Climate Change and Home Economics
Climate change affects human activities and natural environments now and particularly in the future. Most of the emissions caused by individuals come from housing, transport and food. Home economics class is an excellent place to practice knowledge and skills essential to fight climate change. Therefore, home economics plays an important role in understanding climate change in-depth and building a climate-friendly world.
New Ways of Consumption and Economic Systems to tackle Climate Change
Our role as consumers is an almost inevitable part of active citizenship. Critical consumption and building new sustainable economic systems can also offer opportunities to tackle climate change.
Food has many sorts of Effects on the Climate
The most hands-on topic related to climate change in home economics class is naturally food, which often stimulates a lively debate. Advice on how to eat healthy comes from many sources and it might be hard to know what to believe. Often the most sustainable food is also the most affordable and healthiest option. Things are not always black and white, however the following rules of thumb can be helpful:
- Food that is eaten is better than wasted food.
- Vegetables are more sustainable than animal products.
- Open-field farming is more sustainable than greenhouse cultivation.
- Organically farmed is better than conventionally grown.
- Locally (open-field) grown is better than exported (open-field) grown.
The following chapters look at the topic from different angles.
Climate Change Impacts on Housing
Climate change impacts on housing vary depending on the country, climate and building standards. This text discusses the climate effects on housing in cold countries like Finland.
Home Economics Teachers as Climate Educators
Home economics class provides an excellent opportunity to practice various skills required in daily life and climate change mitigation. Food and housing contribute more than half to an individual’s carbon footprint, so cooking tasty plant-based food, tackling food waste and investing in energy efficiency should play an important role in households, without compromising the quality of life.
At the same it is worthwhile to discuss wider and more complex issues behind consumer choices in order to put individual steps into perspective. The food industry causes emissions throughout the entire supply chain, from field to table. A national food waste prevention strategy – à la Denmark – can cut waste by thousands of tonnes a year, and demand for renewable energy encourages the building of new green power stations.
Climate-related topics are so closely tied to home economics that it makes sense to bring them up on a regular basis whenever possible. Here are some ideas on how to practice climate-friendly skills in class: