Hey! What's your footprint?
Ecological footprint calculators are an effective communication and educational tool to measure the impact of humanity on our planet (Barrett et al., 2004). This project’s aim was to design and then trial a footprint tool for children using a format that was engaging, purposeful and childspecific. A further objective was to test whether, through specific information and dialogue, pupils could then modify their own behaviour to reduce their footprint through action strategies in a collaborative environment. The method used involved scoping a group of three children to develop specific parameters and then trialling the footprint tool’s design and programme in four Canterbury schools. The results suggest that footprint tools can be effective in changing behaviour. The developmental process was critical to encourage planning, actions and reflection in a supportive setting (Allen et al., 2002; Bosch et al., 2007; Whitehead & McNiff, 2006). We further posit that the process used to motivate environmental behaviour change could be used effectively in other educational programmes in either schools or the wider community. It was not just the footprint tool used in isolation that effected behaviour change in over 70 percent of pupils; rather the tool was seen as a catalyst within this environmental education programme (Law, 2004; Ministry of Education, 2007). It was the process used to engage pupils – enhance their values for a sustainable future in a supportive landscape – that facilitated effective teaching and also learning processes in young people. This project uses the process of Action Research to trial a purpose-designed footprint tool on children to help them reduce their impact on the environment. The institutions involved in this project were: The Royal Society of New Zealand, Lincoln University, and Landcare Research. The Canterbury schools participating were: Lincoln High School, Christchurch South Intermediate School, Addington School, and Beckenham School.... [Show full abstract]