Educate for Environmental and Sustainability Literacy

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While we can draw upon experiences of the past to help us solve the problems of today and tomorrow, the reality is that the solutions may not yet exist. All people will need to learn their way towards a sustainable human future. Education is therefore central to a sustainable future.

The unique challenges that define our era—reversing global climate change and mitigating its impacts on vulnerable populations, ensuring equity of opportunity for historically disadvantaged populations, protecting biodiversity, restoring the health of our oceans, viable use of limited natural resources, and developing empathy and respect for cultural similarities and differences—require fundamentally new ways of thinking and acting.

Students who learn to think across subject areas, connecting their learning to real world problems and solutions, are more likely to understand and care for the complex web of life that supports them and sustains their communities and the planet. Schools and programs that integrate environmental and sustainability literacy effectively are able to tap into students’ energy and creativity to address complex issues while giving deeper meaning and urgency to the demands of curriculum and assessments. Help your school embrace sustainability and the environment as contexts for deeper learning.

Measure your impact

Measure the minutes of class time allocated to sustainability concepts, or assess learning through student work, a written exam, or a pre/post survey.

Get started

  • Talk with teachers about the students’ current learning goals and support them by matching sustainability resources to the topics already being addressed in the classroom. Common Core Standards and Next Generation Science Standards include many aspects of sustainability education, though not all.
  • Access Learning Lab to review and use comprehensive, project- and STEM-based curriculum that encourages student leadership, environmental literacy, and real-world action. You can test-drive lessons for free, and explore sustainability themes with your students. The platform includes a curated catalogue of lesson plans, interactive projects, assessment opportunities, and other multimedia resources in English and Spanish. Lessons are mapped to meet current educational standards and were created by educators, for educators.
  • Educate school staff on what what supports or impedes healthy, resource-efficient and environmentally sustainable learning spaces. The Green Classroom Professional Course breaks down the different aspects of building sustainability, such as water and waste, and identifies the effects they have on school occupants and the environment.

Example projects