- To mobilize and engage youth action and expertise as a significant and viable force in the effort to create a sustainable society.
- To raise awareness, knowledge, and participation within all sectors of society for transition to sustainable practices, behavior, and leadership.
- To connect the educational process of youth with multiple sectors of society, within and beyond school classrooms.
- To raise the relevance and rigor of youth learning and strengthen vital 21st century skills.
- To improve all students' engagement, motivation and achievement in learning.
- To develop and educate young Americans to possess a reflective sense of purpose and ethical leadership, confidence in their ability to effect change, and a belief in and commitment to participation in the democratic process.
The DoRight Dynamic--A Call to Action
The Doright Leadership Corps is important and successful for three primary reasons. First, the world is currently on a path of unsustainable environmental degradation that is inextricably connected with social and economic factors. Consequently this problem can only be reversed though multi-dimensional approaches involving all sectors of society. Second, the average American adult is largely ignorant of environmental and sustainability dynamics. Third, the future consequences of these large-scale global issues will directly impact today's middle school students into their adult lives. These students, who are increasingly disengaged in school learning, are hungry for meaning and purpose now.
The DoRight Leadership Corps offers students the opportunity to find the meaning, identity and autonomy they seek by becoming central participants in the process of solving major global problems. In the DoRight program, students acquire and apply the environmental and economic knowledge and skills necessary to apply themselves as change agents, advisors and expert consultants to adults in real world settings. The education most of today's adults received lacked a systems perspective, knowledge of ecological processes, and the interdependence between the built world and natural systems. After a short classroom course, DoRight consultants are positioned to fill that knowledge deficit for the adults. The confidence and expertise students derive and the actions they undertake as DoRight consultants place them in leadership roles that generate high levels of respect from the adult world. This dynamic is especially energizing and attractive to middle school students at a time when developmentally, they are seeking positive and constructive ways to individuate from adult authority. Consequently, the DoRight model synergistically performs two vital functions--enhancing the educational and transformational experiences of youth while transforming the behavior of citizens and businesses toward sustainable and more efficient and profitable practices.
State of the World 2007--The Need for Sustainable Development
Modern modes of development and consumption are currently surpassing the earth's capacity to provide the necessary natural capital and absorb the resulting waste (Redefining Progress). As stated by the United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: "approximately 60 percent of the ecosystem services that support life on Earth--producing goods like food, fresh water, fisheries, the regulation of regional climate, reducing natural hazards and pests--are being degraded or used unsustainably." Issues associated with this trend include global climate change, mass species extinctions, dependence on nonrenewable energy sources, water shortages, deforestation, topsoil loss and unsustainable aquifer depletion from industrial agriculture practices, and much more.
Research Study References:
The United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
The United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The National Academy of Sciences
The Union of Concerned Scientists
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Inadequate Public Knowledge of Environmental Realities
In light of the urgency of the sustainability problems facing society, it should be of serious concern to find that the vast majority of the American public has a minimal grasp of basic cause and effect principles that operate within the environment. An extensive 10-year Roper report study completed in May of 2004 by the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation (NTEEF) provides these summary findings:
All but 20% of average adult Americans are heavily influenced by incorrect or outdated environmental myths.
Just 12% can pass a basic quiz on awareness of energy topics.
The report also notes that, "From now on, many of the leading environmental problems we will face, ranging from water quality to ecosystem management, will require as much focus on smaller individual actions, small business practices and community-based decision-making as on regulating and monitoring our largest public and private institutions."
Research Study Reference:
Understanding Environmental Literacy In America: And Making it a Reality
The National Environmental Education and Training Foundation (NTEEF) Roper Report