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Author's note
What is E S D?
Reorienting Education
Localizing the Global Initiative
Challenges and Barriers to E S D
Community Sustainability Goals
Case Study: Toronto, Canada Board of Education
Managing Change
Public Participation
Concluding remarks
Tools to Introduce the Concept of Sustainable Development
Tools to Create Community Goals
Tools to Reorient Education to Address Sustainability
Tools for Managing Change
Web resources

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Participants fly paper airplanes and build on one another's ideas.


To stimulate creativity in the initial steps of creating sustainability projects.


This exercise is meant for faculty and administrators in a school or district. Participants build on the ideas of others. Use a large room for this activity.

Group size: 12 to 36 participants.

Time Needed: 30 minutes.


  • List of community sustainability goals, if available.
  • Prefolded paper airplanes (or have participants fold their own planes.)
  • A pen for each participant.
  • Lively music.


  1. Construct many paper airplanes in advance of the meeting.
  2. Distribute 1 pen and 1 airplane per participant.
  3. Explain that the object of the activity is to come up with creative ways of implementing sustainability goals. Also explain that good ideas may well build on the ideas of others.
  4. Begin with the first goal on the list.
  5. Ask participants to write down an idea on their airplanes for actualizing the first goal. For example, for the goal that states "the rate of use of renewable resources should not exceed the rate of their regeneration", one idea would be to use both sides of writing paper; another would be to plant a school forest.
  6. Announce: "We are about to launch these airplanes. When you catch a plane, read what is written on it and add to it. Don't stick to the mundane; you may write something creative or unusual. Then launch the airplane again!"
  7. Count to three and launch the airplanes! Add to the festivity by playing some lively music.
  8. After several launchings, turn off the music and request each participant retrieve an airplane. In turn, each participant reads aloud what is written on each airplane.
  9. Create a list of potential projects.
  10. Distribute a new set of airplanes. Repeat this activity for each community sustainability goal.

Adapted from "Brain Program #32: Out-of-the-Blue Lightning Bolt Cloud Buster" in Jump Start Your Brain by Doug Hall. Warner Books: New York. 1995. pp. 342-345.

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