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UNESCO features SDG Resources for Educators - Life On Land, Biodiversity, Desertification, Forests

Biodiversity refers to the variety and number of species of life found within certain regions and in the world as a whole. An ecosystem is an ensemble consisting of a specific environment and the living beings in it. There are a great number of different species within the same ecosystem, and a huge number of different ecosystems on earth. 

Forests: Around 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihood. Forests are home to more than 80% of all terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.

Desertification: 2.6 billion people depend on agriculture, but 52% of the land used for agriculture is moderately or severely affected by soil degradation. Due to drought and desertification, each year 12 million hectares are lost (23 hectares per minute), where 20 million tons of grain could have been grown. Globally, 74% of the poor are directly affected by land degradation.

Biodiversity: Of the 8,300 animal breeds known, 8% are extinct and 22% are at risk of extinction. Of the over 80,000 tree species, less than 1% have been studied for their potential use.

Why Education is crucial to achieving SDG-15

Biodiversity education contributes to integrating protective ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts. (Access to Learning objectives for SDG-15)

At this level, an understanding of the existence of wild animals within specific habitats is born through experiential learning. This can take on the form of seeing wildlife in their natural environment or participating in school gardening activities. Respect for animals and appreciation for nature are developed. (Access Educational materials here)

Learners at this stage begin to understand the importance of biodiversity and the threats to it and to habitat loss and are exposed to the concept of endangered species. By beginning to apply systems thinking methods to understand ecosystem interdependencies (e.g. deforestation leads to habitat loss), their appreciation for the need to conserve biodiversity is raised.(Access Educational materials here)

At this level, the students’ understanding of the effects of land-use change activities is deepened. Through detailed analysis of the environmental impact of certain activities, they become aware, explore and support potential, environmentally sustainable solutions. (Access Educational materials here)

Pedagogical Resources

Ideas for Classroom Activities

Multimedia Educational Resources

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  • Educational activities to involve children in the protection of the environment: The Little Gardeners- Foundation for Environmental Education - Preschoolers were equipped with protective gloves and aprons and taken out to the kindergarten yard. They were then shown how to work, discovering that once planted, flowers need water to live and grow, and sun to offer light and warmth. Armed with gardening containers, flowerpots and water, preschoolers followed the instructions of teachers and planted flowers.

Pedagogical Resources

Ideas for Classroom Activities

  • Wild For Life! (link is external) - This resource aims to: 
    • Understand the framework of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development;
    • Create an understanding on one global topic, the plight of endangered species.
  • Biodiversity Challenge Badge (link is external) - The Biodiversity Challenge Badge develops the learners’ curiosity in the wonders of nature, encourages them to learn more, and drives them to take action to preserve the environment around them.

Multimedia Educational Resources

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  • Al Azhar Students’ Peer Tutoring: Promoting Hygienic Life and Children Healthcare among School-kids-  Al Azhar Islamic Junior High School - Page 28 - Conducted on a biannual basis, this tutoring programme is called SOMAS (Study Orientasi Masyarakat) or Society Oriented Study because its goal is to enable students to understand and respect people whose lives differ from theirs. It is also an opportunity for them to share their thoughts, knowledge, and learning with other members of society, especially underprivileged school children and their families. The students conduct peer tutoring to children in poor and remote area and help the village’s public healthcare center to promote hygiene. As a result, these activities build the students’ respect, responsibility, sensitivity and stimulate their learning within the social environment as well

Pedagogical Resources

Ideas for Classroom Activities

Multimedia Educational Resources

Get Inspired

  • It's about sustainability. Annual Sustainability Report Fayette County Public Schools (link is external)  - This model supports the national movement towards broader, more inclusive problem-solving in all areas of sustainability to equip schools for 21st century excellence. It pursues its aim in various ways: by reducing environmental impact and costs; by improving the health and wellness of schools, students and staff; and by providing environmental education, which teaches many disciplines, and is especially good at effectively incorporating STEM, civic skills, and green career pathways. The following is a summary of accomplishments and progress made by the Sustainability Team from January 2014 to December 2014.

Sources (https://en.unesco.org/themes/education/sdgs/material/15) (https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/selected-resources-sdg15.pdf)