Teaching sustainability

This site is dedicated to publishing teaching material and study guides for teacher in the humanities and social studies on an upper secondary level who wish to add the concept of sustainabilty to their lessons. On the left you will see several categories that will help you find the type of lesson you need.

This project is the result of the cooperation of three schools, Kópavogur Grammar School in Iceland, Narva Vanalinna Riigikool and Tallinna Õismäe Vene Lütseum in Estonia. The project was funded by EEA grants.

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A summary of he projects has been published in a book available for download in English here and Icelandic here.

Our philosophy

The concept of sutainable development became a popular term in the 1980s. The term is in most cases defined as the need for us not to eploit earth´s resources to the extent that we will be unable to leave the planet to future generations in the same or in a better state we received it. In the recent years sustainability has become an integral part in the national curriculum of Estonia and in Iceland sustainabilty is one of the six pillars of education which the national curriculum is founded. Therefore, teachers in both countries are working hard to impliment the concept in their teaching material.

This has mostly been done in natural sciences such as biology but sustainable development is not only to be tought in the natural sciences, it also has a very important place in the humanities. While the natural sciences provide us with new technologies and inventions that can help us live a more sustainable lifestyle, the role of the humanities is to draw up a vision or a goal of how a more sustainable future should look like. Every human being needs to take a new, more critical look at society and where we it is headed. The purpose of the humanities is to teach stundents how to criticize the norm and offer alternatives.

Economic inequality, a huge topic in many humanities, is also an environmental issue. Since people who are forced to live on a day to day basis can not afford to plan ahead and think about the environmental effect of their action. A field will need to be plowed, even though it will cause erosion later on simply because there is a dire need for food.  

Furthermore, the humanities tackle the concepts that are at the base of unsustainability: Wreckless greed, irresponsable, excessive consumption, disregard for ethical values and many more topics. In order to do this we shouldn´t need to try to live the way we lived centuries ago. This is not the future we want our students to see. A future where we have to give up everthing in modern life is not a future anyone will want to pursue. We should be able to live in a better society and it is our job in the humanities to create the vision of that society.

The role of the humanities in order to make our future more sustainalbe is to make another discourse and another way of approaching every subject. The humanities can work towards changing values, look towards and promote a new discourse that will work for the benefit of both environment and for humanity. Be the architects of the new planet. This is why we have decided to call our project Let´s make a new planet.

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