Earthday.org has a quiz that is specifically targeted at kids. As part of a larger unit about climate change, I had my fifth grade students take the online quiz, and here are some of the questions it garnered:
“Why does it ask me how much I spend on clothes?”
“Don’t most people have free-standing houses?”
“Why does it make a difference where my food comes from?”
These are big picture questions. They are questions that require deep-thinking and likely do not have one answer. I did not think of it in this way until I was reading a study from California where first-year university students were taught in a similar way, by learning about their own EF. The researchers found that when taught about climate change with only the scientific premise of the idea,students showed far less understanding than when they were taught about the social and personal implications of their actions and how they affect climate change. This is an excellent example of how education for sustainability is multi-faceted and includes more than environmental learning.
Although, EF calculators are limited and inherently flawed in their thinking, (Franz & Papyrakis, 2011) they can be useful tools in introducing students to the idea that their life-style choices affect not only their individual health and well-being, but the overall health and well-being of the global community. +
- E. Cordero, Anne Marie Todd, and D. Abellerra. "Climatechange education and the ecological footprint" Bulletin of AmericanMeteorological Society (2008): 865-872. doi:10.1175/2007BAMS2432.1+
- Franz, J. andPapyrakis, E. (2011), Online calculators of ecological footprint: do theypromote or dissuade sustainable behaviour?. Sust. Dev., 19: 391–401.doi:10.1002/sd.446+
- Gottlieb, D., Vigoda-Gadot, E.,Haim, A., & Kissinger, M. (2012). The ecological footprint as an educationaltool for sustainability: A case study analysis in an Israeli public high school. InternationalJournal of Educational Development (32) 1, 193-200.
- Rees, W.E. (1992) Ecological footprint and appropriated carrying capacity: whaturban economics leaves out? Environment & Urbanization, 4(2) pp. 121–130+
- Sawchuk, J., &Cameron, T. (2000). Measuring your school's ecological footprint.GreenTeacher, (61),14-19. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/228739836?accountid=9874+
- Wackernagel, M. & Rees, W.E. (1996) Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth (firsted.)New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada (1996)+