How to encourage sustainable focus among students and future professionals
University students enroll in courses that enable them to change their future. They want to learn how to make the planet a better place for themselves and for the next generation, including fighting climate change in their personal lives. By following these six steps, education professionals can learn to teach sustainability so that every graduate knows how to address concerns about global warming.
1. Always teach at scale
Climate change is a global problem, which can put people off. They are one person, so what will their individual efforts be good for? Teaching at scale helps students recognize the value of their contributions. Show them how to calculate their carbon footprint and reduce it through lifestyle changes before tackling other ideas that have a bigger impact.
Professors should learn to give students a sustainable orientation by discussing corporate waste and pollution. Finding out that 20 companies account for a third of global emissions makes voting for environmentally conscious political candidates more important. If students use their most powerful constitutional right to support people who know why sustainability matters, future laws will force companies to cut pollution and make a meaningful difference in the war on climate change.
2. Combine lessons with good news
Everyone needs encouragement to keep their focus and passion. As you learn to teach with a sustainable approach, form lesson plans that include discussions of 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 who create a hydrogen truck that would eliminate diesel emissions from transportation. They will not lose heart because they will learn that they are not alone or that they are not fighting a losing battle.
3. Linking climate change to other issues
You can also find out how to teach sustainability to students by making a connection between climate change and other issues they can tackle. In a lesson on environmental pollution, discuss how it decreases drinking water for impoverished communities. Any student who uses their education to launch a career in an industry like marketing can still restore and clean up natural resources like water because they are part of a larger team.
People can make a difference no matter where they work or what they can afford to do. If someone can’t afford a trip to repair communities damaged after major storm systems, or retrofit their home with solar panels, they can still make a difference in their career. Students need to learn about the problems caused by climate change – such as 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 will need resources to help them adopt a greener lifestyle. Any professor or academic professional who wants to know how to teach sustainable development can start by compiling some helpful resources or suggestions.
Students should know how they can shop at online thrift stores rather than unnecessary fast-fashion stores, or compost waste instead of contributing to local landfills. Start with the basics so everyone is on the same page as they progress through more comprehensive resources and lifestyle alternatives.
5. Assign related research projects
Anyone can find out how to give students a sustainable focus by rethinking their semester assignments. Assign research projects with enduring themes so that students individually delve into the data. They will benefit from learning the latest research from experts while learning how to obtain information on their own. They can apply these skills to future environmental issues or concerns and make smarter decisions that are not based on second-hand knowledge or misinformation.
Learning to teach students about sustainability can make it seem like it requires massive changes in your lessons, but it doesn’t. Assign one or two projects and your students will begin to acquire the skills they need to maintain a lasting focus after graduation.
6. Encourage a broader perspective
An interdisciplinary approach to tackling global warming can make students even better at responding to and solving climate crisis issues. They have to educate themselves about the natural sciences, social sciences and political systems to deal with it from all sides.
As you read about how to teach with a sustainable approach, encourage students to take many different types of courses. They will gain a broader perspective which will translate into better ideas and more ways to help the planet.
Learn how to teach students about sustainability
Now that you know how to teach students to be sustainable, use these tips to get started today. Empower young people to acquire research skills, approach problems from all angles and stay encouraged to help them make a positive impact on the failing health of the planet.