When Colin Beavan (aka “No Impact Man”) and his family decided to try living for a year in New York City without doing any harm to the environment (the “No Impact Experiment”), it attracted worldwide media attention. Why all the fuss? Because the Beavans traded their old habits for more environmentally-friendly ones – and figured out that doing so actually made their lives happier, healthier, and more abundant. People started talking about these discoveries, and thousands have tried their own No Impact Experiment.
All this discussion and action made it clear that the No Impact film and book, which document the Experiment, could be powerful tools for environmental education.
This curriculum uses these tools to help middle and high school students explore the effects their everyday behavior has on the environment, their health, and their well-being. It will also challenge students to think about how the systems in our present society influence our lifestyle choices in ways that often are not good for environment. Finally, it will guide students to take action both individually and with others to bring about positive change. This curriculum is different from others because it connects students’ personal experiences with the environment.
Each lesson plan:
The five lesson plans in our environmental education curriculum address the following topics:
Consumption: Examine how advertising affects our consumption habits and consider how we can get what we need in ways that do less harm to the environment. Create an alternative gift registry with items that are non-material, secondhand, homemade, service-oriented (such as “fix my bike”), experiential (such as “take me to a concert”), or that come from companies that are socially and environmentally responsible.
Energy: Take a look at our current system for supplying energy to our homes. Find out how to reduce our daily energy consumption and speak out on the need to have long-term, sustainable energy solutions.
Food: Explore how food choices affect the environment and our quality of life. Develop a plan for one meal that includes only food that is seasonal, local, and unpackaged.
Transportation: Study how improved street design could encourage more students to use active forms of transportation like walking or biking to get to school.
Water: Learn ways to conserve water and minimize the amount of chemicals that we put in our drains.