking in the area of environmental studies is imperative both in and out of the classroom. Exercise: “Creatively Controlling Campus Crud: Design a Better Pizza Box.” This is a multifaceted exercise that we created and currently use in the core environmental studies class in the Department of Resource Development at Michigan State University. This exercise provides space for creative approaches to the complex environmental issue of waste on the campus. Discarded pizza boxes are the number one cause of waste on the MSU campus. Their volume and the contamination of the cardboard with food waste cause the problem. We have created this exercise to show how students contribute to a significant environmental problem, yet we provide them the space to offer their own solutions to the problem. They then quickly present their designs and thoughts to their colleagues in the class. This exercise provides space for lateral thinking: The worldview of students is represented in how they frame the problem from actually designing a new pizza box to questioning consumerism (concrete to abstract). Students begin to understand how they contribute to environmental degradation by their own worldviews and behaviors. Students also discover how they can have impact and develop innovative solutions. This exercise also gives students practice in first critically examining their own worldviews and values, observing creativity in action, working with others to frame the issue, and thinking of creative ways to address complex environmental issues in a safe space.
Robinson, Carole F. and Kakela, Peter J.
"Fostering creativity in the environmental classroom : seeking creative solutions through active participation,"
Natural Resources and Environmental Issues: Vol. 9
, Article 17.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/nrei/vol9/iss1/17