Defining Sustainability with Twin Rivers Elementary

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This week at Twin Rivers Elementary, Mrs. Evdokimoff’s class delved into the issue of sustainability. Many students had heard the term thrown around before, but weren’t sure what it really meant. We began with an eye-opening demonstration of how energy resources are shared around the globe. We split the class up to represent the population of the different continents and then handed out candies to each continent to represent the per capita energy usage. We were shocked to see how unfairly these resources are shared! For instance, Linkin, representing sparsely populated North America, ended up with a huge bag of candy to represent per capita energy demand, while 16 students, crammed into Asia were given a measly handful. We all agreed (quite passionately) that this distribution of candy (energy resources) wasn’t fair. It was a great way to begin our discussions of what it means to live sustainably.

We discussed the difference between a NEED and a WANT and realized just how much of our stuff falls into the latter category. We also made the connection that the more WANTS we have in our lives, the bigger our impact or eco-footprint becomes. To live sustainably means to use a fair share of resources and not take more than we need. We realized that everyday choices can have a big impact on the sustainability of our lifestyles. The students had some great ideas for living sustainably and the lesson generated some great discussions.

At the very end of class, we distributed one candy to each person in the class- no one took more than their fair share and we left some candy in the jar for future students- a great example of a sustainable choice!