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Engineering to do Nothing
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January 18, 2016
Green Teacher

Originally appears in the Winter 2016 issue

Credit: Susan Lewicki, Meadowlands Environment Center

Most teachers turn the lights off after students leave the classroom.  I turn the lights off when students come in.

I always ask, “Can everyone still see well enough to read, write, and work on a project?”

“Yes!”

“We’re already conserving energy, thanks to the Sun!”

So we begin learning with the lights off, but not in the dark.

Teaching children about living more sustainably with the environment often focuses on conserving resources and habitats.  But looking at this issue deeper, we might consider why the human landscape demands so many resources from natural landscapes in the first place.  A lifestyle devoted to the accumulation of “stuff” is certainly a factor.  However, no matter your lifestyle, even the buildings where we live, learn, work, and play are often resource intensive by design.   Any strategy to live or teach the next generation about living more sustainably should involve how to redesign our built environment to provide the desired results.


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