Sustainability? Production, Consumption and Waste in the Modern World

Elizabeth Lasure, Visual Arts, Mallard Creek High School

Final Unit (PDF)

Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)

200 Word Synopsis

My students know themselves as consumers in a world of excess. This is an important step in introducing a unit of study that will require them to think critically about our world and effects of the production, consumption, and waste that they are a part of.  Under the broader theme of art as social commentary, this unit will attempt to explore some of the following key questions:  Do artists have a role in reflecting and commenting on the society in which they live?  Should artists provoke divergent points of view about such political, moral or other social issues? What are the pressing issues that our community/school/ nations/ world are currently confronting? What tools might an artist use to best depict one of these current issues in order to promote a constructive discussion?

To be strong critical thinkers, it is important for my students to be well rounded, inclusive, and reflective in their view of themselves and the world they inhabit. The work in this unit will ask my student to look at scientific data, literature, and a video lectures series to understand the links between consumer culture and environmental problems. We will trace cause and effect chains as we explore personal consumption, models for change (locally and nationally), and global action that has attempted to address industry standards. At the end of this unit we will read and talk about idea for simple living and sustainable consumption. I will introduce a final concept called our ‘cultural footprint’.