Increased Climate Change Awareness in Schools through eco-mapping Process

Students, teachers and the whole school community in 20 schools in Java have improved their awareness of climate change impacts by implementing the methodology of eco-mapping, which is a combined process of a visualized audit method and an integration of CC aspects into day-today school life. 

GIZ PAKLIM project supports the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the Ministry of Culture and Elementary and Secondary Education in the implementation of climate change actions and learning in schools, by using the methodology of eco-mapping. This educational approach was first piloted in 2013 in 50 high schools across Java. Twenty have finalized the first cycle of the process in early 2015, and are now ready to move forward. The approach aims to raise students’ awareness of sustainable development issues through classroom study as well as school and community action.

Focus lies on preserving natural resources and reducing GHG emissions. The school ground is seen as an integral part of the pedagogical process. Greening the school grounds, reducing water and saving energy, working with the community and other groups and institutions of the society, developing new teaching and training methods that aim to more participation of all school members, especially the students – these are main pillars for our concepts. Starting with themes such as Water, Waste/Litter and Energy, students will go on to develop knowledge of other thematic areas, such as Nature and Biodiversity, School Grounds, Transport/Sustainable Mobility, Healthy Living, Noise, and Climate Change.

The eco-mapping process is designed around the Ecomapping© toolbox, based on the Curricula Mapping approach and supports teachers in facilitating a student centered experimental learning approach within a first cycle timeline of approximately 9 – 12 month. The eco-mapping process consists of five steps: Socialization – Initial Audit – Follow Up on Action Plan – Performance Check – Final Audit.

In the pilot schools during the initial audit, students used Ecomapping© toolbox to analyze school environment. Based on ten thematic categories, feeding data into the key themes Water and Waste Management, Energy efficiency and Sustainable Consumption, 40 students were divided in ten teams, each equipped with maps, tablets, cameras, ‘hands on’ guidance and templates to collect data related to the respective key themes. For example, Energy Data Hunter team located all energy consuming devices on the compound and clustered them by technology, use and location, collected electricity consumption data, collected data and information on other energy consumed by the school, analyzed the data, and identified target items and outlined strategies. In this way all results of the initial audit were utilized in the work process which led into a first action plan. The action plans showed the identified areas of action (waste, energy, water, sustainable consumption, etc.) and were broken down into simple milestones, and agreed activities to reach those. Always following the three areas of a) measurement and monitoring with own means, b) facilitating (effective teaching through hands on inquiry learning methods and units) as well as c) implementation of the actual Greenhouse Gases (GHG) reduction measures.

20 schools finalized the 1st cycle successfully and are ready to develop their next year’s action plan on the way to continuous improvement. It became very clear, that even though we are working with the whole-school approach, which means that tackling complex problems and driving them into changes, need to be backed by the whole-school community including parents and government officials, not only the teachers - main responsibilities lies with the teachers as the facilitator of action learning, meaning linking student centered class room teaching with real-life actions in and around the schools. Further, the eco-mapping process is an effort of the schools to help reach the Indonesians environmental and climate goals of reducing GHG emissions of 26% compared to the business as usual scenario up to 41% with international help, which might seems not so significant for each school, but could be huge considering the number of schools in Indonesia.

Over time and through commitment to the eco-mapping process, improvements are expected to be seen in the students’ learning outcomes, as well as in attitude and behavior of students and the local community and ultimately the local environment.