Educate for Environmental and Sustainability Literacy

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While we can draw upon past experiences to help us solve the problems of today and tomorrow, the reality is that some of the solutions may not yet exist. All people will need to learn their way towards a sustainable human future. Education is central to a sustainable future.

The unique challenges that define our era—reversing global climate change, mitigating its impacts on vulnerable populations, ensuring equity of opportunity for historically disadvantaged populations, protecting biodiversity, restoring the health of our oceans, viable use of limited natural resources, and developing empathy and respect for cultural similarities and differences—require fundamentally new ways of thinking and acting.

Students who learn to think across subject areas, connecting their learning to real-world problems and solutions, are more likely to understand and care for the complex web of life that supports them and sustains their communities and the planet. Schools and programs that integrate environmental and sustainability literacy effectively can tap into students’ energy and creativity to address complex issues while giving deeper meaning and urgency to the demands of curriculum and assessments. Help your school embrace sustainability and the environment as contexts for deeper learning.

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  • Talk with teachers about the student’s current learning goals and support them by matching sustainability resources to the topics already being addressed in the classroom. Common Core Standards and Next Generation Science Standards include many aspects of sustainability education, though not all

Additional resources3>
  • Read about how other school districts integrate sustainability into their existing curriculum.
  • Take the Center for Green Schools’ Preparing Teachers to Teach Sustainability course to learn about teacher learning and training programs available to support teachers.
  • Learn about Green Schools National Network GreenPrint framework for healthy, equitable, and sustainable schools.
  • Project spotlight

    DeColores Learning Center in Washington, DC

    "The PreK classroom explored lessons from the sustainable intelligence curriculum on Learning Lab. These lessons were used as a starting point for engagement throughout the year, with lessons complementing and extending the center's interest and commitment to sustainability literacy. Our class is part of a Spanish immersion program, so we were very excited to explore the Spanish lessons in Learning Lab."