Why Teach Sustainability?
The “why” of sustainability requires asking students questions that are future-oriented. As a result, teaching sustainability in schools raises climate change awareness and illustrates to students how they play a significant role in the solution of this problem.
Resources Developed by the Center for Global Studies
Climate Change and Global Warming Information Sites
- NASA: Global Climate Change includes vital signs of the planet, the latest articles on climate change and interviews with experts on the topic.
- Global Issues: Climate Change and Global Warming explains why climate change is a global issue, its consequences, and how it is portrayed in the media.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency: Climate Change provides an overall explanation of what climate change is and how humans are contributing to its creation. The site also explains what we can do to make a difference and provides a “household carbon footprint calculator“.
Resources for Educators Teaching Sustainability
- The Field Guide to Teaching Sustainability, developed by Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, offers resources to integrate sustainability into courses.
- EcoWatch: How to Teach Kids About Sustainability lists five tips for teaching sustainability to kids and provides resource pages for educators.
- PBS Frontline Special: “Hot Politics: Examining the politics behind the U.S. government’s failure to act on the biggest environmental problem of our time” for Grades 9-12.
- Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future is a UNESCO program for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. It provides professional development for student teachers, teachers, curriculum developers, education policy makers, and authors of educational materials. There are four themes covered in this program: CURRICULUM RATIONALE, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ACROSS THE CURRICULUM, CONTEMPORARY ISSUES, TEACHING & LEARNING STRATEGIES.
- Teaching Sustainability (Vanderbilt University) offers tips for teaching sustainability in the classroom and during field trips. The website also provides suggestions on how to make classrooms interdisciplinary and why this is a good approach when teaching this subject. Several ecological footprint calculators are provided; an explanation is provided on how to incorporate these during sustainability lessons.
- Teach for America: Lessons Plans for Teaching Sustainability talks about the benefits of becoming a “green school” and provides lesson plans for kids of different ages to incorporate sustainability in the classroom. Lesson plans are offered for Grades Pre-K-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, and Grades 9-12.
- Resources for Rethinking is a project developed by Learning for a Sustainable Future. It provides teachers access to lesson plans, curriculum units and other teaching resources that integrate environmental, social and economic spheres through that combines interdisciplinary and action-oriented approaches. We call this learning Education for Sustainable Development or ESD.
- Sustainability and Kids in the Classroom provides a listing from several resources for educators that range from lesson plans divided by grades and ideas for making a lesson plan “greener” to environmental service projects and calendars of training events.
- Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation (CELF): Environmental Literacy website provides educators with tools to teach sustainability as well as information on funding and grant opportunities. It also provides resources for students that can be used for sustainability thinking and research.
- Green Schools Initiative covers a wide range of topics covered in green schools’ curricula as well as a list of the different green school national programs and funding opportunities.
- Education for Environment and Sustainability provides a set of standards for teaching sustainability, online resources to support the curriculum aligned with those standards, and supporting materials that range from stories to an informative presentation.
- The Guide to Education for Sustainability offers introductory tools, background, and examples to help educators of all grade levels and subject areas use the “lens of sustainability” to strengthen classroom curricula and community projects.
- Learning Lab offers an array of hands-on curricular materials and resources for the K-12 classroom.
Ecological Footprint Calculators
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Household Emissions Calculator
- Chuck Wright’s Carbon Calculator
- The Nature Conservancy