This is a link to a booklet which is essential reading for teachers in the field of Environmental education aka Education for Sustainability - entitled Environmental Education Activities for Primary Schools (UNESCO - UNEP).
What impresses you about this booklet is its sheer size and the range of topics and activities that it covers - from Wind Energy (creating mock gadgets and models) to Habitats and Wildlife.
What distinguishes Converse Conserve from other sustainability ideas sites is that we wish to encourage children and young people to get involved in their education projects rather than sitting back and being spoon-fed. We don't believe in EfS simply following a 'curriculum of environmental learning' as this can be dull, didactic and too narrow.
At Converse Conserve, we believe education has to be both 'informational' and 'inspirational' noting all the causal drivers that bear on human behaviour: intellectual, functional, moral, sensual, emotional, psychic, sub-conscious drivers. We go further and want older pupils to be involved in creating learning activities for younger students in a way that students feel inspired, and enlivened to act by their engagement with the material.
In the meantime, here is a fun cartoon sourced from Wikimedia commons dating back to 1943 promoting car-pooling obviously at a time of 'fuel rationing'.
Idea for teachers working in the field of Education for Sustainability - get your students thinking, telling stories and drawing pics about how their pets and their gardens can be more environmentally caring.
Our cockatiels have free roam ... we don't keep them caged. We seriously think cockatiels rule.
Lots more ideas on the link above (in green).
How telling green campaign stories draws out empathy in our audience
· Stories are satisfying as they involve a beginning a middle, and an end.
· They help the audience identify with the characters and their situations.
· Stories play a dual role: conveying information whilst also arousing an emotional response, but the story-telling keeps the information at the general audience’s level of understanding
· Stories aren't laden with facts! This is ideal where the audience aren’t receptive to lists and tips, facts and moral strictures!
· With stories, we can raise the characters up to hero-status, which makes the audience think: I want to be that person, I want to do and be like that person (mirror neurons).
. Stories work really well with children (and those of us still in the process of growing up!) Weren't we like sponges - soaking up new stuff when we were children, and story-telling allows us to drop our guards, and be right-brain receptive. Stories work in inspiring environmental change as they arouse sympathy, as well as making sustainability fun, working on our sub-conscious minds and ultimately building up trust, empathy and purpose to convert to action.
How we communicate our green messages is really what this blog and website is all about.
The question on our lips is : how inventive can our green messages be.
Now I always like to make the point that telling a story can work more effectively than some of the more preachey styles environmentalists use. Instead of couching our green message in an article using a more moralistic tone and saying for example, ... we should be doing x or y, we can use a different style ... we did x and it was game-changing.
Indeed the message behind this website is that we can aim for a change of heart, and take a rest from the primary aim of environmentalists bringing about a change of mind in our audience.
A change of heart can come about by anything really inspirational or captivating, by the use of humour (and making sustainability fun), and the drawing out of empathy in our audience. Mirror neurons are aroused by the feel good factor, 'I want to be like that person', when we use common tools employed in the marketing world. Marketing doesn't need to be 'anathema' to green groups. We can be much more instinctive and intuitive about the type of green message we use.
Eco role-modelling and the telling of stories to inspire a change of heart are well-recognised tools in the behaviour change field nowadays. Here's an example of a wonderful video that inspires interest in the campaign subject matter as well as making the audience feel good.
Junior hump back whale gets saved from fishing net and literally does a dance of joy afterwards
These themes are explored throughout this blog, and in my book: Green Spin (Or) Promoting the Green Message
Contributors to Converse Conserve.Com
Nicolle Kuna, Peter Nesbit, (cartoonist) Chris Palmer (film-maker), Jackie Eco (comedienne),
This website is licenced under a Creative Commons