Teacher's package, Sustainable Lifestyle


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Inspiring introduction into sustainable lifestyle. The material is targeted for students above 15 years.
What is sustainable lifestyle? Why is it needed and what can I do for it?
Exercise and various links for further reading are also included.

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  • We need to consume basic commodities like water, food and have some clothing and shelter to meet the basic necessities for life. But when we look at our everyday lives and environment, we are surrounded by wide range of commodities and services going beyond the basic needs. Passenger cars, mobile phones and take away lunches seem to be the necessities of modern life. But if we only need a car to get from one place to another, a cell phone to keep in contact and fast food to keep ourselves going, why do we have so many type of cars and phones and different restaurants serving us different types of meals? Consumption choices has become a language which we use to tell about who we are. We may try to separate from or attach ourselves to with a specific group of people. Almost all of us wear jeans, but by choosing a certain style we want to give a certain message. (Or would you take just any type of jeans available at the shop or flea market?) We want to make our own choices, even if the choice is affected by the people, culture and norms of the community around us and the product range available. Whether we like it or not, the consumption patterns need to change since the World can not sustain the current consumption patterns, especially when everyone should have equal opportunities to consume.
  • Policies like the energy-labelling schemes encourage markets to increase the supply of efficient appliances. I.e. Electricity consumption for food storing decreased between 1990 and 2000 in a sample of 26 countries around the world (Reference: IEA/OECD 2003, Cool appliances report, p. 34). And the energy labelling scheme is one reason for this. However, the total demand for electricity in households continues to grow. The global increase of the middle class with purchasing power also means that more households will have more space and increasing number of appliances like several computers, mobile phones, mp3 players, game consoles…and all these consume energy. If the amount of devices keeps increasing like this, how many of them we have in 10 years? And where do we put all the old ones?
  • More facts and maps about distribution of resource use and wealth can be obtained from: http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats “Poverty Facts and Stats”. Consulted 24.7.2009 http://atlas.aaas.org/index.php?part=2 “Population and natural resources”. Consulted 24.7.2009. http://earthtrends.wri.org Country profiles on consumption of resources and energy through link: Energy and resources->Country profiles. Consulted 24.7.2009. http://www.materialflows.net Global maps can be obtained with the visualisation tool of the service on resource use per region or per capita. Consulted 24.7.2009. http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/earth_overshoot_day/ “Earth Overshoot Day”. Consulted 24.7.2009. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19426051.200-earths-natural-wealth-an-audit.html?full=true “Earth’s natural wealth: an audit”. Consulted 24.7.2009.
  • By increasing the resource productivity especially in industrialised countries makes it possible for developing countries to gain their fair share on resources and wealth. Factor 4 means that we use only half the resources to produce double the wealth we produce compared to current state. This should be implemented during the following 50 years in a global scale. In industrialised nations the resource productivity needs to be increased even more. Even Factor 10 has been suggested for the wealthiest since the gap in access to resources and wealth is huge between the richest and poorest. How is it possible to achieve the factor targets? We need technical solutions like low energy housing, transportation systems based on light and public transport as well low emission cars. In addition we need to change our thinking. What makes a happy life? How big homes and cars we need? How many kilometres we travel around each day? How many gadgets we need? Etc. Factor 4 and Factor 10 targets are strategic goals but the Factor concept can also refer to practical solutions in which a certain product can be manufactured with fewer resources. Read more http://www.factor10-institute.org ; questions and answers about Factor Four http://www.wupperinst.org/FactorFour/FactorFour_FAQ.html .
  • Various tools have been developed for different purposes to measure how much resources are required to sustain the current way of living or to measure how much pollution and waste is generated and how these aspects affect the state of the world. Some tools focus on the larger scale, national or international levels and some can be used for rough estimations even on a personal level. Many of us have heard about footprints, which may refer to ecological footprint, carbon footprints or water footprints. Footprint is sometimes used even as a synonym for the environmental burden humans put on the environment. Environmental burden can be measured in various ways but the most important thing on the personal level is to get an idea of what are the major issues to pay attention to in everyday life.
  • Ecological backpack consists of the weight of the natural resources and energy used along the life cycle (raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, usage, disposal). The backpack is usually heavier than the product itself since not all materials used along the life cycle are included in the product in question. The result is indicated in kilograms or tons of natural resources consumed. Why measure ecological backpack? Ecological backpack can be calculated for a single product or service or even a lifestyle. The backpack concept can be used to measure and compare the burden of different practices on the environment. Ecological backpack does not directly measure environmental impacts such as amount of waste and pollution generated. Reducing the material input will also reduce unwanted outputs like waste and pollution because all material extracted from the environment will become waste at some point. How to lighten the weight of an ecological backpack? The weight of the ecological backpack of a product and it’s use, can be decreased by producing the item with fewer resources, making the product long-lasting, decreasing the energy consumption in the use phase, and increasing the life span and number of persons sharing a single product. Lightening one’s personal eco-backpack will be discussed later on in this material. Further reading : http://www.onedidit.com/info/ http://www.wupperinst.org/en/projects/topics_online/mips/index.html http://www.sll.fi/luontojaymparisto/kestava/mips-online-in-english
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle is the good old advice. Recycling is important since primary resources can be saved in new production cycles. But let’s take an example. Sorting biowaste is very important and helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However in the first place it is the most important thing is not to waste food. Dairy, meat and other animal products require lot of resources in the production phase. Less wasted food, less resources needed in production. By the way, have you heard that about one third of food bought in the UK is wasted according to the Love food hate waste campaign? ( http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/ )
  • Products with reliable eco-labels like EU-flower, Blue angel and Nordic Swan provide a range of products that potentially put less pressure on the environment compared to the non-labelled options. By favouring these products you support more environment friendly production practices. Eco-labelled or not the production requires resources and energy. A product with zero impact on the environment does not exist. Just the way too much low-fat food or ”light” food products can still make you overweight, buying too many eco-labelled products can be a too heavy burden on the environment. Sometimes people even increase their consumption when they feel they can do it with a good conscious by buying eco-labelled products. This phenomenon is also called the rebound effect. Another example of rebound effect is fuel efficiency of a vehicle. When efficiency increases and costs for driving decrease, the amount of kilometres might grow.
  • Offset schemes have become quite popular especially to ”neutralise” emissions of air travel. At best the offset schemes support projects that help to develop more energy efficient practices and produce new renewable energy technology. However, what would be the situation if we would have 6 billion carbon spendthrifts on Earth and nobody would like to change their habits but only offset the emissions? The changes towards more sustainable and equal society require questioning our current habits. In addition to offsetting emissions of our flights, driving or energy use at home we need to rearrange our mobility and consumption patterns. How we could actually enjoy our holidays with fewer flight kilometres? We need to find alternatives for private cars. Decrease the energy use for heating or cooling our homes and reconsider how large homes we need.
  • In general food, housing (including energy use at home) and mobility together account for about 70-80 % of environmental burden of private consumption. These must be the priority areas to pay attention. Mobility : Car driving has gained attention because of the greenhouse gas emissions. One thing that is often forgotten is the vast infrastructure required for auto mobility. Public transport uses the infrastructure more efficiently. Also parking facilities take space and resources. When planning for holiday trips, favour train, bus and non-motorised trips to nearby destinations. If you travel far away, make fewer trips but stay for a long time when you travel. Links on Mobility: Transport MIPS The natural resource consumption of the Finnish transport system http://www.ymparisto.fi/download.asp?contentid=79958&lan=en Consulted 24.7.2009. One Planet Mobility: http://www.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/changing_the_way_we_live/transport/index.cfm Consulted 24.7.2009. Ecological backpacks of households: FIN-MIPS Household report http://www.ymparisto.fi/download.asp?contentid=99743&lan=fi Consulted 24.7.2009. Housing and energy use : Switch to eco-labelled electricity produced with renewable resources. Heating and cooling apartments and heating water account for a huge share of household energy use so extra insulation and moderate indoor temperatures during both the hot and cold seasons save energy. In the bathroom and kitchen pay attention to hot water use. You can find many checklist from the Internet about efficient lightning and use of appliances . In the future low energy and passive house technology together with moderate size of dwellings could help to reach factor targets in the housing sector. Links on housing and energy use : Ecological backpacks of households: FIN-MIPS Household report http://www.ymparisto.fi/download.asp?contentid=99743&lan=fi Consulted 24.7.2009. European standard for eco-labelling electricity http://www.eugenestandard.org/ Consulted 24.7.2009. Food : In general meat and dairy products require a lot of resources and energy in the primary production. Use them sparingly. When it comes to vegetarian products, go for seasonal products. Heating greenhouses during the cold season is very energy intensive. Also transporting fresh items from another side of the globe require a lot of resources. However, usually the most resource intensive part of the transportation chain is the one when you take your groceries to home from the shop. Links on food: FAO report Livestock’s long shadow – environmental issues and options ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/A0701E/A0701E00.pdf Consulted 24.7.2009. UNEP report on environmental food crisis http://www.grida.no/_res/site/file/publications/FoodCrisis_lores.pdf Consulted 24.7.2009. Article about the food production chain and environmental burden of different phases with few exemplar products http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/01/22/business/22pepsi.php Consulted 24.7.2009. Article about the role of food miles in the big picture http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/jun/04/lifeandhealth.business Consulted 24.7.2009. Stuff : The question is: what appliances we need to own and which we could share. Laundry service or self service laundry is good example of getting the thing done (laundry clean) without owning the appliance (and without the worries about the maintenance). Items you rarely need you could possibly lend to and borrow from your neighbours and friends. When buying a new item whether it be an electric device, piece of furniture or clothing, choose a product with potentially long lifespan. Or even better, maybe you could buy a second hand item? Of course the best thing is to stick with the things you already have. Links on houshold goods: Ecological backpacks of households: FIN-MIPS Household report http://www.ymparisto.fi/download.asp?contentid=99743&lan=fi Consulted 24.7.2009.   Report on environmental impact of clothing industry http://www.ehponline.org/members/2007/115-9/focus.html Consulted 24.7.2009. Leisure : Minimise the transport related to leisure activities. In many cases the travel related to leisure activities is the most important thing. Go for activities nearby or use public and light transport to travel around.
  • The exercises and topics for discussion on slides 15-19 are suggestions about how to further discuss about the issues. Please feel free to choose the exercises fitting to your classes. You are more than welcomed to use your own exercises too. If you are involved with the Sustainable lifestyle awards pilot project organised by the UNEP/Wuppertal Institute Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production and One did it Ltd. We recommend you to give priority for the exercises proposed in the project plan before taking the exercises listed in this material.
  • Discuss about why we own so many items we never or only occasionally use. What could be the barriers for not borrowing more items? How they could be overcome?
  • Suggestions for further tasks and discussion: Were any of the questions difficult to answer, why? Did the result surprise you, which were the consumption sectors that surprised you? Check the eco-tips. Which tips you are already doing, what you didn’t want to do. Why? Keep a diary about your mobility/eating or waste generation for one week. Did you answer correctly when filling in the test. Also take into account the occasional longer trips (mobility), feasts (food), etc.
  • Apply this to any geographical scale you like. You could also use other devices, lists of magnitude of electricity consumption of different devices can be found from energy companies websites, product descriptions of devices etc.
  • This could be done as a group exercise or homework for instance. Discuss in groups or with the whole class about the suggestions the students came up with: Which actions do you think would have the biggest energy and resource saving potential? Why the actions have not yet been applied? What possible barriers exist?
  • Possible sources and references: National Statistics office http://earthtrends.wri.org Country profiles on consumption of resources and energy. See: Energy and resources->Country profiles. Consulted 24.7.2009. http://faostat.fao.org/site/368/default.aspx Food balance sheets. Per capita consumption of foodstuffs in different regions of the Earth. Consulted 24.7.2009. Discuss about the reason for the changes. You could also compare the figures with another country.
  • Teacher's package, Sustainable Lifestyle

    3. 3. <ul><li>What is actually consumption? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we consume? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>clean water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>air </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>food </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>clothing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>electronics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>etc. </li></ul></ul>v TEACHER’S PACKAGE
    4. 4. We use more efficient technologies than before. So why does the energy consumption of households still keep on growing? 1970' 1980' 1990' 2000' v TEACHER’S PACKAGE
    5. 5. <ul><li>We all wish to have a happy life with certain social and material needs met. However, </li></ul>(World Bank Development Indicators 2008) the wealthiest 20 % of the World’s population are responsible for almost 80 % of the consumption v TEACHER’S PACKAGE
    6. 6. <ul><li>To ensure equal rights for everyone to live happy life we need more wealth from fewer resources </li></ul><ul><li>Factor 4: </li></ul>Resource use Wealth 1/2 X2 v TEACHER’S PACKAGE
    7. 7. <ul><li>To reach targets and monitor progress, we need to measure where we stand. </li></ul><ul><li>Ecological backpack is one tool to for this. </li></ul>v TEACHER’S PACKAGE
    8. 8. What is ecological backpack? <ul><li>Ecological backpack consists of the weight of the natural resources and energy used along the life cycle </li></ul><ul><li>Raw materials </li></ul><ul><li>Manufacturing </li></ul><ul><li>Transportation </li></ul><ul><li>Usage </li></ul><ul><li>Disposal </li></ul><ul><li>The backpack is </li></ul><ul><li>usually heavier than </li></ul><ul><li>the product itself. </li></ul>v TEACHER’S PACKAGE
    9. 9. But how do I know what is relevant? SO I GOT THE IDEA AND WANT TO DO SOMETHING v TEACHER’S PACKAGE
    10. 10. <ul><li>Do you recycle? </li></ul><ul><li>Great, it is a good start but… </li></ul>… the most important thing is to save natural resources and prevent waste. v TEACHER’S PACKAGE
    11. 11. <ul><li>Do you buy eco-labelled </li></ul><ul><li>products? </li></ul><ul><li>Good choice but </li></ul><ul><li>is it enough? </li></ul>v TEACHER’S PACKAGE
    12. 12. <ul><li>Do you offset your carbon emissions? </li></ul><ul><li>Great way to support </li></ul><ul><li>development of </li></ul><ul><li>clean and efficient energy use. </li></ul><ul><li>But is this the way out? </li></ul>v TEACHER’S PACKAGE
    13. 13. <ul><li>What to do for one’s personal eco-backpack? </li></ul>Mobility Housing and energy use Food Stuff Leisure time v TEACHER’S PACKAGE
    15. 15. <ul><li>Think about the goods you own </li></ul><ul><li>Think about: </li></ul>Which three items you could do with out? 1. 2. 3. Which three items you couldn’t do without? 1. 2. 3. Which three items you could borrow? 1. 2. 3. TO-DO v TEACHER’S PACKAGE
    16. 16. <ul><li>Take the One Did It test to find out your personal ecological backpack and discuss the results. </li></ul>www.onedidit.com TO-DO v TEACHER’S PACKAGE
    17. 17. <ul><li>Small savings can contribute to large savings when many people take the </li></ul><ul><li>action together. </li></ul><ul><li>If every member of your class would turn TV of for 10 hours, how much would you save together? </li></ul><ul><li>What about your whole school or the city where you live in? </li></ul>Producing one kWh of electricity in the OECD countries consumes approximately 1,55 kg’s of non-renewable resources. With one kWh you can keep the TV on for about 10 hours. TO-DO v TEACHER’S PACKAGE
    18. 18. <ul><li>Prepare a list of actions you could take at home or which could be done at your school to save energy and natural resources. </li></ul>TO-DO v TEACHER’S PACKAGE
    19. 19. <ul><li>Find out how the consumption of resources </li></ul><ul><li>has changed during the last 20 years or so. </li></ul><ul><li> energy foodstuffs </li></ul><ul><li> water etc. </li></ul><ul><li> natural resources </li></ul><ul><li>Check both the total and per capita figures. </li></ul>TO-DO v TEACHER’S PACKAGE
    20. 20. Further reading and links <ul><li>http://www.storyofstuff.com/ animation about production cycles of stuff and consumer culture </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.dothegreenthing.com/ ”inspires people to lead a greener life” </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.foe.co.uk/living/tips/tips_list.html list of green tips by Friends of the Earth </li></ul>TO-DO v TEACHER’S PACKAGE
    21. 21. <ul><li>Material provided by: </li></ul>www.scp-centre.org www.onedidit.com v TEACHER’S PACKAGE