Integrated Sustainability Analysis
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Classroom Activities

An understanding of the issues involved in adopting any or all of the suggestions listed on the Excel worksheet "More information" is an important part of the change process. Below are some ideas for class discussion, projects, debates and activities. Most can be adapted to suit a range of age groups.

  • What will happen to our local shopping centre if we adopt some of the suggestions mentioned on the sheet "More information"? How can we help people maintain their quality of life while adapting to the changes needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. What creative occupations can you think of that might supplement (and complement) or take the place of some of the traditional shopping centre ones?
  • What is meant by ‘quality of life’? Organise a class discussion. Invite speakers from the community who may have different views on what ‘quality of life’ means. See the article It’s the Weltanschauung, stupid! by Richard Eckersley in Spectrum, Sydney Morning Herald, August 5, 2000.
  • Develop an argument for more bicycle tracks (local buses; a centralised car pool arrangement; communally owned pick-up-and-drop bicycles etc). Present your argument to members of the local council and the RTA.
  • Investigate existing barter systems. Develop a set of rules and regulations for a barter system of your own. Consider its implications for the taxation system. What would happen if bartering became wide spread? What other changes would there need to be to the way society works to support wide spread bartering?
  • Find out about the Kyoto summit (search the Internet for information). Make links with a school in a developing country and exchange information on the topic of global warming and greenhouse gases. What are major issues for you and what are major issues for your exchange school? You will find the Montage website useful for making links with schools around the world.
  • List ways of spending creative time instead of spending money. Try some of them out.
  • Contact your local council and plant nursery to develop a strategy for planting more trees; plant trees.
  • Investigate the life of a child/young person in a developing country. Identify some of the reasons why emission levels might be low in that country. Compare the child/young person’s lifestyle with your own. Would you swap lifestyles? If not, how can you make things a bit fairer (ie you reduce emissions so that the child/young person growing up in a developing country can have a better quality of life which might mean increased emissions – you might have to discuss first what ‘a better quality of life’ means!)
  • Investigate emission levels in a country with a per capita income similar to ours. Use the Internet or any other means to find out what Greenhouse Gas debates are going on in your chosen country. How do the issues compare with ours? Use e-mail to discuss the issues with students at a school in your chosen country.
  • Hold a class debate: "Global warming has been greatly exaggerated!"
  • Find out about Greening Australia. Join a local branch or form a local branch if none exists.

Dr Joy Murray
School of Physics, A28
The University of Sydney NSW 2006
+61 (0)2 9351-2627,