I had a wonderful time visiting the Environmental Systems and Societies students at Citadel High School in Halifax last month. The students had been learning about pollution and investigating its connections to commercialism and consumerism. Investigating concepts from 'The Story of Stuff'.
“We'll be having a Winter Solstice party and 'non-commercial gift-giving exchange' as part of our awareness of the push to buy 'stuff' and a small but thoughtful attempt to take items out of the waste stream to repurpose.” Says teacher Susan Horton. She also planned for a field trip to Hope Blooms and The Tare Shop for students to learn from their community about consumerism and waste.
During my visit, we spent the class time together exploring the global consumption patterns of energy. Although energy is somewhat of an invisible resource, energy waste is just as problematic as the solid waste. We looked at energy efficiency, and how it can be used as a fuel source as we move toward a positive future. We envisioned an economic and environmentally sound behavioural change.
Finally, we made the link: in order for sustainable development to progress we must look at the issues that arise through a critical and holistic lens. We divided into small groups and reviewed various case studies from all around the globe that demonstrate ways energy solutions can lead to social and environmental justice. The groups were asked to read the stories, explore the Sustainable Development Goals, and determine how Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy can be an entry point to lead to progress in many more of the 17 Global Goals.
The students each had the opportunity to present their ideas. We saw energy solutions offering opportunities for knowledge-sharing amongst women, providing safer health care, and alleviating poor yields in agriculture. The discussion was driving home the point that these global issues are deeply complex and require nonlinear solutions. This is an opportunity for creativity, collaboration, and meaningful partnerships in order for us to work together on solutions as a global community.
Engagement Officer/Agente d'engagement scolaire