Sustainability by Education - Project Kick-Off

Jan 01, 2018

Abstract
The goal of this project is to develop, together with a variety of professions (not only engineers), a tangible, exciting & interesting workshop for children in the age between 6 and 16 years (still to be discussed). It will teach and initiate the awareness of the sustainability concept, as an interdisciplinary subject. This workshop will be publicly available for everyone, and it is intended to be used by CommUnity members to go to their former school and to hold this workshop all around the world.


Dear CommUnity, dear visitor,

I am happy to announce and to share my project with you. I have the intention and the hope that you’ll find interest, to participate and to take ownership in this journey! It is something very ambitious, but with our all contribution we will make it happen and we will have the first countable impact in one year from now!

 

WHY should we do it?

In the coming decades, humankind will face one of the most complex challenges in its history: in the second half of the 21st century, we will have to stop emitting CO2 into the atmosphere and give up fossil fuels for ever. Whether or not the goals of the Paris Agreement are achieved, the world between 2050 and 2100 will be very different to the one we were born into and grew up in and it is already showing it is first signs now. Replacing oil and gas with renewable energy sources will not be sufficient. We will be required to make far greater efforts and sacrifices and will have to reimagine our entire culture and way of life, from the design of cities and homes to transport and food.

Sustainable Development Goal 4 - Education:  […] By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.  
http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/education/

Still, in schools all over the world* the subject environmentalism or sustainability is not yet properly taught and therefore, does not prepare ourselves for this inevitable future. We prepare future generations in schools with all the tools they might need later, but missing one of the most essential, which is intended to connect all the loose ends and understand how important it is for every profession to be sustainable.

Sooner or later we have to transform our system in a circle economy, where products will be either, up cycled, remanufactured or recycled. This process requires that every service, product and respective business model incorporates a holistic approach to understanding the implications of each and every step of the value chain. In many branches, recycling is more a retrofit and has not been considered in the design of the product. However, this is slowly shifting, but there is still a long way to go to fully incorporate sustainability by design!

*No question, there are exceptions. A generalisation would and is never fair. The point is, there aren’t yet enough educational steps taken to assure the awareness which is needed in a future world.

 

WHAT can we do?
Will we now go into schools and teach how to separate waste, to switch off the light, or to buy the organic, fair-trade products over other products?

To be honest, no!

This project does not aim into doing this, in a direct way!  The idea is to develop an interactive half-day workshop in which students will understand the fact every action has directly or indirectly, in short, mid or long-term consequences for themselves, the next generation or another society in the world. The student should understand, that we live in a closed system and that we are currently not living in equilibrium with the resources, the environment and more important with other societies in this world. The students' conclusions based on these shall intrinsically motivate to follow a certain way of lifestyle and sensitivity about their impact. From a pedagogic point of view, any other strategy might be seen as too intrusive and might cause no reaction at all. Moreover, it always needs to be kept in mind, that the workshop does not intend to convert students. The provision of context and data, again, shall lead the student to make own decisions. Nevertheless, examples of potential action points can be given.

 

WHERE will it start? Where will it go?
Let’s start with what we have! Ourselves! The CommUnity is an impressive international network of students with strong understanding and passion for sustainability. Moreover, everyone has a different background, grew up differently and more important, in a different place. Everyone can contribute by simply contacting their former school offering to do a workshop with a class. There is a high possibility, that schools might be cooperative when a clear educational approach and methodology is given.

Over time, the workshop will be professionalised, new ideas can lead to variations. It will be great to have it in different languages, appropriately adapted and social-sensitively addressing the audience. The idea is to provide a variation of the workshop at events and get a sponsorship by companies, the income could compensate the cost of holding it on a free basis for public institutions (e.g. orphanage etc.).

In the long term, a registration as an official NGO should be anticipated.

 

HOW will it be taught?
At this point, it needs to be said, that with this opportunity comes also the responsibility. Especially, young kids should never be wrongly influenced. The importance of this workshop being free of branding (e.g. InnoEnergy), bias (developing vs developed countries) or frightening images/facts is very important and needs to be checked throughout the development by different parties.

This part is perhaps the most sensitive, the trickiest, but also the most exciting part of all! the thin line between casual and fun on the one hand, and being informative and serious on the other hand.
Fact is, that the UNESCO already has initiated the development towards an education about sustainability and many governments, institutes and NGOs are working on this.

Literature research and findings of best-practices are the necessary first step. Of course, own ideas will be as important as using known to be successful methods to make improve something great. Keep in mind, we are not competing with anyone only with our expectations.

Depending on the audience, different methods can be taken into consideration. Please, give your input under the Input/Idea section, by naming the method, the age range and the learning outcome.

Language: The language of communication in CommUnity is of course English. Consequently, from early on several versions will be developed. Which languages to start with, depends on the interest. Regardless, the following languages should be provided either in an earlier or later stage of the project: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Chinese, Arabic, Hindustani, Bengali and Tamil. The demand of the workshop will, of course, determine the effort put in translation.

 

WHEN will it start and what can I contribute?
The planning, the research, the drafting of the first workshop will happen right away. However, your help is needed to bounce ideas and also to keep ourselves on this topic. I am fully aware, that this will be completely based on voluntary contribution, but I can promise you, the more you will act, the more I will feel motivated to do and bring this whole project to its success!

The project will have four phases:

Phase 1 - Ideation, literature research
Phase 2 - First draft, “peer-review” from other professions
Phase 3 - Translation, training and first presentations
Phase 4 - Input and improvement

 

ACTION POINTS:
- Please go to the input/idea section and write your thoughts down in the comments down here.
- Every volunteer and every input is welcome, please let me know if you want to actively participate
- Being the initiator does not make me the sole owner of this. I need at least TWO more people who take the ownership as a project manager with me, please contact me in case if you are interested!

 

By Leon Haupt 

1 January 2018


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