THE NINE THEMATIC ROOMS
The YXC website is articulated in 9 thematic rooms helping teachers to introduce sustainable consumption in their class activities. They have been conceived starting from young people lifestyles and carefully avoid any ‘top-down’ approach. They are:
01_respecting our bodies Respecting ourselves is the first step to respecting other people, the environment, and our planet. Nutrition, health and beauty are the three pillars of this room. Here you will be provided with examples on safer nutrition habits, healthy and eco-friendly solutions for a better use of cosmetics, medicines, safe sex, responsible sports, etc.
Accepting our body is also a first step for the construction of our identity. Especially among teens, body perception and representation could be not only the result of a personal choice but of a collective, social and sometime induced, if not forced, behaviour (e.g. eating disorders, genital mutilations, body bleaching, etc.).
Careful and harmless: How can we decode food and drugs labels? How can we reduce the invasive presence of chemicals in our daily life? How can we critically use role models?
Focused on body care and body perception, this room may be a very good starting point to argue about broader and international issues. For example, when speaking about nutrition, you can start with a case concerning junk food versus organic food, discuss the obesity problem (integrating the data available in the facts & figures section) and/or split to a class-work concerning hunger worldwide or monoculture effects over biodiversity.
Hence, the room content fit well into traditional educational areas such as health and well-being, biology, anthropology, as well as into history and economics.
02_packaging yourself Here we talk about creating interfaces. On the street, in the metro, at school, our way of looking is in many cases – before anything else - what we suggest of ourselves to others. But are we really choosing what we want to look like, or are we just reproducing stereotypes? What is the role of mass media in this process? The room deals with the different influences that may occur in building up our own image, the often hidden costs of textiles and apparels in terms of social and environmental impact (e.g. sweatshops, use of pesticides for vegetal fibre production, wild animal trade, etc.). It also suggests possible alternatives of ‘looking nice being good’ (e.g. recycling and reusing clothes, designing high-tech gadgets to last longer, etc.).
Get dressed without shame: What does fashion mean? What’s behind fashion industry? Am I paying for what?
The main pedagogical aim here is raising awareness about the persuasive power of the media in our daily choices. It also suggests how to reduce environmental and social impacts while being fashionable. This second room is an interesting starting point to deal with issues such as rights at work; advertising industry and youth ads exposure; importance of labels for consumers information (and hence consumers free choice); potential creative alternatives to the fashion industry proposals.
Hence, the room content fit well into traditional educational areas such as cultural studies, as well as into history and economics, science and technology (innovative textiles and electronic goods).
03_awakening your soul Building your own identity means also feeding your soul. How? Opening windows (comparing different cultures and believes), learning how to better express yourself (through artistic and spiritual activities, sustainable hobbies, etc.), and re-thinking your real needs (seeds of simplicity). This room also deals with dangers that can occur in this process: spiritual exploitation, fundamentalism, and hidden persuaders (e.g. mass advertising). These often offer you simplistic and tricky ‘solutions’. Examples are provided to avoid this kind of traps.
Making yourself priceless: what do I really wish? Can creative activities help me in my spiritual journey? How can I protect myself against fake-faith sellers?
Our needs are not only material. This room underlines the importance of culture and spirituality as fundamental tools building up young peoples personalities. Here teachers could find several examples to stimulate students’ critical thinking and to feed a culture of dialogue against intolerance.
Hence, the room contents fit well into traditional educational areas such as cultural studies, as well as into history, economics, arts education, and moral education/ethics.
04_looking for a place Growing up also means taking responsibility about the place you live in or you are looking for. This room crosses issues only apparently different: housing, moving around/away, being forced elsewhere. The first topic – housing - is about creating your nest in the most eco-friendly, socially committed way; the second one – moving around/away - deals with mobility impacts and tourism; the third one – forced elsewhere - focuses on immigrants and refugees.
My planet home: which kind of place, house, nest? How to move around/away? A roof for all: utopia or achievable goal?
This room considers your own place as a basic need of where to feel safe and protected. This need must be guaranteed not only at home, but to everybody else when visiting a place for tourism or hosting people coming from elsewhere (like immigrants and refugees). This also implies a respectful and efficient approach in terms of mobility (e.g. walking and biking, car sharing, etc.). This room lays the foundations of sustainable communities. In pedagogical terms, it clearly shows the connections between an individual basic need and its implications on a global scale.
Hence, the room content fit well into traditional educational areas such as social studies (geography, history, and sociology), cultural studies (anthropology, local heritage, politics), as well as into economics, science and technology (sustainable building), and home making workshops.
05_carrying the torch Here we mainly deal with education (formal and informal), tackling illiteracy, memory dogwatch and traditional knowledge, inter-cultural and inter-generational exchange. This room also underlines access to information as an important need and suggests examples on how to use the media to make your voice heard. Last but not least, ‘carrying the torch’ also considers how to create a family on a responsible basis.
Learning, an ever-lasting process: How to reduce the North-South gap in education? How could education safeguard cultural diversity? How to teach sustainable consumption?
The room underlines the role of education in developing critical thinking and sense of citizenship among youth. It compares different school experiences worldwide and shows how affordable information and intellectual development can make the difference at individual and community/national level. Education is also considered as the main tool to tackle poverty and to encourage people to switch to more sustainable lifestyles.
Hence, the room content fit well into traditional educational areas such as languages, anthropology, communication, local heritage, media literacy, as well as into economics, science and technology (namely informatics and ecology).
06_clean up your fun Having fun and enjoying our free time are fundamental elements of youth’s social life. Moreover, entertainment and leisure activities (sport, music, theatre, cinema, comics, etc.) could be excellent means raising citizenship awareness. Here you will find examples on how to have more fun being sustainable: no-waste parties, zero emissions venues, etc. This thematic room also underlines the importance of fun to enhance solidarity (e.g. practicing sports as a non-competitive, socially inclusive activity).
Play the right way: Can I act as responsible consumer while having fun?
Sustainability is often perceived as an important, but boring topic. This room tries to demonstrate the opposite: it is very much possible, in fact, to have fun while being sustainable. Several best practises are displayed as examples to help youth to reduce environmental and social impact of leisure activities.
Hence, the room content fit well into traditional educational areas such as anthropology, communication, local heritage, arts & crafts, as well as into economics, science and technology.
07_social belonging The core concepts of this room are those of ‘citizenship’ and ‘participation’ to community life. Here you will find case studies concerning social and political rights (e.g. labour access, social protection, gender mainstreaming, peace and justice). New commitments and innovative community models are also examined through examples of volunteering activities, e-networks and urban design-for-all programmes.
Stronger together: Simply consumers or committed citizens? How to get informed about my rights? How to get in touch and act together?
The room shows the added value of networking: citizens can learn how to contribute reorienting local policies toward sustainability. Examples are given of initiatives to tackle discrimination, and how volunteering can play an important role in designing inclusive societies.
Hence, the room content fit well into traditional educational areas such as civics, sociology, geography, history, moral education/ethics, anthropology, communication, politics, economics, and ecology.
08_pay the right price The room focuses on the hidden costs (environmental, social and economic) of our production and consumption patterns. It is also about consumers’ right to be informed, to freely choose and to exercise their power (e.g. through ethical and ecolabels, fair trade, boycotts, etc.). Finally, the ‘financing sustainability’ section gives examples on how money could even become fair (e.g. ethical banking, micro-credit, etc.).
Not just for money…: What is behind a product/service? What make up prices and what do I pay for? How can I get informed before purchasing? Can I influence companies’ behaviours?
The room aims at showing that money is not the only value to be considered. A product is not just a product: it tells us about people who have produced it, cultures behind it, environment preserved or destroyed producing, distributing, using and dismantling it… Tons of facts & figures’ about waste, water, natural resources use, pollution, etc. are here displayed to help teachers making visible the impact of our consumption patterns.
Hence, the room content fit well into traditional educational areas such as economics, finance, management, marketing, statistics, as well as into sociology, geography, moral education/ethics, communication, media literacy, politics, and ecology.
09_looking ahead Learning about the relation between energy consumption and climate change, making the link between access to energy and poverty, showing how simple alternatives can make a big change! This thematic room emphasises the role of innovation and creativity moving towards a better world. Case studies on science and technology issues (such as access to information and friendly ICT), conventional versus renewable energy sources, and existing alternatives (as ‘real utopias’) are presented.
Change now!: What’s the impact of technology on my every day life? What are my energy consumption needs and their impact on the environment? How could we overcome the digital divide?
The room gives teachers an instrument to fuel youth enthusiasm! After having analysed complex issues, showing their negative impacts, here we provide examples of innovative alternatives, underlying that creative changes are made possible not only through high-tech but also through low tech, simple, ingenious solutions.
Hence, the room content fit well into traditional educational areas such as agronomics, biology, chemistry, ecology, geography, informatics, mathematics, natural sciences, physics, as well as into economics, statistics, sociology, moral education/ethics, communication, media literacy, politics, and ICT training workshop.