Climate change, sustainability 


45-60 mins

Learning objectives:

In the face of a climate crisis, sustainable living is a crucial goal for societies around the globe. This activity supports learners to think critically about what it means, and what we can do, to live sustainably. Learners will:
• Explore the current and future global challenges our world faces.
• Gain an understanding of the 3 pillars of sustainability.
• Creatively design for a future society that tackles some of the challenges our world faces.

Description of the learning process and activities:

This activity is an exploration into sustainable living and current and potential future challenges our world faces, how we can come together to tackle these challenges as local communities and a global society. 
1. The challenges we face
1.1 Challenges we see in media
This is the hook for the lesson so give plenty of time for learners to talk and become invested in each other’s thoughts.
• Ask the group the question presented on the slide “What is your current favourite movie/book/tv show or piece of media?” Allow each member of the group time to say their answer.
• Ask the group if they see any pattern in the answers provided, do they have anything in common. In most of the shows you will see that the main character(s) have faced some type of challenges and throughout the show they try to make it right.
• Discuss what happens in one of their shows, or choose your own favourite show to speak about.

1.2 Challenges of the future
Through open discussion or a whiteboard tool, ask learners to come up with the biggest challenges we face for our future.
• Allow them to examine the answers and see if there are any overlaps or patterns in them? Is there a way that we could group them?
• Optional activity: Pick one of the challenges given (it might be the most frequent) and list the things (sub-topics, sub-challenges) that contribute to this?
— E.g. Challenge given: Climate Change. Subtopics: Land Use, Education, Paris Agreement, Clean Energy, The Ocean, Fossil Fuels, Biodiversity Loss, Justice and Laws

1.3 Global risks
There is a group, whose job is to look at what could be the biggest challenges of the future, and to plan strategically for them. They are called The World Economic Forum.
• This is what they think are the highest risks the world faces (show slide 5 )
• ‘By likelihood’ means how likely these things are to happen, therefore it’s most likely that the biggest challenge the world will face in the future is extreme weather (eg. extreme flooding and record high temperatures).
• By impact means how much devastation they could cause. Therefore although infectious disease might not be as likely as extreme weather, if it does happen it will be the most devastating and difficult to deal with.
• Discuss how similar or different they are to previously given answers. Now change the slide to the connection map

2. Living for the future
2.1 The 3 Pillars of Sustainability
Ask the question “Does anybody know what sustainability means?” Allow the class 5 minutes to Think/Pair/Share. Gauge the learners previous knowledge of sustainability.
This will inform how fast or slow to move on the next couple of slides.

2.2 What does sustainability mean?
Discuss the following with your learners.
• When we think about sustainability, we need to think of these 3 things.
— Environmental Preservation: Keeping our environment safe and strong
— Social Equity: Keeping our society fair for all
— Economic Viability: Keeping our economies functioning.
• In 1983 sustainability was defined in the Rutland Report “Sustainable development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”
– Rutland Report 1983
• A simple way of thinking about this is, do what you need to do without harming anyone else.

2.3 Living Sustainably
Here are some videos to watch. They show different approaches to being sustainable.
• Living Waste Free 
• The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
• Lobster Plastic
Once you watch two or three of the videos you can ask the following questions to prompt a class discussion.
• Do you think any of these methods are sustainable? Why/Why not?
• Is there anything that they can do to improve?
• Do you think this is available for everyone?
• What else can we do to live sustainably?

3. Design a sustainable city for the future
""The year is 2321, the earth is a very different place. You and your team must design a sustainable city where future generations can live peacefully. Now you are in charge! You all get to make the decisions, and we want you to design a city for the future”
• Use pens and paper, crafts, or presentations with pictures or lego or arkit.
• Your design must balance the 3 pillars of sustainability. Therefore think of the elements that keep your city environmentally friendly (its nature is protected), social (there are things for people to do and enjoy), and economical (brings in money).
• Be creative, think outside the box, don’t be afraid to get wild and wacky with your ideas.
— The class will be split into 5 groups.
— Depending on the number of learners, you can increase or decrease the group number.
— Each group will be provided with a scenario/brief below that will inform their build.
— It is each group’s job to read their brief and design their city. They must decide where the city is located, and create amenities, work, travel, resources etc.
— They must have a city name, flag and a motto. Think about what the goals are for your society?
— Optional: After the build, assign each group a pillar (environment, social, economic), they can grade the other groups out of 5.

Other organisations involved:

This activity session was developed by Trinity College Dublin, OSHub Ireland.

Resources required:

Presentation slides:
Options for Design Section (Part 3)
• Option 1: Large paper (A2) / Pens, pencils or markers to draw or colour
• Option 2: Large paper (A2), magazines and glue for collage
• Option 3: A computer with internet connection for each group

Other remarks:

This activity is part of the project OSHub Empowering citizens through STEAM education with open schooling. The Open Science Hub (OSHub) project worked with schools to bring science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) education to the communities, as a tool for their sustainable development. Their aim was to inspire, empower and engage citizens – from school children to senior citizens. It engaged schools in tackling challenges faced by their local communities through collaborations among local enterprises, local schools’ researchers and social innovators. By forming a network, OSHub helped schools become actively involved as agents for collaboration between civil society, enterprises, research institutes and community. Each OSHub in the network was co-led by local schools so students, teachers and principals participated in the development and implementation of activities.