Social Change for Sustainability
Social change means changing the way people behave. The environmental problems the world is facing today are caused by human behavior. By educating others and pushing for better policies, a person can create behavior changes in the larger population that protect the planet.
Democracy Means Your Voice Counts
Democracy is the rule of the people. Democracy means your voice counts. Americans often take it for granted. People don't think about what it means to have it or to lose it. Children should understand that if they are worried about the environment and want to help protect the Earth, they should talk to the people who make the laws and policies. Living in a democracy means you have the right to voice your opinion and you have the right to be a part of governing and making policies.
Learn the basics about government and how to get involved by using the following resources:
Be president for a day, learn how government affects you, and step inside a voting booth on this colorful, interactive website created by PBS (http://pbskids.org/democracy).
Congress for Kids (www.congressforkids.net) has interactive, fun, and engaging experiences that are meant to help kids learn about the foundation of our federal government and how it affects them.
Kids Voting USA (www.kidsvotingusa.org) has high-quality instructional materials for K-12 teachers that teach valuable civic lessons throughout the school year. Some of the issues addressed include voting, elections, rights, democracy, and active citizenship.
D Is for Democracy: A Citizen's Alphabet by Elissa Grodin and Victor Juhasz.
Graphic Library: Cartoon Nation series by Liam O'Donnell, which includes titles such as “Democracy,” “Citizenship,” “Political Parties,” “The U.S. Congress,” and “Political Elections.”
It's especially important to understand the government when you live in a society that is supposed to be ruled by the people!
It's Up to You
You hear a lot of people saying bad things about the government. Help your students understand that they can change the government by voting for the candidates they feel are best able to run the country. It's up to regular people to change what they think is wrong. You can't just complain. It's up to you.
Have your students talk with their parents about their involvement in politics, government, or the community. Do they vote? Have they ever contacted an elected official? Work together with your class to put together a survey for each of them to give to their parents.
The Kids' Guide to Social Action: How to Solve the Social Problems You Choose — and Turn Creative Thinking into Positive Action by Barbara A. Lewis profiles children who have taken action and accomplished amazing things. The book is a must-have how-to manual to assist children in finding a cause, creating a project, and seeing it to the end.