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Environmental and Urban Change

The following resources will provide instructors with materials to support, introduce and infuse the SDGs into their Environmental and Urban Change lessons.

  • Read Geomedia by Michael John Long. Three chapters form Part 3 of the guide Engaging STEM: A Guide to Interactive Resources. The author provides practical OER resources such as interactive maps, sample activities, guiding questions and teaching guides on how to use geomedia projects in the classroom.
  • Visit the SDG Academy Library for free, open educational resources. Content can be searched by language, SDG, series and subject.

  • Visit the Wakelet SDG page for lesson plans, links, videos, student challenges, activities, infographics and tasks for all of the 17 SDGs.

Instructor Experiential Education Example

Michael J. Long, MES, LLM

Contract Faculty, LAS and SHTM, George Brown College

Faculty Advisor, Sustainability Squad

George Brown College
Programming Team, 

Planet in Focus Int'l Environmental Film Festival

Across my courses, I teach about the three pillars of sustainability -- Environmental, Economic-Political, and Socio-Cultural.

In an effort to explore the intersections of sustainability and culture, I took my students in the General Arts and Science (GAS) program, on a field trip to the Bata Shoe Museum, from which I lectured and we toured the 'Future Now: Virtual Sneakers to Cutting Edge Kicks' exhibit.

The 'Future Now' exhibit focuses on how innovation in technology, materials, and ideas in sneaker design are now moving the industry and culture of footwear. The exhibit explores how, for example, mushroom-based leather and reclaimed ocean plastic are supporting the push toward sustainability.

This field trip provided an opportunity for experiential education, through an esteemed arts and culture space in the city, and from which the students were able to interact with the content of the learning materials being discussed in class, and to explore the inclusion of sustainability in anything/everything they do moving forward into their future studies and careers.

In the lecture, learning materials, and museum field trip, we also specifically discussed many of the UN SDGs that are applicable to the footwear industry, from good health and well-being through reducing the chemicals, dyes and other harmful products used in shoe manufacturing (target 3.9) to the energy used to power the factories and transportation used to produce and move footwear around the world (target 7.2). Notable among the SDGs is, of course, Goal 12 Responsible Consumption and Production, and the need to reduce waste generation by reconsidering the entire life-cycle of sneakers (target 12.5), and encouraging sneaker manufacturers to adopt aggressive sustainability practices (12.6).

  • The Sustainable Development Goals Fund has an online database of sustainable development case studies and a selection of effective practices on how to achieve a sustainable world while advancing the 17 SDGs.
  • The Cultural Protection Fund is a joint venture of the British Council and the UK Government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport. Since 2016, it has protected cultural heritage at risk in the Middle East, North Africa, and East Africa, fostering economic and social development. The Fund, having supported 67 projects with over £35m, aligns with SDG 11, promoting inclusive, safe, and sustainable urban spaces.
  • 30 Self Nudges for the SDGs is an SDG i-Level Project that launched the Self-Nudging Online Toolkit for University Staff on SDGs. Self-Nudges help remind university teachers and staff of the relevance of their work to the SDGs, prompting them to think about sustainable development, apply this mental framework to their work and as a result create more contributions to SDGs while feeling better about what they do. A continuous and reinforced engagement with the SDGs will create a mindset conducive to forging new individual contributions to sustainable development and the SDGs.
  • Visit Alliance 2030, a national network committed to achieving the 17 goals, especially in Canada, by working at local and global levels. Their environment page contains SDG-related content, including life on land, life below water, climate action, and several others. 
  • Visit Canadian Geographic Education a standing committee of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. They offer teacher guides, lesson plans, giant floor maps, videos, infographics, maps & activities, and interactives.
  • Visit the Data Hub of The Government of Canada, the focal point for reporting Canada's data for the SDG indicators. They partner with many councils and organizations and include all 17 goals. Some examples featured include Gender, Diversity and Inclusion statistics, Human Activity and the Environment.
  • Visit Faculty for a Future and search the Seed Library It is a searchable database of open-access educational resources that can support educators and students by integrating sustainability into discipline-specific teaching and learning. Search by issue, discipline, resource type and characteristic.
  • Read the Feminist International Assistance Policy report from Global Affairs Canada. It describes helping to eradicate poverty and vulnerability around the world with supports targeted to investments, partnerships, innovation and advocacy. 
  • Visit GapMinder to learn about Dollar Street. Imagine the world as a street ordered by income. The poorest live to the left and the richest to the right with everyone else living somewhere in between. Gapminder is an independent Swedish foundation with no political, religious or economic affiliations. They fight devastating misconceptions about global development with a fact-based worldview everyone can understand. They produce free teaching resources based on reliable statistics. They collaborate with universities, UN-based organizations, public agencies and non-governmental organizations. 
  • Read Dr. Mark Terry's book The Geo-Doc – Geomedia, Documentary Film and Social Change . Terry's book introduces a new form of documentary film: the Geo-Doc, designed to maximize the influential power of the documentary film as an agent of social change. He also talks about The Youth Climate Report, a project he created and maintains in conjunction with the UNEP, which is a temporal, locative, evolving new form of a documentary film which he pins 3-minute videos submitted by students from around the world that examine climate change and other environmental issues.
  • Visit GeoGuesser to explore the world. It assists with Gamification in the classroom, where you are dropped somewhere in the world on a street view panorama with the mission of finding clues and guessing your location on the world map.
  • The Global Footprint Network supports the shift towards a sustainable economy by advancing the Ecological Footprint, a measurement and management tool that makes the reality of global limits central to decision-making.  Ecological footprint projects can be an effective way to get students to think about how sustainability intersects with their lives.
  • Visit If It Were My Home an interactive map that helps people understand life outside of their home country. Use the country comparison tool to compare living conditions in a home country to those in another.
  • Visit the Planetary Health Film Lab where 4 Indigenous youth from the Canadian north portray environmental issues in their communities with the common theme of water. There is still and motion photography and interviews with local elders, residents, researchers, and planetary health experts. Profiles of Indigenous perspectives, impacts, and solutions to planetary health issues in their communities are examined from different approaches. Each film runs between three and seven minutes in length. Watch the 4 films.
  • The Sustainability Curriculum Consortium represents an opportunity to fill a gap in the sustainability movement in higher education. They envision a consortium that builds our collective capacity as educators and change agents, along with the administrators and stakeholders who can support them, to improve the ways sustainability is perceived, modeled, and taught; that serves as a generator of principles, practices, and shared resources, to move the education component of higher education sustainability up to and beyond campus operations. 
  • TeachSDGs helps instructors to connect to the SDGs through resources such as videos, global projects, social media and teacher connections. 
  • The Hope Wheel: a Model to Enable Hope-based Pedagogy in Climate Change Education is an article written by William Finnegan and Cathy d’Abreu (2024) in Frontiers in Psychology 15:1347392. Finnegan and d'Abreu state "in response to concerns about climate anxiety and distress, researchers and practitioners in both education and psychology have been investigating the importance of engaging climate hope in Climate Change Education (CCE)." The authors have synthesized recent multidisciplinary research with insights from the development of educational programs and their article proposes a new theoretical model for pedagogies of hope in CCE (Finnegan and d'Abreu, 2024).