Living Sustainably


A cross-curricular enrichment resource for students and teachers to learn about managing the causes and effects of climate change


A co production partnership has been formed between,International Classrooms On Line and the Bellamy Fund to promote rescuemissionplanetearth. People can interact to build an intergenerational global network for living sustainably with pictures and comments on Tumblr.

The following link is to a mind map of the UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform which is being used to carry the international perspective.

This sitei is the latest outcome of the ideas and practical efforts of Welsh teachers and academics, who over the past four decades have promoted a cross-curicular and hitherto subversive educational framework for living sustainably. This framework and its delivery have changed with advances in computer assisted learning. The timeline of these efforts has been summarised in the pdf file attached to this page. A key development in this timeline is the formation of SCAN, a schools and communities Agenda 21 network to bring action planning for living sustainably to the centre of the curriculum. This is the educational theme of 'Our Place in Nature'.

Living sustainably involves a person’s life-long relationship to planet Earth and the resources available in nature and culture, which is used for his/her economic betterment. It has a different definition for each of its adherents, but the basic concept requires adopting a year on year action plan for living in way that stabilises social relationships and leaves natural resources to benefit future generations. An explanation for livng 'unsustainably' connot be provided by citing “consumerism” while ignoring the role played by education and rival producers in shaping public taste and guiding public purchasing power.The big question for the future of humanity is can one live sustainably in an ever-growing global economic system based on money. Aside from the material costs involved, most people who are benefiting from economic growth do not want to change their behaviour and “live simply.” They do not want to diminish their freedom to travel or their access to culture, or to scale down needs that often serve to enrich human personality and sensitivity. However, to reach the goal of living sustainably, people must not only consume material resources that are renewable and take a positive stance by helping to replenish them. Nor can public concern for the environment be addressed by placing the blame on growth without spelling out the causes of growth and alternative ways of enriching community. The cultural envelope of living sustainably has to embrace social cohesion, which wherever feasible should be based on non-monetary relationships driven by the voluntary exchange of skills and services.

It is acknowledged by many that living sustainably is fundamentally a complex ethical issue. It therefore entails questions of values, fairness and justice. How fair are the suggested behavioural norms and policies? Do they treat different market actors in different sectors of society in the same way? What is the fair share of each actor? In a recent EU campaign against climate change, called You Control Climate Change, consumers are urged to take responsibility by turning down the thermostats in their homes, switching off their appliances, recycling and walking. Consumers are informed that if they make these small changes to their daily routine, they can achieve significant reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions. These measures are then justified by arguing that households are responsible for around 20% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. A critical green consumer may quite rightly ask: who is responsible for the 80% of the greenhouse gas emissions? And how are they taking responsibility? The idea of ‘controlling the climate change’ by shivering with cold in one’s own home, in particular, may sound unfair, when one knows that the climate change is largely ‘controlled’ and generated elsewhere in other sectors of society – even more so when, for example, some large transnational companies are known to expend a considerable amount of energy in aggressively challenging climate science, and lobbying against international protocols.

How we behave is determined by many factors. Individual behaviours are deeply embedded in social situations, institutional contexts and cultural norms. Consumers often find themselves ‘locked in’ to unsustainable behaviours by a combination of habit, disincentives, social norms and cultural expectations. Consumer behavior is commonly perceived to be driven by rational decision-making based on individual preferences. In reality, the situation is far more complex, with social norms, cultural traditions, habits, and many other factors shaping our everyday consumption behavior. Understanding consumption necessitates knowledge of sociology, psychology, anthropology, and behavioral science, in order to appreciate the socio-cultural, social, psychological and political contexts in which consumer behavior is embedded. These disciplines offer rich and complex explanations of human behavior, which in turn illuminate the discussion on how consumer behavior can be made more sustainableand the role of politics in bringing about this change. From all these points of view an understanding of living sustainably requires making a cross-subject educational framework or concept map, which makes connections to community from the inputs of politics, economics and the behavioural and environmental sciences. It is also necessary to take a cross-cultural international viewpoint to learn about the ethics and values of living in a finite global ecosystem, where every decision we make can have widespread ecological effects far beyond the neighbourhood. These are the salient features of an international syllabus of cultural ecology. However, there is no way that this can be promoted in schools or universities because it would have to displace 'traditional subjects' maintained by vested interests of teachers and academics who are the products of an educational system designed to support unlimited economic growth.

Learning about global issues.pdf
SCAN timeline.pdf
wikis in e-learning.pdf