Think H2O! – An educational partnership to raise students’ awareness of the water challenges
Summary, in English
Introduction: To secure future access to safe water is one of the most important sustainability challenges, on local and global level. Water is a cause of conflict and cooperation in an increasingly complex world. This crucial challenge requires a transdisciplinary approach (Segalàs & Tejedor, 2013) and extensive educational efforts and continuous engagement of many different stakeholders and actors. Sydvatten AB and Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS) cooperate in several educational projects Sydvatten is a non-profit, municipality-owned company that produces drinking water for 900,000 residents in the south of Sweden and has a long-term responsibility to ensure future supply of drinking water for this region. LUCSUS is a university platform for education, research and cooperation inside and outside academia on questions related to sustainable development.
Objectives: This paper gives an example of how different stakeholders and actors can work together in educational projects to highlight the value of water and to increase young people’s awareness, knowledge and understanding of water issues. More specifically the project aims to demonstrate the wide range of topics within water challenges and to encourage students to further education or engagement to promote sustainable development within the water sector.
Methods: In the long-term project Think H2 O! Sydvatten offers teachers and their students in upper secondary school, a scholarship for a two-day watercourse at lake Bolmen, which is one of the most important resources for drinking water in Sweden. The course activities are a mix of workshops, lectures, role-play, experiments, canoeing, camping and outdoor cooking. The teachers and facilitators are from LUCSUS, Sydvatten, Vildmarksgymnasiet (the local Wilderness school) and the local business Tiraholms Fisk. The many partners involved give the students access to different competencies, skills and experiences. Master students at Lund University have developed some of the teaching material.
Results: This collaboration emphasizes the transdisciplinary aspects of water, which increase the pedagogical value. The results are based on three pilot groups during 2014, with totally 150 students. The students’ evaluations demonstrate increased awareness of the value of water and a deeper understanding of the complexity of water challenges.
Conclusion: The promising results show the great potential of the project and during 2015 another 500 students will be invited to participate. Despite the difficulties to evaluate the lasting effects, it is the intention of Sydvatten, the funder, to expand the project to a long-term investment. Due to demanding future sustainability challenges, it is Sydvatten’s and LUCSUS’ responsibility, as community stakeholders, to promote greater public awareness of the value of water. The project Think H2 O! is an example of social responsibility of actors in the public sector.
Keywords: education, partnership, water challenges, value of water
- LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Conference paper: abstract
- Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
World Environmental Education Congress
2015-06-29 - 2015-07-02