The ecological footprint calculator is a well-known and readily available tool that can be easily integrated into a lesson related to sustainability. This method involves students completing their own personal eco-footprint and also allows for collaborative group work in order to develop strategies to overcome unsustainable practices.
Ecological footprint can be used as a discussion, assignment or both. This method can look at energy use and efficiency, conservation and climate change, thereby allowing a considerable scope for integrating sustainability into the classroom. This method can firstly look at the concept of what an ecological footprint is and why it is so relevant in today’s society. If time permits this could present an opportunity to compare countries that have better eco-ratings to those that are less sustainable.
- Each individual student should complete an online Ecological Footprint calculator http://www.myfootprint.org/ . If the online option is not available an alternative paper calculator can be used (CTEnergyEducation.com )
- In groups of 3-4 compare results and compile the main findings as one general report
- As an entire group identify what actions can be taken in order to decrease the ecological footprint. This can be completed as part of a classroom exercise or can be extended and used as a coursework assignment.
National Geographic offers a comprehensive footprint atlas that could set the scene for a very interactive lesson on the human footprint from a global perspective. This could be used as engaging stimulus or offer a more comprehensive overview of global challenges