Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 706–711 | Cite as

Embodying the path of sustainability: reflections on “learning to juggle” in environmental pedagogy

  • Brendon M. H. Larson


We often use juggling as an everyday metaphor for balancing multiple interests, which pertains to thinking about sustainability, yet to date its potential for environmental pedagogy has not been evaluated. Here, I provide some lessons learned while teaching students to juggle as part of a senior environmental studies course at the University of Waterloo over a 4-year period (2009–2012, n = 289 students). I begin by briefly reviewing four benefits of teaching environmental studies students how to juggle: (1) it embodies system thinking, (2) it grounds environmental metaphors, (3) it helps to transcend paradigms, and (4) it promotes well-being. I then provide preliminary support for these claims from a survey of my students in 2012. With these lessons and some caveats in mind, I conclude that learning to juggle is a wonderful embodied metaphor for nurturing students’ reflections about sustainability, so I encourage other environmental studies educators to consider it within their courses.


Complexity Contemplation Embodiment Time is money Well-being 


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Copyright information

© AESS 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environment and Resource StudiesUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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