Sustainability Learning and Certification

The Program in Community Sustainability is offered through the Adena Center, part of the Open Living and Learning Network.

To see a schedule of past and current Living and Learning opportunities, take a look at Open Living and Learning.

What is learning for sustainability?

Sustainability is the watchword of the 21st Century. Communities, business and all sectors of society are learning to think globally, act locally and learn our way to a green, just and democratic world. The Sustainability Certification program is deliberately experiential, inter-disciplinary and grounded in community practice as well as sustainability theory and professional development.

Dimensions of Sustainability:

Courses in the program address four broad areas or Dimensions of Sustainability: World View, Economic, Social, and Ecological.


1. Ecological and Social Aspects of Ecovillage Design
2. Green Building and Retrofitting
3. Local Food
4. Appropriate Technology
5. Restoring Nature


1. Building Community & Embracing Diversity
2. Communication Skills: Conflict and Resolution
3. Personal Empowerment and Leadership
4. Health and Healing
5. Bioregionalism


1. Shifting the Global Economy to Sustainability
2. Right Livelihood
3. Nurturing Local Economies
4. Complementary Currencies
5. Legal and Financial Issues


1. Holistic Worldview
2. Listening to Nature
3. Awakening and Transformation of Consciousness
4. Celebrating Life: Creativity and Art
5. Spiritual Activism

This program framework conforms in part to the Gaia Education Curriculum.

The Program in Community Sustainability Studies is an Open Learning and Living Partner with Sustainable Neighborhoods and community organizations as a Gaia Education provider. Sustainable Clift*n (2007-2008) was one of these pilot projects (see archive). The Gaia Education program is designed to facilitate our acquiring the knowledge and the ability to take action for sustainability. Open Learning and Living is supported by Gaia Education and is based on the Gaia Education Ecovillage Design Curriculum - an official contribution to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005-2014., and the basis for the UNITAR Sustainable Settlements Design Certification.

Certificate in Sustainability

The Certificate in Sustainability is a new program for community members as well as traditional and distance learners. We are working with the Gaia Education Curriculum and Louisville Living and Learning Network development partners to create a program which can meet UNITAR certification standards. In addition, we are developing a range of community based participatory study and action approaches in conjunction with the Community Communications programs of the Open Initiative, Adena Institute and numerous community partners.

The full Certificate in Sustainability will be awarded for completion of 120 contact hours, with a minimum of 20 contact hours in each of the four Dimensions of learning.

Continuing Education Units (CEU) credit will be awarded on the basis of one credit for every 10 contact hours.

Certificates of Completion will be offered to any learner who wishes for each individual course.

We hope you'll join us in this adventure in creating new community based models for learning and development for sustainability.

Fees: A basic processing fee of $10 per event will apply, though many community events are free and open to the public and low-income scholarships are available. Additional course tuition and fees may apply, depending on the particular course.

You are invited:

Community Learners are encouraged to participate in any of the courses which might meet your learning needs. Please let us know what courses or learning opportunities might be useful to you or your organization, business or community.

Educators and Community Resource Partners: In addition, we are sincerely interested in developing courses and learning partnerships which go beyond those outlined here. We welcome submissions of proposals for courses or other learning opportunities and partnerships.

If you have questions or suggestions, please contact us at

Thank you.

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