Sustainability

Learning Outcomes

  1. Define Sustainability.
  2. Give five examples of sustainable activities – e.g. building, farming, energy, etc.
  3. Outline the link between climate change and sustainability.
  4. Give an example of Sustainable Development Aid and Emergency Aid.
  5. Research two organisations that provide Sustainable Development Aid and Emergency Aid.
  6. Understand concepts of Carbon Footprint, Ecological Footprint and Food Miles.
  7. Measure a personal, family, class or school Carbon Footprint and Water Footprint.
  8. Initiate at least one activity to reduce or compensate for school’s Carbon Footprint.

Key Skills

  1. Research using I.C.T.
  2. Use various methods to measure Carbon Footprint.
  3. Film review and critical reflection.
  4. Conduct and analyse a survey on energy use.

Resources

  • Excellent resource from Shelbourne Farms Sustainable Schools Project: a guide to education for sustainability (2011)
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change | ipcc.ch
  • Sustainable Development lecture from Oliver Sachs (I:07 mins)

Activities

Activity S 1 Introduce the topic of Sustainability and Climate Change by watching “An Inconvenient Truth” or another relevant film on Sustainability (Food Inc., No Impact Man, The 11th Hour). Encourage students to comment on the images presented in the film. Students then review the film. Activity S 2 Students discuss their film reviews and focus on particular key words and images that were presented in the film. Students refer to ‘Chapter 3 – Sustainability: THE defining development issue’ of 80:20 and discuss sustainable development and climate change. Students should research useful websites such as in order to obtain more information about sustainability. Activity S 3 In their journals, students list five activities they consider sustainable e.g. types of building, energy production, farming, global food trade, transport, etc. and five activities they consider unsustainable. Students debate their ideas and look for alternatives to unsustainable practices. Activity S 4 Students view My Big Idea” EMBED to realise the potential for Science for Development. Students research other simple scientific discoveries which have helped human development (e.g. lifesaver bottle, light bulb water bottle). Students think about entering a project into Scifest or the BT Young Scientist with a focus on Science for Development. Students should be made aware of the work of Young Scientists Tanzania and the potential links on projects. Activity S 5 Introduce the idea of aid and how emergency aid differs from sustainable aid. Have students list examples of emergency situations worldwide and the kind of aid provided from the world community. Students research Gorta-Self Help Africa’s sustainable development practices. Students identify one group that specialises in emergency aid and research the origins and activities of this group: Concern / GOAL / Medicin Sans Frontieres / Oxfam / Red Cross and Trocáire. Activity S 6 Students measure the carbon footprint using a carbon footprint calculator and water consumption using water calculator. Students are encouraged to devise a strategy to reduce their carbon footprint such as less electricity use; reduce water use, reduce car journeys etc. (Dublin Bikes, Walk on Wednesday and the Earth Hour initiative). Students research a personal/class/school lifestyle to analyse the impact each member of the community has on sustainability. Activity S 7 Students can promote sustainability by running a campaign in their school/community.