Aims (U-S-A = Understand-Share- Act)

1. To promote ‘big picture’ systems thinking, species -level awareness and ‘global consciousness’  by providing ideas and resources relevant to a sustainable future for ‘Spaceship Earth’ and related metaphors.

2. To help educators and others to develop ‘glocal’ community action around the notion of ‘thinking, globally and acting locally’ based on ‘big picture’ critical thinking, teaching, action learning and creative problem-solving.

3. To share current information and resources (blogs, workshops, courses, print and visual materials) about relevant issues & practice.

Target Groups  

All who are concerned about the future well-being of people and planet: Students; Teachers; Principals; Teacher educators; Citizens.


Collaborative ‘glocal’ action is about taking action to preserve the health and sustainability of ‘Spaceship Earth’ our planetary home. Such action can take many forms and there is already much good practice in environmental and ecological education in both schools and universities around the world. The internet is already a rich source of learning for a sustainable future as the LINKS heading on the menu of this website indicates.

Our focus is on the planet as a whole, hence the metaphor of a finite spaceship, our home, which is at present becoming seriously damaged. The damage is from the accelerating exponentially growing impact of human activity (In short from –  ‘The Machine World’). Indeed, Spaceship Earth is considered by many serious scientists to be already too full (‘overshoot’) of humans and fossil fuel-dependent technology to have a sustainable future.  This perspective comes from several subject disciplines that build a ‘big picture’ of the fundamental conflict between two worlds:

  • ‘Machine World’ exponentially-driven growth constructed by human technology in the search for material affluence (cities; financial systems; cyberspace; transport infrastructure; the electronic environment; etc.) that comprise modern civilization developed over the last 12 generations.
  • ‘Natural World’ the self-regulating web of life and the planetary systems that sustain it (the sun’s energy, water, air, soil, minerals, etc.) that have evolved over the last 4.5 billion years to achieve stability by balancing growth and decline.

We offer many links and resources that relate to this fundamental problem. They help us to identify, analyze, take collaborative project-based action with a global perspective in the local community to create a sense of agency and hope. 

Planning Student Projects for ‘Glocal’ Action

Depending on the context and the people involved a typical sequence of stages might be:

Phase 1: Needs identification – Small groups of students identify global (”Spaceship Earth”) issues that can be related to local needs to discover on what to focus their actions.

Phase 2: Deep analysis preceding action planningthe teacher helps the students reach a deeper understanding of their identified themes. This can include contacting experts and local organizations, as well as acquiring various resources.

Phase 3: Action Planning – The student groups plan action in the form of a project that they create, e.g. to:

  • make presentations and seminars within and outside their institutions about Spaceship Earth, Ecological Footprints; Reducing carbon emissions; Future Scenarios Research; etc.
  • use the internet and social media to provide relevant links to some of the world’s best scientists and researchers; e.g. www.TED.com which has short presentation with sub-titles in various languages
  • lobby local politicians about ‘glocal’ action needs that students have identified;
  • promote local environmental and recycling initiatives and relate them to a sustainable global future;
  •  provide voluntary support for relevant NGOs; etc.

Phase 4: Action and formative evaluation – The project is implemented with continuing evaluation. Students and teachers reflect critically on their community action in order to learn and improve their impact and to build confidence and hope.


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