Applied Hope – Introducing Metanoia’s Sustainability Action Hub
School students today hear an increasingly negative narrative about the state of the planet and are demanding we respond more effectively and with greater urgency. But the response from most schools has been limited and eco-anxiety is a growing concern. According to a recent poll, 57% of teenagers in the US said that climate change made them feel scared, and 52% said it made them feel angry. Only 29% said they were optimistic. Accordingly, the American Academy of Pediatrics has warned that climate change is a “threat to children’s mental and physical health.”
Engaging with students in sustainability projects on campus that really move the needle is an effective way to mitigate this growing wellbeing issue.
School campuses are rich with opportunities to do this, but they are rarely identified or leveraged.
There are many reasons for this, from the busy schedules of teachers and students, to funding constraints, to limited expertise. Teachers have competing priorities and, faced with multiple options, school leaders may be unsure which ones will make the biggest difference.
The Sustainability Action Hub, is intended to be, among other things, an antidote to eco-anxiety, a tool box to help students and their school communities build capacity to develop and realize impactful sustainability projects on their campuses.
Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute refers to this work as “applied hope” – it isn’t the hope of airy optimism, but a sleeves-rolled-up, solutions-oriented approach to making change happen, and in the process “making hope possible, rather than despair convincing.”
The Hub will do this by:
- Collaborating with students, faculty, sustainability leaders, facility management teams and school leadership teams to develop and implement projects that are cross-disciplinary, project-based and experiential in nature and have a meaningful and long-lasting impact on the sustainability of the school community and/or the neighbourhood;
- Facilitating a multi-stakeholder conversation about sustainability in the life of the school;
- Providing or facilitating access to funding;
- Harnessing the expertise that already exists in the school community and building further capacity;
- Improving students, staff and community member’s ecoliteracy and fostering eco stewardship;
- Deploying staff with expertise to support the above.
The Hub has three key pillars:
The Sustainability Action LAB
The focus of the Lab is the design, feasibility and implementation of sustainability projects on campus. Often, but not always, these projects have a heavy STEM component.
The Sustainability Action STUDIO
The Studio is focussed on communication and culture. The Studio supports students to develop the school’s sustainability narrative and foster a culture of sustainability and eco stewardship through design, communication, campaigns, policy, art and data visualisation.
Sustainability Action FUND
The Fund addresses one of the biggest challenges for schools wishing to become sustainable – money.
Through a combination of conventional approaches and more creative options, the Fund will mobilise funding needed to make students’ sustainability ideas a reality in schools.
The fund provides an opportunity for students to learn and apply financial and entrepreneurship skills, while at the same time contributing to making their campus more sustainable.
For further information on the Sustainability Action Hub, please contact [email protected]