How to encourage a sustainable focus in college students and future professionals
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
University students sign up for classes that empower them to change their futures. They want to learn how to make the planet a better place for themselves and the next generation, including combating climate change in their personal lives. By following these six steps, education professionals can learn how to teach sustainability so every graduate knows how to address concerns regarding global warming.
1. Always Teach to Scale
Climate change is a global problem, which can make people feel discouraged. They're only one person, so what good will their individual efforts do? Teaching to scale helps students recognize the value of their contributions. Show them how to calculate their carbon footprint and reduce it through lifestyle changes before addressing other ideas that have a more significant impact.
Professors should learn how to give students a sustainable focus by discussing corporate waste and pollution. Finding out that 20 firms cause a third of global emissions makes voting for environmentally mindful political candidates more important. If students use their most powerful constitutional right to support people who know why sustainability is important, future laws will make corporations reduce their pollution and make a significant difference in the war against climate change.
2. Combine Lessons With Good News
Everyone needs encouragement to retain their focus and passion. As you learn how to teach with a sustainable focus, form lesson plans that include discussions surrounding upcoming national policy changes or other positive news regarding climate change.
Students need to hear that like-minded people are making a difference, like the scientists creating a hydrogen-powered truck that would eliminate diesel emissions in transportation. They won't lose heart because they'll learn they're not alone or fighting a losing battle.
3. Relate Climate Change With Other Problems
You can also discover how to teach students sustainability by relating climate change to other problems they can tackle. In a lesson on environmental pollution, discuss how it decreases drinkable water for impoverished communities. Any student who uses their education to launch a career in an industry like marketing can still restore and clean natural resources like water because they're part of a bigger team.
People can make a difference no matter where they work or what they can afford to do. If someone can't pay for a trip to fix damaged communities after major storm systems, or upgrade their home with solar panels, they can still make a difference in their career. Students must learn about the problems caused by climate change — like water pollution or food scarcity — to find jobs that create environmental solutions.
4. Demonstrate Lifestyle Alternatives and Resources
Once young people understand why sustainability is important, they'll need resources to help them live a greener lifestyle. Any professor or academic professional who wants to know how to teach sustainability can start with compiling helpful resources or suggestions.
Students should hear about how they can shop at online thrift stores instead of wasteful fast-fashion boutiques, or composting waste instead of contributing to local landfills. Start with the basics so everyone is on the same page as they progress through more extensive resources and lifestyle alternatives.
5. Assign Related Research Projects
Anyone can discover how to give students a sustainable focus by rethinking their semesterly assignments. Assign research projects with sustainable themes so students dive into the data individually. They'll benefit by learning the most recent research from the experts while learning how to source information for themselves. They can apply these skills to future environmental questions or concerns and make smarter decisions that don't rely on secondhand knowledge or misinformation.
Learning how to teach students sustainability may feel like it requires massive changes to your classes, but it doesn't. Assign one or two projects and your students will start forming the skills they need to retain a sustainable focus after graduation.
6. Encourage a Broader Perspective
An interdisciplinary approach to addressing global warming can make college students even better at responding to and solving climate crisis issues. They need to learn about natural sciences, social sciences, and political systems to address it from all sides.
As you read about how to teach with a sustainable focus, encourage students to take numerous types of classes. They'll gain a broader perspective that results in better ideas and more ways to help the planet.
Learn How to Teach Students Sustainability
Now that you know how to teach college students to be sustainable, use these tips to get started today. Empower young people to form research skills, approach problems from every perspective, and stay encouraged to help them make a positive impact on the planet's wavering health.
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