Sustainability Field School Blog

Below you'll find the location-based blogs compiled by students from the 2012-2016 Sustainability Field Schools. Use the drop-down menu below to filter the blogs by year. You can also explore the each blog post on the Cascadia Sustainability Experience Map.

The Dream of Sustainability is Alive in Portland


Moving on to the 4th stop on our Cascadian adventure, our group was stoked to see what this city of [sustainable] dreams had to offer. Spud and the Chicklets set the stage and orientated our group in the Northwest District, visualizing the city through the eyes of a true Portlandia native. With five days under our belt to explore and discover, the group got some sick memories to carry on our field school legacy.

Sustainable Shakespeare: The Story of Community

For the first time ever the Cascadia field school stopped in the small town of Ashland, Oregon. The reason for this is that it is half way between Portland and San Francisco, our final destination. Ashland was an opportunity for us to leave behind big cities for a while and explore sustainability in a rural setting. Ashland is most famous for hosting the world’s largest Shakespeare festival, but it is also known for its small town charm, natural healing springs, and incredible local artisans.

The Northern California Coast


Welcome to the Northern California Coast- land of curvaceous coastlines, freaky fog, sexy sunsets, bitchin’ beaches and bluffs, radical redwoods, funky flannel and awesome artisans!


On June 2, 2014 we travelled from upbeat Oregon to laid-back Northern California which was a smooth transition!  Over the next couple days we visited Arcata, Jug Handle Creek and Mendocino.  


City of Arcata Community Forest Redwood Forest.

Seattle: The City of Neighbourhoods

Our third stop on the Cascadia tour was Seattle, a drastic contrast from the bustling cosmopolitan Vancouver to the grungy and funkier city. As soon as we arrived, we threw down our bags and mowed down on burritos and ice cream at Pike Place Market before heading off to check out the Bullitt Center. Impressions of Seattle included loud, dynamic streetscapes with friendly people and engaging neighbourhoods to explore.

Coastal Cruising

As the rain begins to lessen, a wedge of sun is setting over the horizon and bringing our final day in Seattle to an end. This morning, we sat together in a park (accompanied by mugs of tea and ziplock bags of peanut butter) for our second sharing circle. The chaotic nature of our trip encourages constant motion for both our mind and bodies, so this time to reflect and share our thoughts is inestimately valuable.

But, what is sustainability?

When the Cascadia Sustainability Field School visited Vancouver (in May, 2014) we had a chance to reflect on the variety of ways “sustainability” is imagined.

Our first foray into the city was a downtown walking tour lead by well- known Vancouver urban superstar, former city counselor etc. Gord Price. For Gord, sustainability represented a formidable challenge for a city that was founded on movement (of goods, information and people) and the exploitation of resources. Vancouver, it could be said, was about exploiting the hell out of heaven.

Sustainable Mating

In Vancouver BC driving just doesn't make sense anymore. The city is almost entirely walkable and when you can't walk the public transportation system is efficient, cheap, and well organized. 

Industry Meets Artistry

What was once was an area heavily used for industry has been transformed into a vibrant local gem. Minutes the hustle and bustle of the city of Vancouver, Granville Island is a popular destination for both local residents and tourists. Our task was to find out how the area has become what it is today, as well as discover why the conscious decision was made to allow automobiles access to the island.