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Educational Resources

Students around the world learn about the Ecological Footprint
in elementary, secondary, and university classrooms.

EUSTEPs Module

The EUSTEPs (Enhancing Universities’ Sustainability TEaching and Practices) module, available for free in four languages, embraces a hands-on, experiential, interdisciplinary approach to sustainability teaching. The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network selected EUSTEPs as an innovative and inspiring project for inclusion in the 2021 Accelerating Education for the SDGs in Universities guide.

“Learning about Ecological Footprint really opened up my mind on available tools to measure our pressure on the planet. … The [EUSTEPs] module helped me reflect not only on my daily choices, but also on the possibility to use the Ecological Footprint as an instrument to raise awareness and engage other people, too.”

SARA GALENTINO, Ph.D. student, Sustainable Development and Welfare, University of Ferrara (Italy)

Footprint Explorer Open Data Platform

Our Ecological Footprint Explorer opens up our National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts data for anyone to explore and download. Updated every year, the National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts track human demand and nature’s capacity to meet that demand for more than 200 nations. Educators can use the data platform in lesson plans on sustainability as well as statistics.

Footprint Calculator

From sociology to ecology, students in a wide variety of classes are assigned to use our online Calculator to measure their personal Ecological Footprints, discover their biggest areas of resource consumption, and learn what they can do to tread more lightly on the Earth. It’s now available in eight languages and works on mobile devices!

Education Blog Posts

Curriculum & Courses

Lessons for different educational levels and ages

Ecotourism Course

IUCN Med, Global Footprint Network and the MEET Network, with support from MAVA Foundation, developed a free online course teaching the participatory process of creating ecotourism experiences in and around Mediterranean Protected Areas. Course attendees are also introduced to the concept of the Ecological Footprint and learn how it is used to support ecotourism development and monitoring.

Footprint Futures Module

Footprint Futures is a university-level teaching module for exploring the sustainability challenge facing human economies. The module consists of a student-driven exploration into what the optimal scale of material demand is for a national economy, using real country examples. More specifically, it asks: What would be a given country’s optimal Footprint compared to the country’s biocapacity by 2050?

Understanding Sustainable Living

The World’s Largest Lesson is a collection of lesson plans and other teaching resources related to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals approved by world leaders in 2015 to to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and stem climate change. The Understanding Sustainable Living lesson was developed for ages 11-14 to address goal #12, Responsible Consumption and Production. The lesson plan features the Footprint calculator and profiles of four children around the world for class discussion.

Activities

Hands-on activities and videos to learn about the Ecological Footprint, climate change, and what we can do to create a sustainable planet.

The Fish Game

You have 10 days to catch as many fish as you can. The money you make from these fish will need to support your family for the next month. Each fish nets $2. The Fish Game, created by the Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, helps kids and adults better understand resource constraints and sustainability. Play the game online and find out how to make the most out of your resources!

More Fun Activities

Footprint Drawing: Suggest ways to reduce your Ecological Footprint in a drawing like the one by a seventh grader at left.

Recycling Game: Play a game and learn the basics of recycling.

Videos

Watch videos about the Ecological Footprint, climate change, natural resources, and more. Our curated collection features a TEDx talk, Bill Nye, Concerned Kittens, and National Geographic Kids.

Population Conversation

Population is a particularly challenging and sensitive topic, but if presented well, discussing the population factor can be an empowering and engaging learning opportunity. We created materials for engaging classroom discussions, starting with voices from around the world addressing the question “should we even discuss population?” The voices are complemented with an in-depth essay, which strengthens teachers’ background on the topic and includes a list of questions to stimulate classroom conversations. For the more mathematically inclined, we produced a downloadable population cohort calculator sheet to project population change.

Additional Resources

Resources from Germany

Create your own classroom activity and tell us about it so that we can share it with our community!