Whole Community Approaches to Sustainability Education

Event Type: 
Location / Venue: 
Wanganui

Whole Community Approaches to Sustainability Education

This workshop explores two recently developed programmes aimed at engaging all learners within a community in sustainability education, and developing networks of organisations involved in aspects of resource conservation, health, education and community. The two programmes are described below.

1) The Little House That Could (TLHTC) is a model for whole community
sustainability education based on eco-renovation and permaculture food
production. It engages school children from the earliest grades all
the way through senior citizens with local, tangible, affordable and
realistic approaches to ecological, economic and social
sustainability. The programme emphasizes ecological literacy,
thermodynamic literacy and financial literacy.

At the primary school level, teachers are trained in high quality
cross-curricular approaches to topics such as solar energy, growing
food, recycling and composting. At the intermediate and high school
levels, teachers are encouraged to get students to "think globally and
act locally" through systems thinking exercises and carefully planned
field trips to TLHTC site. Adult education includes hands-on workshops
on passive solar design, energy efficiency, solar cooking,
permaculture design and low-input/high-productivity gardening. And
TLHTC reaches older residents with less mobility through PowerPoint
presentations at seniors clubs and rest homes. On a global scale,
TLHTC maintains an educational blog, a Facebook page and Twitter
account.

Every community on Earth has a run down house with a yard full of
weeds. Therefore, every community could be a TLHTC community. Through
online networking and sharing, we just might achieve a Little Planet
That Could. This programme holds great promise due to it's low costs
and high quality and effectiveness.

2) WCHA RCEN "Wacha reckon?"

Whole Community Holistic Approach to Resource Conservation & Education Now

WCHA RCEN is a model for maximizing community resilience to ecological, economic and energy instability caused by external forces. It consists of a supportive network of local organizations involved in any aspect of sustainability, education, health or community. WCHA RCEN seeks to recognize and maximize potential beneficial relationships between member groups regarding low-cost, effective, high quality approaches to resource conservation and education. The fundamental belief of this model is that communities can be richer, healthier, and more sustainable both now and in the future through committed and coordinated efforts in resource conservation education.

From young children to seniors, every member of a community uses resources. From young children to seniors, every member of a community can be a learner. Information is power. Information can save power. Warm, dry energy-efficient homes and backyard veggie gardens are where health, economy and ecology meet. Where they go from there is only limited by a community committed to the highest ideals of sustainability and a wary eye toward a potentially volatile future.