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An ecological footprint for an early learning centre : identifying opportunities for early childhood sustainability education through interdisciplinary research

McNichol, Heidi, Davis, Julie M., & O'Brien, Katherine R. (2011) An ecological footprint for an early learning centre : identifying opportunities for early childhood sustainability education through interdisciplinary research. Environmental Education Research, 17(5), pp. 689-704.

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Abstract

In this study, engineers and educators worked together to adapt and apply the ecological footprint (EF) methodology to an early learning centre in Brisbane, Australia. Results were analysed to determine how environmental impact can be reduced at the study site and more generally across early childhood settings. It was found that food, transport and energy consumption had the largest impact on the centre’s overall footprint. In transport and energy, early childhood centres can reduce their impact through infrastructure and cultural change, in association with changed curriculum strategies. Building design, the type of energy purchased and appliance usage can all be modified to reduce the energy footprint. The transport footprint can be reduced through more families using active and public transport, which can be encouraged by providing information, support and facilities and appropriate siting of new centres. Introducing the concept of ecological footprint in early childhood education may be an effective way to educate children, staff and parents on the links between the food they eat, land usage and environmental impact. This study responds directly to the call in this journal for research focused on early childhood education and for more to be made of interdisciplinary research opportunities.

Impact and interest:

2 citations in Scopus
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2 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 45714
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: environmental issues, ecological footprint, early childhood, education for sustainabable development, sustainability, urban and built environments
DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2011.572161
ISSN: 1350-4622
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Education and Extension (050203)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Taylor & Francis
Deposited On: 06 Sep 2011 12:45
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2013 13:26

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