Teaching Sustainability: Resources for Educators

Teaching Sustainability: Resources for Educators

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.

Resources for Educators Teaching Sustainability

  • 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.
  • 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

Grants and Award Opportunities for Teaching Sustainability