SLS Philosophy

 

Given the current state of the world, many youth are looking for ways to participate in the emerging movement for social change but are unclear on how they can make a difference with such large global issues.
Similarly, we have found that many teachers are eager to bring the important topic of sustainability into their classrooms, but are hard pressed to develop the research materials to support it.

At Be The Change, we believe that taking leadership in sustainability begins with looking at our own lives and bringing our actions into alignment with our values. This experiential process brings deep learning opportunities and a strength of integrity that empowers students to make lifestyle choices which have environmental implication that last a lifetime.

This is why the Student Leadership in Sustainability program was created – to provide teachers with comprehensive and ready-to-deliver curriculum materials, so that students…

  • are educated on pressing global, environmental, and social issues in a way that empowers them to be part of the solution
  • conduct on-line research to become informed decision makers
  • interact with sustainability issues through various modalities, peers and community to understand the effects of their choices on themselves and others
  • develop the skills they need to set goals, make thoughtful decisions and take responsibility for their commitments
  • experience enhanced student collaboration and small group dynamics of peer support and accountability
  • learn from each-others’ experiences

The ongoing development and delivery of the SLS program is guided by the following five principles:

1. Values-Based: Socially, our actions flow naturally from our society’s ‘world view’, which is a reflection of our common ‘beliefs and values’. Some major beliefs of our industrial world view are now known to be inaccurate (like the world has limitless resources) and many of our behaviours are not sustainable. Accordingly, the SLS program modules are constructed around six essential Values of a sustainable world view. In this way, students are able to personalize big global issues through their own values-based frame of reference and assess if their actions support a world view for a sustainable future.

2. Global to Local: The SLS program examines global sustainability and social justice issues through a local lens, providing familiar examples that students are able to observe in their own homes, neighbourhoods, and schools. This makes the material far more relevant for youth, and most importantly, allows them the opportunity to see and feel the results of their actions in their home communities.

3. Solutions-Oriented: Trying to compel others into action by focusing on our dire global situation often results in people shutting down and turning away. By contrast, we believe that empowerment and personal action are the keys to change. The SLS program provides S.M.A.R.T. goals to focus on the solutions at hand.

4. Personal Responsibility: There is a pervasive and deeply entrenched belief in our society that individuals lack the power to affect real and lasting change. The SLS program teaches youth that although individuals may feel insignificant, each and every one of our actions is very important, influencing positive change in all areas of our lives.

5. Peer Support & Accountability: Peer support and accountability is a powerful motivator to fulfill our commitment to change old habits and establish new ones. The SLS program has students engage and collaborate with one another regularly, working together on projects, sharing the results of their research, and holding one another accountable for their actions.