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How to Start Teaching Sustainability in Schools

How to Start Teaching Sustainability in Schools

The basic elements to understand the environmental effects of climate change are awareness and mass education. For that, efforts must be made on a holistic level taking all schools, educational institutions, offices, and ultimately home environments on board to achieve awareness and learning of a green environment.

Today you can think of hundreds of ideas for green projects, but how many of these are doable?

  • How many would actually bear the reward? 
  • What would the culture promote on the student level?
  • How would it help reshape the future? 

These are the questions you need to figure out before starting.

One great initiative would be to post every idea on all social media handles and platforms. That way, you can optimize the reach and ensure that a consistent message goes across. 

Benefits of Teaching Sustainability in School

There are several benefits of these green school projects:

  • Learning about the climate invokes a sense of responsibility, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary (beyond the scope of studies) action.
  • It involves unique modes of non-conventional teaching.
  • Teaches the student to use all resources wisely and minimize wastage when stuck in challenging situations.
  • By following the practical, lead-by-example method, the teachers can promote a better learning environment. That can go beyond the scope of green schools.
  • Polishes up the students’ problem-solving and decision-making skills.

Ideas for Teaching Sustainability in Schools

Teacher Writing on a Board

There could be dozens of ways to give your students a hands-on experience going green. 

Green schools may do everything from recycling to power generation, gardening, encouraging students to become environmental advocates, and promoting a greener culture across all domains. It’s not about “going green” but rather about teaching students how to live in this new environment.

There really are hundreds of ‘fun and learn’ ways to get them equipped with the knowledge to save the planet. 

The best part is, these activities will build into their personalities. Later on, thinking out of the box and coming up with unconventional ideas to run things around a school setting will make them great leaders in the future.

Recycle

Recycling

Learning how recycling works and which items can and cannot be recycled is a skill that can be learned by example. It’s not difficult to come up with activities or games involving recycling. 

For starters, you can set up different bins for materials like glass, plastic, wood, etc. That would set the ground to help the students learn the difference between recyclable and non-recyclable materials.

Then, restrict the use of plastic all over the campus.

A step further up, you can visit factories and help learn how waste is recycled or managed on a mass scale.

Furthermore, here are some additional fun activities you can do at school:

  • Group the students up for different projects. These could be about minimizing wastage at school or steps to recycle on an individual level. 
  • You can even give them a broad class project on finding and recycling materials at school, thus widening the scope of thinking.
  • Set up collection boxes or points for bottle caps, glass bottles, paper, and other materials you can send out for easy recycling.
  • Worm bins are a great idea. The worms are the best practical examples of decomposing wasted food. 

Energy Conservation

Utilizing Solar Energy

Theoretically, you can tell your students the difference between renewable and non-renewable sources of energy. 

Then, taking it on a practical level, try solar power resources, wherever you can, all over the school.

Minimize daylight energy consumption by initiating a daylight saving program or using skylights in the classroom. 

Teach them to turn off electrical appliances and lights when not needed: a) by example and b) by including facts and figures in your session plan so they have numbers telling them exactly how much their little act can do for the planet.

You can also:

  • Teach them about CFCs, carbon emissions and ban any products that produce damaging emissions around campus.
  • Replace existing light bulbs with energy-saver lights.
  • Design and assign an annual class project to reduce energy consumption all over the school. Then, ask them to think of energy-efficient ways of doing things instead.
  • Work towards shifting to outdoor solar classrooms.

Critical Thinking

Going Green By Recycling

Critical thinking skills help create a sense of duty, creativity, and synergy in pupils. It opens the door for concepts, opinions, and allows each student to have his or her voice once they realize they are heard.

As for sustainable teaching, when the students are made to work on a project, they learn how every little action has a global effect.

How resources are limited and how our actions affect the planet and lead to all the climate issues we deal with today.

You can also do the following:

  • Introduce them to historical practices and the steps taken by different countries for the global green environment. 
  • Ask them for opinions and ideas to develop strategies and plans to reduce global warming and direct all efforts towards a greener society. 
  • Start at the school level first and then ask them to take it home!
  • Share positive success stories from all around the world.
  • Give them statistics; that ensure the efforts are not pointless and tasks are more achievable once you have the goals in place.
  • Grow a green garden with your own veggies and fruits at school. Start small scale, with a few easy-to-grow fruits first. Once the students see the benefits, they can take the act home.

Go Paperless

Eco-Friendly Bag

Here is a great strategy you can easily implement on campus; go paperless! It’s not just a change in lifestyle or a switch from contemporary learning to e-learning but also a great initiative for the environment.

Instead of buying books, get students into the habit of learning from e-books. Make your classes equipped with laptops or computers to ensure a paper-free environment.

You can also find many volunteers for arts and crafts to teach the students some great DIY projects. These can help at home and reduce industrial buying and build a sense of creativity and learning by employing easy-to-find resources at home.

There’s so much you can do using everyday objects like paper, cans, wire, etc. Check out Pinterest, and you’ll be amazed at the ideas.

Other Ideas to Teach a Sustainable Future

No Plastic Campaign

Apart from these four domains, you can still do a lot to invoke thinking and interest among the students. Such as the following:

  • Organize seminars and training by inviting renowned environmentalists to school (locally or even consider world thought leaders you may be surprised how passionate people are about the environment).
  • Make up green societies or panels amongst student bodies.
  • Check out UNs Sustainable Development Goals and make them part of the school curriculum.
  • Learn about the different green schools and pave the way to make your own school part of it.
  • Set up biodiverse spaces or gardens, keeping frogs, lizards, butterflies, birds, and other species at school. 
  • Organize field trips to national parks and botanical gardens. 
  • Take up initiatives like celebrating Earth hour, bike riding and walks for a cause, school clean-up day, etc.

What are the benefits of sustainability or environmental education?

Those who understand the link between society and the environment have decreased their chances of making better choices in terms of enhancing our quality of life.

Education about Sustainable Resources informs us that a healthy community in which we live is dependent on our environmental conditions. Students learn about humanity’s current problems during sustainability education programs.

Natural disasters, pandemics, and the prospect of ecological refugees threaten our existence in new ways.

The continual rise in population and pest effect, as well as the increased risk of eco-refugees affecting our survival, are all examples of challenges like climate change and ecosystem extinction that impact us in new ways.

Focus on environmental issues to assist individuals and communities to be proactive about the problems and not reactive.

Sustainability Education is related to teaching and learning how to:

What is the best way to teach sustainability?

A Mentor Teaching his Students

In recent years, sustainability education has gone mainstream throughout society. They happen in people’s homes and on boards, as well as in neighborhood gatherings and volunteer groups, rather than just within school and college walls.

Businesses try to decrease an environmental impact or individuals find a new location for the first time after traveling when the action occurs.

A great way to teach sustainability is to encourage students to understand their ecological footprint and how it impacts climate change. If we want a sustainable future, it’s going to be in the hands of young people.

We need to encourage students to focus on achieving sustainability.

What are the benefits of educators teaching sustainable resources?

When educators teach about sustainable resources, they are empowering their students with the ability to make informed decisions that will have a positive impact on the environment. Students learn how to conserve resources, reduce waste and help preserve our planet’s ecosystems.

In addition, when schools become more environmentally sustainable, it can inspire others in the community to take action to do the same. 

As our societies and economies grow and develop, we use increasing amounts of natural resources and put more pressure on the environment in a variety of ways.

In fact, by 2050 it is estimated that over 80% of people will live in urban environments rather than out in rural communities.

Much of this growth will be concentrated in slum-like informal settlements. This means that sustainable development will be even more important in the future to ensure everyone has access to housing, clean water, sanitation facilities, and energy supplies – all of which are essential for their well-being.

Educators can make a difference by ensuring children leave school with positive attitudes about the environment and are equipped with the skills they need to take action and live more sustainable lives.

When schools integrate environmental education into their curricula, it provides students with the opportunity to learn about the world around them holistically.

Students can develop an understanding of the relationships between humans and their environment, and how each individual has the potential to make a positive impact on the planet.

Sustainability education prepares students to be future leaders and responsible adults who understand the importance of taking care of our planet.

By teaching children about sustainable resources, educators are giving them the knowledge and skills they need to make a difference for generations to come.

When planning environmental education lessons, it is important to keep in mind the different ways students learn. Some students prefer hands-on activities, while others prefer to read or watch videos like middle school students.

There are many different types of sustainability resources available online and in print, which can be used in the classroom.

Teachers can also draw on local resources to help teach about sustainability. For example, if a class is studying water conservation, a field trip to a local water treatment plant can be very effective.

Conclusion

Being an educator puts you in a great position to teach students and shape young minds.

Not just that, teaching involves giving future generations full control to become leaders and responsible adults regarding sustainability issues that continue to impact our natural environment.

Remember that learning is a two-way street. So share your personal stories, but make sure to hear them out too. 

You’ll be astounded at such energetic and fresh ideas once the youth is given the right platform and opportunity to speak their minds.

These ideas for teaching sustainability at school will help build knowledge and redirect efforts towards reducing fossil fuels, planting trees, and energy conservation.

FAQ

How do you teach sustainability in the classroom?

Teaching sustainability to children benefits their futures and the environment. Teaching them about sustainability in school is easier than you might think.

The Sustainability Curriculum Framework is a set of 24 modules that tell you how to be sustainable at school. The materials are for teachers and they can be used in different grades as well as homes. There is a lot of high-quality content and it’s needed for many reasons.

Active participation classes are a way to teach students how to care for the environment. They learn through hands-on activities, and they work together to complete tasks.

Teachers can also bring in people who are sustainability experts. This will help students learn more about specific topics related to sustainability, such as renewable energy sources or reducing waste.

Why is teaching sustainability important?

Teaching sustainability in schools is important because it sets an example for future generations. It helps them realize the impact they have on the environment and teaches them how to become protectors of nature, rather than destroyers.

Sustainability has become an important topic in recent years, and we must teach sustainability to our children at a young age. They are our future and we need to ensure that they are aware of the importance of sustainability so that they can make informed decisions as adults.

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