Sustainable Development and Me

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Examples taken from all day life, explored in groups: In example mobile phone, jeans, coffee, steak. Participants learn that sustainable development has something to do with their everyday life.

Time 60 minutes

Material The objects you want to discuss

Group Size 12-40 people

Keywords sustainability, conscious consumerism




How to do it

Sustainable development can be very abstract and far away for some. With this topic we bring it to our own lives. Take to for examples mobile phone, jeans, coffee and a piece of beef. Make four teams, each of them gets one object. Try to make as realistic as possible and get a real example for all for.

Give these questions to the groups:

  • What do you know about this product?
  • What do you not know about this product and what is problematic about it?
  • How must this product change so that it can be a good product?

Take in mind the three dimensions of sustainable development: ecological, economic and social.

Research some facts about the four products. For instance:

Facts and Numbers:

  • Jeans: A huge amount of water is used to produce, normally it travelled about 50.000 km and the money we give is shared like this: 1% to wages, 13% material, 11% transport, 25% brand, 50% retail
  • Mobile phone: Societal impact: 90% of teenagers have at least one (Germany), 30 different metals, quarter of world’s cobalt production to akkus of mobiles and laptops (Kongo, wars), increasing need of energy, recycling is still a big question
  • Coffee: Pesticides – bad influence on water and soil, Monoculture – dependency of agriculture to global prices (less resilience) (second most traded good after crude oil), bad for small farmers, Long traffic ways, Deforestation for less profit –less birds – more insects, more pesticides
  • Steak: 40% of global wheat production go to mass animal production, for 200g beaf meat we need 2 kg of wheat (feeding 8 children), deforestation, 10% less meat in industrial countries would feed additional 100 Mio. people!, animal rights, ways of food – transport ways, big structures, no small farmer wins



Non-governmental organisation and facilitators network from Moldova for sustainable development, Education for Sustainable Development and environmental learning.


These are only examples. We see here that sustainable development starts in the very core of my every day life. What are conclusions? Less coffee? Repair old cloths? Eat less meat? Use your mobile phone longer? Make a list if there is time left.