The earth provides us with an astonishing variety of resources. For humanity to flourish, we must balance our human needs, such as those for energy, clean air, fresh water, and adequate food, with the availability of these resources. And we must do so while operating within the complex constraints imposed by the laws of nature and the perhaps equally complex “laws” of human behavior. So sustainability involves environmental, social, and economic aspects, all of which are interconnected.
April is Mathematics Awareness Month (MAM). This year’s theme is Mathematics of Sustainability, which explores how mathematics helps us better understand these complex questions. Society and individuals will need to make challenging choices; mathematics provides us with tools to make informed decisions. Given the importance and timeliness of this year’s theme, the Advisory Committee for MAM has organized two nationwide initiatives.
This educational initiative provides a range of model lessons for K-16 math educators that link math with sustainability. In honor of Mathematics Awareness Month, we invite educators to teach a lesson on this topic. The showcase lesson is the Sustainability Counts Energy Challenge in which students both learn about the mathematics of energy use at their institution and then develop and implement an action plan to reduce energy use. By tracking how much energy is saved nationally, students will see that while sustainability starts with individual effort, creating a sustainable society requires large-scale cooperation across the nation and around the world.
We encourage our international colleagues in MPE to share this idea of using sustainability as a way to inspire student interest in mathematics with their colleagues involved in mathematics education.
This is a group of mathematicians, scientists and sustainability professionals who are available to speak to school audiences and community groups on various topics related to the mathematics of sustainability. The bureau was created in conjunction with the Mathematics of Planet Earth (MPE) 2013 initiative. If you would like to become part of the group, please sign up to become a speaker.
About Math Awareness Month and JPBM:
Mathematics Awareness Month (MAM), held each year in April, is sponsored by the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM) to increase public understanding of and appreciation for mathematics.
At the MAM Website you can find theme essays, related resources, a blog, and download a copy of the 2013 poster.
Activities for Mathematics Awareness Month generally are organized on local, state and regional levels by college and university departments, institutional public information offices, student groups, and related associations and interest groups. If you organize an activity, please tell us about it.
The JPBM is a collaborative effort of the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the American Statistical Association (ASA), the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).
MAM 2013 Committee Chair
Bryn Mawr College