"Global lessons" for Earth Day, 22 April

As many of you will know, 22 April is Earth Day. 2010 is the 40th anniversary of this occasion, which originated in the USA. Last year, at the instigation of Bolivia's President Evo Morales, the UN also designated the day International Mother Earth Day, and this year is the first year of its celebration.

There are many ways to mark Earth Day, but this year the International Baccalaureate has developed a number of "global lessons", designed to be taught on or around Earth Day and schools all over the world will be teaching these lessons.

Whether or not you are an IB school, you may find the lessons, and/or the links included, of some interest - either for Earth Day, or at some other time. All the lessons are available in English, French and Spanish.

One of the lessons is for Middle Years humanities /biology/environmental studies (ages 11-16) , and deals with individual ecological footprint. It includes links to a number of simple footprint calculators in several different languages, uses personal data, and encourages students to consider future directions we can take on the environment, and personal action they might take.

The other two lessons are for IB Diploma students - aged 16-19. Although both are written with IB Theory of Knowledge (critical thinking) in mind, they are of much broader interest and relevance. One is on environmental, scientific and political perspectives on climate change. The other is also on ecological footprints, and again includes use of footprint calculators. This lesson is also of relevance to Biology, Geography/Earth Science and Environmental Studies courses.

The lessons are posted to the
IB community theme site

IB is encouraging students to take part in discussion forums after the lessons, also on the community theme site.

This is the third year IB has developed such global lessons linked to recognised international days, following an idea ("the world's biggest lesson") from the Global Campaign for Education. The first in 2008 was on global poverty linked to World Poverty Day, and in 2009 was on peace and conflict linked to the International Day of Peace). Lesson plans are available in English, French and Spanish, and, some in Chinese.


Boyd Roberts
IB community theme project director

Educating for global citizenship - a practical guide for schools
Published by International Baccalaureate, 11 February 2009
Obtainable from the IB Store

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