Educational Materials on Sustainability, Circular Economy and Bioeconomy for Schools, Colleges and Universities

João, Elsa (2020) Educational Materials on Sustainability, Circular Economy and Bioeconomy for Schools, Colleges and Universities. BE-Rural Project, Berlin, Germany.

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A key aim of BE-Rural is to increase awareness and understanding of bioeconomy, sustainability and circular economy through education. This report includes a variety of educational resources that can be used by teachers. It is possible to envisage that geography, biology, environmental studies, technology and/or business classes could integrate some of these resources as part of their teaching, but it is up to the teachers to decide how they are best used. The bioeconomy is the production of goods, services or energy using biological material as the main resource, instead of the use of fossil resources. As the bioeconomy uses renewable and biodegradable resources, it can avoid the depletion of resources and waste is often completely designed out of the system. The European Union is taking steps towards a sustainable bioeconomy and has a strategy to promote the bioeconomy and to avoid reaching ecological limits. The sustainability implications of the bioeconomy, and of specific bio-based products, permeates all the learning materials and explicit reference is often made to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The material covered in this report is mostly aimed at teachers of high school pupils (in the 12-18 age range) in Bulgaria, Latvia, North Macedonia, Poland and Romania to help them teach their pupils on bioeconomy, circular economy and sustainability. To facilitate this, the material in this report is translated into Bulgarian, Latvian, Macedonian, Polish and Romanian. The educational materials in this report also aim to promote the participation in the development of regional bioeconomy strategies, which is the overall aspiration of BE-Rural. The educational resources build upon a “strong sustainability” approach, with avoidance of trade-offs between social, economic and environmental issues. This fits with the ecological limits advocated by the European bioeconomy strategy. This report presents the four main outputs in terms of high school education for bioeconomy, circular economy and sustainability developed for the BE-Rural project as follows: • Output 1 - Review of 100 free online educational resources • Output 2 - New power point slides for presentations with notes for teachers • Output 3 - New workshops, quizzes and games • Output 4 - New extracurricular activities (such as school clubs or societies) It was important to review what resources already exist. The 100 free online educational resources show the richness of resources already available and provides teachers with a list of resources that they may want to use in their teaching. Another key output is power point slides for use by teachers. They include material on “Introduction to the bioeconomy”, “Bioeconomy and key principles of sustainability”, “Bioeconomy and SDGs (and respective targets)”, “Bioeconomy and the Circular Economy”, “Bioeconomy in the agriculture sector”, “Bioeconomy in the forestry sector”, “Bioeconomy in the fisheries sector”, and “Bioeconomy in the sector of essential oils and herbs for cosmetics/pharmaceuticals”. Games can make students become more involved in their learning, so in addition to the lecture sides, these educational materials include games, quizzes and workshops related to bioeconomy, sustainability, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and circular economy. Finally, extracurricular activities (such as school clubs or societies) provide a unique opportunity to bring new or additional content in terms of bioeconomy, circular economy, and/or SDGs and Sustainability, and so suggestions for those are also included. The report concludes with final thoughts and how best to deliver learning materials online. As a response to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the report discusses online delivery of materials. The EU aims to build the world’s leading bioeconomy and raising awareness of the value of bioeconomy and how it relates to sustainability is fundamental. The BE-Rural educational resources included in this report intend to contribute to this essential aspect.