Global warming, climate change, and environmental degradation have created the need to do many things related to shopping for and managing a home in new ways. How many of these essential skills are being taught? How many young people realize that actions to reduce global warming can also save money?

Following are a few sample areas as a starting point for exploration that illustrate skills now needed to make financial, home management, and relationship decisions as an adult, spouse, and parent. Would these work in your courses?

The following are a few example questions that might help initiate or deepen student discussion and exploration – 

Personal Energy Use Questions

  • What can you do to reduce GHG emissions from your home and activities?
  • How does energy impact your budget?
  • What can you do to reduce your use of fossil fuels?
    • 1° change in thermostat=3% lower heat bill)
  • How can you reduce electricity use?
    • Examples: turn off lights when not needed; use LED or CFL lamps
    • Note: Most of our electricity is generated with fossil fuels.
  • What can you do to make your meals more sustainable?
  • How can we avoid buying products that contribute to global warming and climate change or harm the environment, health, or workers?
    • How can we research these things?
    • What are the alternatives?

Public Policy & Energy Use Questions 

  • What part does energy play in global warming and the climate crisis?
  • How can we better utilize public transportation instead of cars?
  • How can we research these things?

Science and technical information have become increasingly important, especially in understanding phenomena such as global warming, and much of that information uses the metric system. (And many products in the U.S. are already being sold in metric units.) Students whose classes include studying the metric system may have an advantage, and Family & Consumer Science is one of the subject areas where teaching the metric system makes sense. You might want to discuss why most people throughout the world use the metric system, and follow up with some quick exercises, such as the following sample activities.

  • Translate an existing recipe to metric units and then follow the recipe.
  • Follow a recipe that uses only metric units for weight, volume, and temperature.

Big Ideas

  • Including environmental costs makes decision-making more complex, but adds an important dimension for responsible members of society.
  • Many everyday decisions impact carbon footprint and global warming—decisions about what food, cleaning products, and clothing to buy, as well as decisions about transportation, heating, and lighting.

Additional resources for Family & Consumer Science

Additional resources on the Metric System, including free classroom resources.

Also see Resources That Apply To Many Subject Areas and Teacher-Recommended Readings for Students.