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Sustainable Communities - 12 to 16 year olds

What are sustainable communities?

Sustainable communities are places where people want to live and work, now and in the future. They meet the needs of residents, helping them feel included and allowing them to live a high quality of life with opportunity to reach their full potential.

Sustainable communities help to preserve the natural environment and promote values like equality and neighbourliness. They are safe, well run, well built and well serviced.

The United Nations believe that the key to implementing real change in sustainable development lies at the local level. For example, Agenda 21, launched by the United Nations in 1992, set out actions to be taken globally, nationally and locally to influence human impact on the environment. Nearly 180 world governments agreed to adopt the programme.

Nationwide Education's Sustainable Communities programme examines sustainable living through five key themes: Buildings; Communities; Environment Issues; Energy and Recycling; and Travel.

Sustainable Schools

The Government aims for all schools to be sustainable by 2020 and asks them to 'prepare young people for a lifetime of sustainable living' (DfE) through their practice and teaching. The National Framework for Sustainable Schools (published in 2006) lists three interlocking components for a school to become sustainable:

  • A commitment to care - Sustainable schools have a caring ethos - care for oneself, for each other (across cultures, distances and generations) and for the environment itself (far and near).
  • An integrated approach - A sustainable school takes an integrated approach to its improvement. It explores sustainable development through its teaching provision and learning (curriculum); in its values and ways of thinking (campus); and in its engagement of local people and partners (community).
  • The eight doorways - Sustainability themes are discrete entry points or places where schools can establish or develop their sustainability practices.

The following shows how the Framework's 'doorways' relate to our programme's five key themes:

Sustainable Schools 'doorways' Nationwide Education -
Sustainable Communities theme
Food and drink Communities; Environment Issues
Energy and water Communities; Environment Issues; Energy and Recycling
Travel and traffic Travel
Purchasing and waste Communities; Environment Issues; Energy and Recycling
Buildings and grounds Buildings
Inclusion and participation Communities
Local well-being Communities
Global citizenship Communities

Programme content

For 12 to 14 year olds

  • Interactive quiz
  • 12-14 year olds Fact sheets:
    • Travel
      • 1.1 Main Forms of Travel
      • 1.2 Transport Networks
      • 1.3 Eco-travel
    • Buildings
      • 2.1 Sustainable Development
      • 2.2 Community Issues
      • 2.3 Tradespeople and Materials
    • Environment Issues
      • 3.1 Types of Pollution
      • 3.2 Protection of Ecosystems
      • 3.3 Local Sourcing
      • 3.4 Global Warming and Climate Change
      • 3.5 Natural Disasters
    • Energy and Recycling
      • 4.1 Energy Generation
      • 4.2 Conserving Energy
      • 4.3 Water
      • 4.4 Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    • Communities
      • 5.1 Community Spaces
      • 5.2 Neighbourliness
      • 5.3 Public Services
  • 12-14 year olds Work sheets:
    • Travel
      • 1.1 Main Forms of Travel
      • 1.2 Transport Networks
      • 1.3 Eco-travel
      • 1.4 Additional Activities
    • Buildings
      • 2.1 Sustainable Development
      • 2.2 Community Issues
      • 2.3 Tradespeople and Materials
    • Environment Issues
      • 3.1 Types of Pollution
      • 3.2 Protection of Ecosystems
      • 3.3 Local Sourcing
      • 3.4 Global Warming and Climate Change
      • 3.5 Natural Disasters
    • Energy and Recycling
      • 4.1 Energy Generation
      • 4.2 Conserving Energy
      • 4.3 Water
      • 4.4 Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    • Communities
      • 5.1 Community Spaces
      • 5.2 Neighbourliness
      • 5.3 Public Services
  • Glossary

For 14 to 16 year olds

  • Interactive quiz
  • 14-16 year olds Fact sheets:
    • Travel
      • 1.1 Sustainable Travel
      • 1.2 Traffic and Congestion
      • 1.3 Eco-travel and Technology
    • Buildings
      • 2.1 Sustainable Schools
      • 2.2 Regeneration
      • 2.3 Planning a Community
    • Environment Issues
      • 3.1 Pollution and Waste
      • 3.2 Responsible Tourism
      • 3.3 Ethical Consumerism
      • 3.4 Climate Change
      • 3.5 Natural Disasters and
        Climate Change
    • Energy and Recycling
      • 4.1 Renewable Energy
      • 4.2 Supply Chain
      • 4.3 The Recycling Process
    • Communities
      • 5.1 Community Cohesion
      • 5.2 Community Action
      • 5.3 Governance in the UK
  • 14-16 year olds Work sheets:
    • Travel
      • 1.1 Sustainable Travel
      • 1.2 Traffic and Congestion
      • 1.3 Eco-travel and Technology
    • Buildings
      • 2.1 Sustainable Schools
      • 2.2 Regeneration
      • 2.3 Planning a Community
    • Environment Issues
      • 3.1 Pollution and Waste
      • 3.2 Responsible Tourism
      • 3.3 Ethical Consumerism
      • 3.4 Climate Change
      • 3.5 Natural Disasters and
        Climate Change
    • Energy and Recycling
      • 4.1 Renewable Energy
      • 4.2 Supply Chain
      • 4.3 The Recycling Process
    • Communities
      • 5.1 Community Cohesion
      • 5.2 Community Action
      • 5.3 Governance in the UK
  • Glossary