The unprecedented growth in material wealth in the last two decades has also led to unprecedented decline in global resources and extreme increases in CO2 in the atmosphere leading to global climate change. The global ecological footprint is in overshoot (where resource demands per person exceed available resources) and the world is struggling to limit global warming to the 1.5degree target.

The environmental and social impacts associated with our current lifestyles and consumption patterns have been a major contributing factor to “unsustainable” trends.

Enabling sustainable lifestyles will require more than promoting green consumerism. Sustainable living goes beyond the consumption of the most sustainable material goods and/or services, into the re-design of ways of living, feeling, communicating and thinking. For example: personal and collective attitudes; how values are established over a life-time; how we interact and transact in the economic system; how our cities and education systems provide the infrastructure and skills for lifestyles that support more sustainable societies.

Raising awareness, deepening knowledge and building towards sustainable living must start at a local level and the best medium to accomplish that is through the schools in Suriname.

As the twig is bent the tree is inclined!

Key in this project will be to engage students, teachers and their communities to deepen their understanding and knowledge of sustainable lifestyles and how to incorporate these lifestyles into their daily routine and activities.

The areas in which this can be done are:

  • Build a shared vision of sustainable schools: achieve a common framework of understanding of sustainable lifestyles through a multi-disciplinary approach;
  • Integrate sustainable lifestyle principles and practices in school curricula;
  • Capacity building for achieving greening of the learning process and learning environments;
  • Empower teachers, students and communities to adopt sustainable lifestyles through active participation and education.

Through national workshops, consultation sessions and roadshows the shared vision of the concept of sustainable schools will be addressed. These workshops, sessions and roadshows will be held in all districts of Suriname. These 10 districts are: Paramaribo, Commewijne, Para, Saramacca, Coronie, Nickerie, Marowijne, Brokopondo, Sipaliwinie, Wanica

Activities in Suriname will be undertaken in order to implement plans in 6 schools towards boosting their sustainability.  In addition, links to Basic Life Skills and Education project of the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (MINOWC) will be established. Through it the children are taught skills to cope with social changes. As a result they are expected to think critically, have problem-solving and social skills, as well as demonstrate creative thinking. The trinity approach that focuses around student, teacher and parent environment contributes to the success of the project.

The curriculum of Basic Life Skills and Education project comprises 31 lessons spread over five themes that teach students knowledge, skills and attitudes that enable them to work on their personal development, solve problems more effectively, think critically and communicate effectively. This curriculum can be expanded with the training material developed for this project on the search for sustainable schools. This can be done through adaptation of the training material/lessons from the project on the search for sustainable schools into the curriculum of the Basic Life Skills and education project.