“Go Green, Green is the New Black, Sustainability for the Future, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. These are slogans and catch phrases I am hearing more and more about each day. It appears the topics of Global Awareness and Sustainability are hot! Therefore, I figured it was time to become more enlightened in these areas. The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) hosts annually an Institute for Leadership in Sustainability. This conference always covers many exciting topics like “Confronting Climate Change on Campus” to “Building a Sustainable Dining Program”. When I attended the last one, conference-goers received a poster outlining 101 Ways to be Green and Global. As I perused the entries I wondered, “what can educators and administrators do to jump on the Green-Global train and ensure that students are aware of these 21st Century themes?”
Standardized tests, curriculum development and lesson plans are on the forefront of most of our minds – where do we find time to incorporate 21st Century themes into core subjects? The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has 4 major themes in its framework, with Global Awareness as number 1. According to the Partnership, in addition to core subjects, schools must move beyond a focus on basic competency in core subjects to promoting understanding of academic content at much higher levels by weaving 21st century interdisciplinary themes into core subjects. I decided to do a bit of research to see what I could find out about these two topics, but in the area of education.
First, I decided to Google the term, “Global Awareness in Education” and my search returned about 1,040,000 hits. Web sites like Education World and 100 People: A World Portrait topped the hit list. Next, I Googled “Sustainability in Education” and that search returned a whopping 2,360,000 hits! The search revealed Web sites like The Center for Ecoliteracy, Sustainability Ed, and the Sustainability Education Guide. How aware are we as educational professionals of Global issues and Sustainability?
I quickly went into click overhaul. web site after web site provided exciting and fascinating information that instantly introduced me to a new world I had never seen. The 100 People web site is fabulous. As I entered, several thought-provoking questions jumped off the page at me. What if the global population of 6.5 billion was reduced to only 100 people and all statistics used to describe them remained proportionally accurate? What would those 100 people look like, and where do you fit in? Hmmmm, I don’t know, but I want to find out, so my search continues. It is time that I step up to the 21st Century Challenge and decide to be more knowledgeable about issues concerning our world and share this knowledge it an attempt to make a difference. I want to be a Green and Global citizen.
My next treasure find was unbelievable. The 2010 Global Education Conference! The conference was a collaborative and world-wide community effort to significantly increase opportunities for globally-connecting education activities. It was held ONLINE and it was FREE! It took place in multiple time zones and multiple languages over 5 days. Kudos to my friend Lucy Gray for putting this conference together with Steve Hargadon.
At the end of the day, sustainability is about using less; and global awareness is about knowing more. Therefore, I am boarding the Green-Global train, well, maybe I should call it the Green-Global hike, I don’t want to leave a big Carbon footprint. Will you join me?
Interesting facts and web sites I found along the way:
- For every ton of paper that is recycled, the following is saved: 7,000 gallons of water; 380 gallons of oil; and enough electricity to power an average house for six months.
- You can run a TV for six hours on the amount of electricity that is saved by recycling one aluminum can.
- By recycling just one glass bottle, you save enough electricity to power a 100-watt bulb for four hours.
Also, sustainability is a way of thinking and living. It involves making conscious decisions about how your actions (how and what you consume) impact the environment, your community, people around you and across the world.
- Reduce: Minimize the amount of things that you use and throw away, if it doesn’t have to be produced in the first place then it doesn’t have to be discarded.
- Reuse: Most things can be used for different purposes, use what you have to its fullest capacity.
- Recycle: If you are unable to reuse, recycle.
Click here to make your own “Green is the New Black” recycled T-shirt.
The Cre8tiv Mind