ArtMill is leading the global trend towards rural education facilities and programs, that bring youth out of the cities and classrooms to better understand what needs to be done to protect our planet for the next generation. As part of our mission to bring the pressing environmental issues of our times to the public at large, ArtMill is able to integrate sustainable practices into our regular programs on a daily basis, as well as sustainable education.  Curriculum is specialized for both upper level university programs and for youth. and Students learn not just by reading about global water issues for instance, but also by conserving our well water with short showers and low flushes, or watching how a turbine pumps water from the 16-hectare lake to create electricity and seeing the water level drop. These are physical manifestations of sustainable practices. The latin root of the word, "sustinere" combines the prefix "sub" (below) with "tenere" (to hold). We believe that to truly comprehend environmental problems of our planet, the student must be in that environment, or nature. Thus the knowledge comes from the earth, from below, and is "held"/comprehended, in a more integrated way. Combined with an aesthetic, we call it Sustainable Creativity.

With visiting scholars, artists, activists and environmentalists, we are able to offer students an intimate lecture and work-study atmosphere. Our visiting teachers present in the Granary, with the smell of barley still lingering in the air. There are films and talks with discussions that often carry over to the fireside later in the day. There are always on-going projects with the Artists-in-Residence who need assistance from willing students. In 2011 students helped build a raft of recycled plastic bottles that was floated down the Vltava River in Prague to raise awareness on plastic pollution. One summer camp instructor knitted plastic bags into a sweater. Another counselor led the group on a local river clean-up. We've had scientists describe why the lake turns green in the summer, and examine the algae under microscopes. We've built solar-powered sculptures that re-create eco-villages, self-sufficient and interdependent.

ArtDialogue's association with the United Nations Safe Planet Campaign, which encourages the Responsibility of Hazardous Chemicals and Wastes, has allowed us the tremendous contact with educators and scientists around the world working on various issues of climate change, toxic chemicals, mercury, plastic pollution, etc, that will indeed effect the future of life on this planet. In Rio de Janeiro, at the UN Conference for Sustainable Development or Rio+20,  we partnered with scientists studying the POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) uptake in dolphins- mammals very close to humans. In Mexico we lectured and exhibited an artist who creates sculptures that help to form new reefs, so vital to the ocean's health. In California we are working on a major environmental ArtPark in the Monterey Bay that will potentially bring students and the public the latest information on marine issues and conservation. One of Safe Planet's central topics is "Body Burden",- the toxic chemical count contained in our bodies (now numbering over 700 contaminants in each of us). At ArtMill we learn how chemical pesticides enter our food chain and water sources, visibly present in the surrounding agricultural fields and waterways.  Only organic farming is practiced at the Mill, where youth not only get their hands dirty in the garden, but eat the fruits of their labor at meals.

When former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland coined the current term "sustainability" in 1987 at the World Commission on Environment and Development, it set the standard for 21st century paradigm shift in environmentalism. Sustainable Development is now linked closely with environmental education, poverty relief, social equality and political freedom, in the sense that we now strive to "meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". Sustainability, while acknowledging a finite world with finite resources, implies a social contract that protects and governs the equal distribution and conservation of the natural world for our children. Like art, it is no longer only a science steeped in form, but a participatory system that informs action. Inspired also by our work with the Transformative Education Forum*, a global network of educators and scholars, ArtMill is grounded in a sustainable education that transforms the individual by "promoting the practice of sustainable development, meshing economic growth, respect and protection for the environment with social equity and well-being".

*the TEF, co-founded by June Gorman in 2009 is the initiative of the Global Challenges Forum. See all 12 TEF Principles here

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