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SCN 494- Sustainability Science for Teachers

This "sustainability for teachers" guide provides over 50 short videos and resources covering the main issues related to sustainability. These issues are: population, human needs, natural resources, water,recycling, equity, and much more. Enjoy it!


Concepts from the Readings

  • Human needs
  • Earth's carrying capacity
  • Quality of Life
  • GDP
  • Sanitation
  • World health

Main Readings

- “It’s all connected” Book: Unit 3 - Human Needs (food, water, energy), pages 31-37 and 41-43; Unit 5 - Quality of life, pages 66-71, 74-77, and 78-81

These units provide an overview of the essential human needs and elements for a good quality of life

- Fundamental Human Needs

This wikipedia article talks about a classification model for human needs developed by a Chilean economist and environmentalist called Manfred Max-Neef and his group. He proposed a non-hierarchical universal model to represent human needs. He proposed nine categories to explain human needs; subsistence, protection, affection, understanding, participation, leisure, creation, identity, and freedom.

- Maslow's hierarchy of needs

This wikipedia article explains the classical pyramid of human needs proposed by a psychologist called Maslow. This pyramid describes a hierarchical model to describe needs, where the most basic needs located at the bottom of the pyramid. This model is commonly used in psychology to explain how people get motivated. He has five big categories; self-actualization, esteem, love and belonging, safety needs, and physiological needs.

- Is GDP a good measure of economic progress?

This article answer this question by explaining what GDP forgets and what should forget to become a better way to measure progress.

Additional Readings

- Can the planet feed us?

This BBC News article provides an overview of the problem facing our planet to feed an overgrowing population and how technology might help achieve this goal. 

- Is there enough food out there for nine billion people?

This article synthesizes the main ideas from a recent article published in the Science magazine about food security. 

- Dietary Reference Intake

This wikipedia article lists all the basic dietary requirements for humans and explains the origins of the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) and the Dietary reference intake (DRI).

- Malnutrition Definitions

"The Mother and Child Nutrition" website present two main categories with definitions of malnutrition; a) protein energy malnutrition (stunted,wasted and underweight) and b) micro-nutrient deficiencies (iron deficiency anaemia, vitamin A deficiency, and Iodine deficiency disorders).

- Nutritional Diseases

This wikipedia article lists all human's dietary essentials and the disease associated with the lack of adequate intake of the nutrient.

- FAO State of World Food Insecurity 2009

This report talks about the food crisis around the world and how different countries have been affected

- Eijkman, Beriberi and vitamin B1

This article from the Nobel Prize website provides excellent explanation of the research process that Christiaan Eijkman, Nobel prize in physiology winner, did to discover the importance of vitamin B1 in human health. The article explains in simple terms the initial experimentation Dr. Eijkman conducted and how other discovering happening at the time helped him to figure out what the substance causing the beriberi disease was.

- World hunger and poverty facts and statistics 2010

Definitions of hunger, malnutrition, and FAQ related to hunger and poverty

- (PDF) Basic water requirements for human activities: Meeting basic needs

This paper provides specific numbers about human needs for water; it breaks down the categories for water use into: minimum drinking water, basic water for sanitation, for bathing, for food preparartion, for natura ecosystems, for growing food, etc.

- Understanding GDP

A short introductory article about GDP

- National Accounts of Well-being: bringing real wealth onto the balance sheet

This article from nef examines the subjective impressions of people regarding their well-being.  It reports data on well-being in European countries and raises the question (but does not answer it) of what social structures might promote well-being.  Read the executive summary and look at the figures.
Nef describes a project to define an alternative to GDP:  Standard models take no account of resource use and environmental constraints, and are blind to social outcomes in terms of equity and, of course, human well being. They are open-ended by nature, with growth being the primary output of interest. Inputs feed in, interact with each other, achieve balance (or equilibrium) and outcomes result.

- Using music to spread the message of ecological sanitation to Mozambique

This short article explains the challenge of educating people about sanitation and how a man called Feliciano dos Santos made a difference by using music to spread the message of the importance of sanitation.

Online Resources

Hours and Locations