Sustainability, Catholic Institutions of Higher Learning, and The Natural Step

Main Article Content

Steven A. Kolmes, Ph.D.
Russell A. Butkus, Ph.D.


Sustainability at Catholic colleges and universities involves elements of physical plant operations, food services, curricular design, and a host of other concerns. The imperative for Catholic higher education to engage with issues of sustainability is both practical and ethical, and is well supported by Catholic Social Teaching. The article addresses the tools provided by a variety of organizations, focusing on The Natural Step, which is based on four simple system conditions that incorporate an ethical dimension as central to sustainability. A discussion of Catholic Social Teaching and sustainability, as well as case study material and evidence about the present condition of sustainability in Catholic higher education are included.

Article Details

Author Biographies

Steven A. Kolmes, Ph.D., University of Portland

Steven A. Kolmes is Chair of Environmental Science, University of Portland, Portland, OR.

Russell A. Butkus, Ph.D., University of Portland

Russell A. Butkus is Associate Professor of Theology and Environmental Science, University of Portland, Portland, OR.