Communicating Sustainability

An International Conversation for Sustainability Activists

Made possible with support from The Dill Fund, The Smith Fund, and the Stimson Fund

September 6-7, 2022 (on Goucher College's campus or online)

Register by August 15, 2022

Sept 6th schedule Sept 7th schedule


In collaboration with the University of Glasgow in Scotland and the Universidade Federal de Sergipe in Brazil, Goucher College is pleased to invite participants to an international discussion of case studies, round table discussions, and papers that contribute to a deeper understanding of sustainability work across sectors.

Sustainability, defined as the ability to persist and thrive over a long period of time, is often framed around four pillars; social equity, economic development, environmental protection, and cultural sustainability.[1] In 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 interlinked Sustainable Development Goals designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all". The goals identify actions for issues that cut across multiple sectors of society (poverty, hunger, education, climate action, cultural equity, gender equality, social justice, and more) and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030. In the US, resistance to sustainability goals has risen, often perceived as a conspiracy for taking away freedoms and property rights. One of its most outspoken critics, American Policy Center president Tom DeWeese, describes a sustainability agenda as “a new kind of tyranny that, if not stopped, will surely lead us to a new Dark Ages of pain and misery yet unknown to mankind.” Others see sustainability efforts as critical to our survival as a species.

A chasm exists; no one desires mutual destruction and we must find a way to build a bridge between such divergent perspectives. What is it about the concept of “sustainability” that is confusing to people and creates concern? Is there a way for people who work towards sustainability goals to develop solid connections for mutual success rather than build walls?

This two-day gathering offers opportunities to explore these issues and to develop some strategies for collaborative solutions and next steps.  Whether your focus is cultural, environmental, economic, or social, please join us to share your experiences, challenges, solutions, and stories. 

[1] Hawkes, Jon. 2001. The Fourth Pillar of Sustainability: Culture's Essential Role in Public Planning, Common Ground Publishing Pty Ltd in association with the Cultural Development Network, Melbourne, Australia.


The gathering includes in-person and virtual interactions with colleagues in three hubs: Scotland, Brazil, and the United States.

On Day One, each hub will host its own event with speakers addressing the theme from their own perspectives. The US gathering at Goucher College will be a hybrid event.  Participants may choose to attend in-person on our 287-acre campus north of Baltimore, or to join us online.  The schedule for Day One at Goucher College (link above) includes:

  • Keynote addresses to set the tone for our conversations.

  • Case Studies to workshop challenges and collectively seek insights and solutions.

  • Roundtable Discussions to encourage deeper conversation and perspectives around a key communication concern.

  • Lightning Rounds to offer practical or theoretical approaches to sustainability, particularly to issues of communication within sustainability work. 

Questions to be explored include:

(i) How is sustainability interpreted and represented in multiple sectors?

(ii) Who are the principal voices in the discussion?

(iii) What are the main obstacles in communicating their understandings and needs to others?

(iv) What innovative solutions can we offer to address those obstacles?

These consecutive sessions are designed to encourage engaged conversations across sectors.  The day also includes a closing session to summarize lessons learned and plan for the conversation with our partners in Scotland and Brazil. 

Day Two will draw on the summaries from Day One, especially our responses to the above questions. We will join participants from the hubs in Scotland and Brazil for an international, multi-disciplinary discussion to explore cross-cutting issues and develop strategies and next steps for communication and negotiation between sectors.


Day One (Goucher College, United States - subject to change)

Sept 6th schedule 

Day Two – We will join virtually with our colleagues in Scotland and Brazil

Sept 7th Schedule

To Register

Register as a virtual or on campus participant by August 15, 2022. On campus registrants will receive coffee/tea and lunch on both days, and free parking on campus.  All registrants will receive post-conference access to recordings of the events from all three hubs.

Register Here