IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Coalition Provides Sustainability-Focused Online Content for K-12

A partnership between the National Environmental Education Foundation, Discovery Education and various major U.S. companies will provide free videos, lesson plans and other online materials starting in November.

Two sets of hands entering from opposite sides of the image, both cupped with their palms upturned. The ones on the right are holding a pile of soil with a tree growing out of it, while the ones on the left are holding a cluster of city buildings.
A few major players in the ed-tech, manufacturing, automotive, steel and environmental industries have joined forces with the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) to help close the digital divide and promote environmental, economic, social and human sustainability, partners in the initiative announced recently.

The Sustainability Education Coalition was created by Discovery Education, Subaru of America Inc., Lyondell Bassell, Nucor, Honeywell and NEEF. Its website will include free online educational content available to anyone with Internet access. Each partner will provide digital bundles that include videos, lesson plans and other learning materials. Subaru produced the first bundle, which will include content about caring for public water systems in urban areas. It will go online in November, said Amy Nakamoto, Discovery Education’s executive vice president for social impact.

“Inspiring action is a crucial part of what we’re doing,” Nakamoto said, adding that the content will serve grades K-12 and can be applied across all curricula, whether science, math, English language arts, social studies or other subjects. “Educators can really plug and play this.”

Discovery Education, based in North Carolina, makes digital learning platforms and classroom management tools. Nakamoto said her company is the backbone of this initiative in connecting students with real-world learning.

According to a news release last week, the coalition’s goal is to reach 10 million underserved students in highly rural or highly urban U.S. communities by 2030. These students will be considered “ambassadors for sustainability.”

The digital bundle drop schedule past November has not been released yet, but Nakamoto said future content will be based on each partner’s area of expertise. Nucor, for example, will provide instruction about the metals recycling process.

The coalition’s actions are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Grace Maliska, Discovery Education senior global communications manager, elaborated on the coalition’s four pillars of sustainability:

  • Human — fulfilling the needs of humanity without compromising the needs of future generations.

  • Social Impact — improving quality of life, equality, diversity, social cohesion and civil engagement.

  • Economic — stable economy that supports affordable housing, health care, transportation and employment.

  • Environmental — preserving natural resources like clean air, water, land and wildlife.

Socio-scientific topics, Maliska said, are largely missing from the U.S. K-12 curriculum, even though teachers here believe teaching about sustainable development is important and necessary. She also cited the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, which notes “green skills” such as sustainable development, environmental science and renewable energy will be important for future career opportunities.

Nakamoto applauded the partners in this initiative, saying they will empower educators and students to make informed decisions and take responsible actions to support a sustainable future.

“These companies have made a commitment to action for sustainability for the next generation,” Nakamoto said. “We think it’s going to have a huge impact.”
Aaron Gifford has several years of professional writing experience, primarily with daily newspapers and specialty publications in upstate New York. He attended the University at Buffalo and is based in Cazenovia, NY.