Other Classroom Tools
Educational DVDs, Articles and Other Information
Consumerism, Values, and What Really Matters: An Interview with Tim Kasser
In this article, Professor of Psychology Tim Kasser talks about intrinsic and extrinsic values. The article also mentions Kasser's “Alternatives to Consumerism” class, where he asks his students to write a “consumerography,” or a biography of their lives as consumers. "It is really remarkable how many of them see how empty that lifestyle is and how much they really want to figure out a different pattern of life for themselves and their kids one day. I have hope that they can, given how much energy, caring, and intelligence they show."
Consumption and Waste, by Karen Bledsoe
This book explains how Americans' commercial society and, subsequently, consumption patterns, lead to waste. Addressed are waste patterns throughout history, waste reduction, electronic waste and hazardous waste. Click here for a handout used with 5th graders.
Economics of Happiness, by David Gould
This is a short, compelling, great-for-discussion and critical thinking op-ed piece. It summarizes research on happiness...including the fact that money, past what is required for modest comfort, does not increase happiness.
Great Places: Turning from Stuff to Happiness, by David Roberts
Grist writer David Roberts talks about how, once basic needs are met, happiness comes from social connections, personal autonomy and recognition. Article includes links to other articles about happiness research.
Happiness video by Public Broadcasting Systems
This two-minute online video gets kids to think about happiness as it relates to stuff. The moral of the video: "One small thing you love can make you happier than a ton of stuff." Appropriate for 1st-3rd grades, and possibly other ages.
How to Streamline Your Life and Still Enjoy the Heck Out of It, by Umbra Fisk (Grist magazine)
This talented columnist, also known as "Ask Umbra," writes a short manifesto (10 tips) encouraging Americans to take back their identities, asking "Ever wonder when We the People stopped being called citizens and started being called consumers?" Her tips range from "prioritizing" and "voting," to "enjoying what you have."
Iowa Department of Natural Resources Safe, Smart Solutions
This website addresses household hazardous wastes, and includes educational materials, definitions of hazardous waste, and a variety of other hazardous waste information.
"Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout"
This poem about garbage was written in 1974 by Shel Silverstein.
"The Throwaway Three"
This skit was written for three actors, though may involve more students. It provides a historic look at garbage.
Visualizing a Plentitude Economy video
This less-than-5-minute video gives viewers a vision for a new economy that would be good for people and good for the environment.
The Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 is offering a Materials Management through Sustainable Consumption Webinar Series designed to provide examples of communities around the U.S. and internationally that are reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through creating more sustainable patterns of consumption. This webinar series focuses on helping regulators and environmental management experts share information about existing research, programs and practices. It also shares perspectives from citizens and businesses.
Curricula and Lesson Plan Links
In addition to the lesson plans found at this website, below are other waste-related and global citizenry lesson plans and curriculum materials.
Buy, Use, Toss
Some concepts just naturally engage students' curiosity. consumption--how we "buy, use, and toss"--is one of those. Because consumption is current, relevant, and real, it is an ideal context for teaching core subject matter and 21st century skills such as critical thinking and collaboration.
California Integrated Waste Management Board Closing the Loop curricula
This curriculum is designed to introduce K-3 and 4-6 grade students to waste issues, including household hazardous waste.
Center for a New American Dream
This organization is a leader in rethinking consumption in America. They occasionally have curriculum materials available, but even when they don't, they have a load of great resources for most ages.
Clean Sweep USA
Keep America Beautiful's website includes lessons and ideas for web-based research.
Community Action Guide
This 37-page guide contains resources to help you and your classroom take on a group action project. The same guide is published in the World Wildlife Fund and Center for a New American Dream resource book, Smart Consumers : An Educator's Guide to Exploring Consumer Issues and the Environment.
Earth Day Groceries Project
This site provides instructions for decorating bags for earth day.
Environmental Protection Agency Municipal Solid Waste
This web site contains information on municipal solid waste (MSW), including facts, information about reducing, reusing and recycling, and state data about MSW. Click here for a list of curriculum materials available from the EPA.
Heifer International, a non-profit organization, works to end world hunger and protect the earth through the gift of farm animals and training. Their site offers educators a variety of educational resources, including books, videos and curricula. The materials address poverty and environmental degradation, cultures around the world, and global citizenry.
For nearly forty years, Population Connection (formerly Zero Population Growth) has been educating young people with its award-winning Population Education program and advocating for progressive action to stabilize world population at a level that can be sustained by Earth's resources.
This website has a wealth of information about different countries' ecological footprints.
Sightline Institute--Stuff Curriculum
This is a curriculum to accompany the book, Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things.