Education,  Social Justice


Course No. ED476e, ED576e

Happiness is a crucial ingredient of human well-being and health, and the pursuit of which was identified as an “inalienable right” in the US Declaration of Independence. In America, as in other developed nations, many seek material things to bring happiness. Yet, a wide variety of environmental, health and social justice indicators suggest people in developed nations are consuming too much. Consumerism is the idea that increasing consumption of goods and services purchased in the market is always a desirable goal.

This course provides upper elementary and secondary grade teachers with a menu of assignment options to heighten awareness about the consequences of our actions as consumers and citizens. All course participants will explore personal values as they read The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard, preview the companion website, and dive into different components of consumerism. Those taking the course for credit will develop a unit study for their classroom and dive deeper into the impact of capitalism on our environment with the text, This Changes Everything, by Naomi Klein.

This course is appropriate for grades 4-12.

We advise you to review and download the course syllabus before registering. Syllabus
  • Have a complete understanding of what aspects of the consumer product cycle are harmful to personal, social, or environmental health. 
  • Have an inventory of print and Internet resources that provide evidence of the consequences of over-consumption and promote socially and environmentally responsible living. 
  • Have reflected on their consumer & life values and practice how to bring them forward in their teaching.
  • Have designed and implemented some action project for/with students that minimizes the impact of consuming. 

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