Week 5 – Environmental Sustainability (Summer 2013)


I am continuing with the podcast this week as my video editing software continues to give me problems. Click on the link below to listen and jump into week 5.

This week we explore the Earth Charter and the various ways in which its principles can be and have been integrated into classrooms and communities. This week also focuses on how to use the outdoors as a learning environment and integrate elements of the natural world into the learning space as a way to understand environmental systems and issues such as the materials economy, climate change, and conservation.

The learning objectives for this week are for you to be able to:

  • Identify ways in which the principles of the Earth Charter are being actualized around the world
  • Calculate your carbon footprint
  • Evaluate different environmental sustainability curricula and lesson plans
  • Think creatively about adapting environmental education curricula for one’s own educational context

Key ideas and terms from this module are: materials economy, Earth Charter, carbon footprint, sustainability

The exercises for this week are:

  • Daily peace actions (Being Present in Beauty)
  • Crowd-sourced, digital photo gallery
  • Talk with your learning partner over the phone by Saturday, August 3rd
  • Contribute to forum 5.1 by Sunday, August 4th @ 12:00pm

Continue reading to see the full outline of this week’s assignments.


Let’s begin with a short message from one of our AU peace educators, Vanessa King…



The Earth Charter was “created by the independent Earth Charter Commission, which was convened as a follow-up to the 1992 Earth Summit in order to produce a global consensus statement of values and principles for a sustainable future. The document was developed over nearly a decade through an extensive process of international consultation, to which over five thousand people contributed. The Charter has been formally endorsed by thousands of organizations, including UNESCO and the IUCN (World Conservation Union) (EarthCharter).”

Click here to continue reading and then post a response to the reflection question at the bottom of that page.



Schools and educators around the world have incorporated the Earth Charter into their teaching and have generated a number of lesson plans, activities and entire curricula around the various principles.  In fact, if you remember from an earlier module, the National Peace Academy’s entire framework for peacebuilding and peacelearning is built around the idea of right relationships expressed in the Earth charter: “…peace is the wholeness created by right relationships with oneself, other persons, other cultures, other life, Earth, and the larger whole of which all are a part.”

Click here to continue reading and then post a response to the reflection question at the bottom of that page.



The Story of Stuff remains one of the most viral videos to have spread across the internet.  Annie Leonard, with the help of some simple animations, talks about the materials economy – how it works, how our consumption patterns feed into it, and the impact is has on our environment.

Click here to continue reading and then post a response to the reflection question at the bottom of that page.



The Global Footprint Network’s carbon footprint calculator is a fun, interactive, and revealing way for people to think about the various things in their lives that impact their carbon footprint. Click on the link above or the image below to take the quiz.

Click here to continue reading and then post a response to the reflection question at the bottom of that page.



Click here to see who you have been partnered with this week.

The theme of this week’s paired discussions is “Earth Charter.” Here are a couple questions to help guide your conversation:

  1. What principle(s) in the Earth Charter most resonated with you and why?
  2. Vanessa Kings’ intro video for this week talked about the “I” in illness and the “We” in wellness. What are some ways that you and your school experience both illness and wellness, in the broadest sense of these words, and do you see the Earth Charter providing any guidance in enhancing wellness and reducing illness? If so, in what ways?



Please contribute to forum 5.1 by Sunday, August 4th @ 5:00pm.

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