1.4 Environmental Indicators
I first came across the idea of using and devising environmental indicators from the AP Environmental Science textbook I used by Friedland and Relyea. I explored the concepts and found that cities were using environmental indicators to define their own sustainability plans. Based on this I devised this activity for my own students.
Work in groups and choose five features of our school which you would like to see improve for their environmental sustainability.
Decide which of these features you would like to focus upon.
For this feature now define it as an environmental indicator. To do this answer these questions:
How would you measure this feature?
What time scale would you give to change this?
What would be an acceptable outcome in this time scale?
How could you ensure that the size of this feature changes over time?
Here's an example:
Feature: Food waste
Measurement: - collect all the food waste in a bucket at the end of each lunch time. Measure the mass of the waste. Repeat this measure every day for 3 weeks.
Time Scale: Three months
Acceptable Outcome: 10% reduction in food waste
Measures to ensure it happens:
Survey students to ask why food waste is generated.
Talk to cafeteria staff about ideas for changing this problem.
Make a presentation in assembly about food waste
Ask for student commitment to reduce waste.
Approaches to Teaching
This activity links very well to CAS. Some years I've had the whole class engaging in CAS activities based around this activity, particularly focussing on the school's cafeteria.