Relating Eco and Carbon Footprints to the Seven Concepts of ESD

Citizenship and Stewardship – Students can only become good stewards of the environment if they understand the consequences of their own lifestyle choices. Eco and carbon footprints give students a chance to examine if they are good stewards of the environment or if there is room for improvement.

Sustainable Change – Many of the eco and carbon footprints featured on this website (e.g. http://www.cat.org.uk/carbongym/carbongym.tpml?section=reception) give students the opportunity to examine options for making changes to their individual actions which will lead to sustainable change.

Needs and Rights of Future Generations – Using eco and carbon footprints leads to discussion and debate about best and worst case scenarios in the future which can include examining the impact of today’s actions on future generations.

Interdependence and Diversity – After examining the student’s eco or carbon footprint learning could focus on specific consequences, such as the impact global warming would have on flora, fauna and human society.

Uncertainty and Precaution – Eco and carbon footprint calculators (e.g. http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/fun/370863) which give students the chance to show how small changes made in their own and their family’s decision making, can illustrate the precautionary principle. This also gives students the opportunity to see that planning for an uncertain future need not mean that their quality of life will suffer.

Quality of Life, Equity and Justice – The difference between needs and wants is illustrated well by examining the eco and carbon footprints from countries at differing levels of development from around the world.

Comparing Eco Footprints Around the World

WWF produce a ‘Living Planet Report’ which examines the state of the world. Follow this link to the latest report where you will find, on pages 4 and 5, some well laid out and easy to interpret graphs and a map to spark debate and discussion in your classroom http://www.panda.org/downloads/general/LPR_2002.pdf.

As more and more schools around the world send in their own results you will be able to view them here.