Here’s how sustainability education is changing in schools:
To provide students with self-awareness and new perspectives, students need to be equipped with the 21st Century skills relevant to the world around them. Sustainability education is evolving, it no longer relates to the environment alone, but extends itself to economics and equity education, a ‘triple-bottom-line definition’ as Gina LaMotte describes.
Gina LaMotte is a thought leader in the sustainable education space and founder of EcoRise. We’ve summarised a few key points in an interview with her, describing how sustainability extends beyond conventional education ideals and is gaining more traction in schools.
It is about recognizing the benefits of sustainable education and how this all-encompassing subject is gaining more traction in our schools…
- CONNECTING THE DOTS – A coordinated approach to thinking about sustainability is essential to a sustainable mindset. This takes into account all stakeholders in a district or school starting from leadership, parents, facilities management and ideally trickles down to students. Recognise the connection between the different levels, and how everyone’s interactions with objects and facilities around them ties into cultivating a sustainable attitude. How teachers use the cafeteria, recycling bins and such all tie into the science class.
- LONGEVITY – Environmental education has been viewed as an add-on and fails to be long-lasting, often science focused and taught under biology or environmental systems. Its disconnected from everything else that sustainability touches. Instead of pigeon-holing this field of study, it needs to be introduced and spoken in line with other subjects such as arts, marketing and math. Math teachers incorporating and teaching students how to measure utility bills, looking at trends in energy conservation as the schools shift to lower bills – it’s all about incorporation, harnessing these learning opportunities to teach useful and relevant skills. It is a core competency that should be embedded into every single field.
- THE BIGGER PICTURE – Bringing the student’s experience beyond the classroom and connecting them with the community, leaders and opportunities around them. As students become aware and form these relationships, they will have voice beyond the classroom which will give them the chance to contribute ideas, problem solve and make a difference. Students are aware of societal changes and the community around them, with support and help, they will be empowered to explore issue areas and gain a better understanding of the world they are entering and the topics that matter.
Sustainable intelligence is more holistic in its components and we’re looking forward to integrating it throughout education and our lives!