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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 prioritize projects based on importance and availability of resources. Green-colored stoplights represent projects that are "ready to go."


To determine the order of implementation of sustainability projects according to project importance and resource availability.


This exercise may be completed by one individual (i.e., a teacher preparing curriculum) or by a group of people (i.e., a school district-level committee). It is helpful to have a list of possible sustainability projects before beginning this exercise. If a list is not available, participants should brainstorm possible and current projects prior to the start of this exercise. (See sidebar for examples of sustainability projects.) For an exercise to create a list of sustainability projects choose the exercise Making Your Ideas Fly!

Group size: 2 to 9 participants.

Time Needed: 30 minutes.



  1. On the Stoplight Importance and Resource Availability worksheet, list sustainability projects. For each project, circle one number describing the project's importance toward accomplishing community sustainability goals, and one number describing the availability of resources. Add importance and availability scores, and record it for each project.
  2. Average the scores for each project.
  3. On the Stoplight worksheet, list projects in descending order by combined score. Color stoplights green for projects you can begin now. Color stoplights yellow for projects the group wants to do later. Color stoplights red for projects that are neither important nor have resources available.
  4. Begin planning for the projects with green lights. Discuss how to develop resource bases for yellow-light projects.

Examples of Sustainability Projects

  • Waste audit for entire school.
  • Compost for cafeteria waste and yard waste.
  • Litterless lunch program.
  • Energy audit.
  • Water conservation program.
  • School garden or natural area.
  • Reuse center for art materials.
  • Peace garden or conflict resolution site.
  • Recycling program.
  • Purchase safe substitutes for hazardous cleaning products.
  • Indoor air quality audit.
  • Breakfast program for students in need.
  • Social services site at the school.
  • Free dental checkups for students.

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