New ISTC Publication: Teaching Sustainability with Electronics

Download the document.

Changing perceptions about our place in, and relationship to, the rest of the natural world, is a crucial aspect of fostering sustainable behavior. Worldviews shape decisions. Lack of awareness, confusion, or apathy toward the effects of our actions on the greater system to which we belong, can be seen as the root causes of many of our collective environmental, social, and economic problems — in other words, as threats to sustainability. However, the concept of “sustainability” can seem abstract and complex without context to make it relatable to an individual’s everyday experiences. Electronic devices permeate our society, and serve as a point of interest and familiarity in discussions of sustainability issues. Considering the impacts of the production, use, and disposal of your smartphone, for example, can be more engaging and comprehensible than out-of-context discussions of issues like rainforest destruction, climate change, etc. One of the goals of the Sustainable Electronics Initiative (SEI) at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is to use examination of the product life cycles of electronic devices to teach concepts of sustainability and systems thinking.


Genre Guide: Clifi (Climate Fiction) in YA Lit

Read the full post at YALSA Teen Hub.

Climate fiction (CliFi) books (also known as eco-fiction) are ones that deal with climate change as part of the plot in which the characters struggle to survive. A lot of dystopian novels are clifi books because the breakdown of society is attributed to a catastrophic event like a nuclear war that affects the climate. I wanted to focus here on books where the climatic event was not directly caused by a man-made event like a war, but by nature, for the most part. Not all of these novels are realistic fiction or science fiction; at least one contains fantastical elements as well.

2015 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest

The Endangered Species Coalition (ESC) is pleased to announce our 2015 Saving Endangered Species youth art contest, which is open to K-12 grade students residing in the United States, including those who are homeschooled or belong to a youth/art program. The contest is an integral part of the 10th annual national Endangered Species Day on May 15, 2015. For more background on the contest, including an art lesson plan for teachers and other resources, please visit www.endangeredspeciesday.org.


EPA’s Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging Toolkit

This free toolkit includes a guide (pdf) and a spreadsheet tracking tool (.xsl) to help food service facilities identify and implement opportunities to reduce food and packaging waste, which saves money and reduces environmental impacts.

EPA is also hosting a series of training webinars related to the toolkit. Times are all noon-2 pm CST.


University of Colorado Releases Educational Videos on Water-Energy Nexus and More

The University of Colorado Boulder’s “Learn More About Climate” (LMAC) initiative is part of the Office for University Outreach. The office puts the university’s faculty scholarship and research into the hands of teachers, students, citizens, and policymakers. LMAC’s goal is to extend the university’s vast scientific expertise to create an informed dialog about this critical global issue.

To learn more and access videos and educational tools related to water and climate change, visit: http://learnmoreaboutclimate.colorado.edu/topics/water.

Illinois Food Scrap Coalition releases video on the benefits of composting

This short video from the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition explains what composting is and why it’s important. Excellent resource to use when talking to businesses about the benefits of composting.