SISL > Teaching Activities > The Urgent Need For Understanding and Implementing Sustainability

The Urgent Need For Understanding and Implementing Sustainability

This page authored by Walt White, Oakland Community College, partially based on the website
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Through the following activities obtained from website you will learn the following:
1) Read the definition of sustainability (under "How To Become More Sustainable)
a) A perspective based on CO2 emissions (carbon footprint)
b) What are the big contributors to these emissions
2) The top 10 easy ideas to reduce these emissions
3) Play a fun quiz game that will inform, increase, and test your knowledge of various activities that contribute to our emissions, "Are you a sustainability Guru?

4) Promote class participation by asking them the answers to the following questions which are contained in the quiz:

a) What is the average fuel economy of the average new vehicle sold in North America? Ans. 20 mpg.

b) What power source is being used increasingly by individuals in poor or war-torn, countries that do not have a reliable central electrical grid. Ans. Solar

c) Which wood is generally considered most sustainable? Ans. Bamboo

d) How long would it take a Styrofoam cup to biodegrade? Ans. Never

e) How much world grain is used to feed livestock? Ans. 40%

f) What is the best way to dispose of organic waste from your home? Ans. Composting which can reduce landfill waste by 33 to 50%

g) Compact fluorescent light bulbs typically use 75% less electricity than incandescent bulbs. The one downside is they contain a small amount of which harmful chemical? Ans. Mercury, which should be recycled properly?

h) What is the fastest growing form of renewable energy. Ans. Wind, which presently only accounts for 0.05% of global energy

I) Which type of animal farming requires the highest input of energy input for the amount of protein produced? Ans. Beef, 54/1

J) How many liters of water are required to produce one liter of bottled water? Ans. three liters

5) Join and collaborate with other members through the sustainability challenge in reducing our environmental impact

Learning Goals

Prepares students to build effective coalitions

Engages students in civil discourse/ communications that lead to more effective decisions

It advances students' literacy around sustainability issues.

Encourage self-reflection and personal development of their voice for solving societal challenges

Promote creative visioning around sustainable futures

Context for Use

This activity works well in a computer lab or other class rooms where individual computers are available and and have internet access. This is a fun introductory activity for students with some idea of what sustainability is and have computer skills. It can be done as a class or individually.

Description and Teaching Materials is a community, a set of tools and a lot of information all geared toward helping everyone become more personally sustainable. It allows you to communicate/collaborate with others about you ideas to become more sustainable.


The scores on the quiz are good indicator of how much the student is learning. Each time they do the multiple choice quiz they get feedback as to what the correct answer is thus new learning takes place. Also the class discussion on the ten questions will help assess learning from the quiz.