We are engaging students to make sustainable choices

my world, my choice! is an educational program to teach students about sustainability and challenge them to grow as leaders in their schools & communities. But why do we do it, and how?

 





Our program

Motivated young professionals and post-secondary students are trained about sustainability and our program to be mentors

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A classroom presentation will be run by the mentors to introduce the concept of sustainability to the students

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Students will participate in an activity based simulation day to further explore sustainability


Teacher selected student teams will work with the mentors on projects to assess the sustainability of their schools and develop new solutions


Teams will attend a recognition and awards ceremony to showcase the ideas by the students in the program

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Why do we teach about sustainability?

As a word that is used so often today, sustainability has many definitions, but simply put, sustainability means 'enough for all, forever'.  That definition sends a striking message about why sustainability is so essential that we all be aware of it, but we need a more thorough explanation to evaluate our effort:

Sustainability enables us to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. We measure our actions through the well-being of interacting economic, environmental and social systems.

It seems like every day we read headlines about economic crunches, environmental pressures, and social challenges. We read that it is economy versus environment, not economy and environment. We want to believe that we have a future, despite these headlines - a bright future. We can, but we have to understand the part we play. This understanding, this literacy, is what we want to pass on to students, to empower them as leaders to reach that bright future.

We want to show students that the choices they make have a lasting impact on our world. Understanding that the environmental, economic, and social well being of our planet are tied together through the choices our society makes every day is the first step to move forward.

 

Our impact

Over 2008-2015, we have run my world, my choice! in four cities. Our first was in Bangalore, India, then in Calgary, AlbertaGuelph, Ontario, and then Lahore, Pakistan. The demographic of Bangalore might be a touch different than Calgary, but whether Indian or Albertan, the message is universal: responsible choices make all the difference no matter what side of the world you are on.

Each city's run of the program has reached several hundred students in multiple schools and inspired them to create projects to reduce their school's footprint such as:

  • community gardens
  • paper and waste management
  • improved use of their school facility
  • real cafeteria lunches

In addition to the students, each project has trained twenty to thirty mentors. Enthusiastic young professionals and post-secondary students - many of whom hadn't had any knowledge of sustainability - learned all about sustainability and grew just as much, if not more, than the students themselves.

We have seen many insightful and inspiring ideas result from these projects, and we will continue to challenge students to become the forward thinking leaders of their generation.



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