YouthXchange educational materials explain complex issues in accessible and everyday language, supported by facts, graphics, case studies and concrete examples of sustainable consumption, along with lists of resources for further information. These educational materials show the clear connection between the way people live and act in society and the wider complex issue of sustainable development and the environment. They also help young people develop the critical skills they need to address environmental challenges through their everyday choices and actions. These materials can be used to support courses and projects that promote a greater understanding of sustainable consumption and lifestyles. UNEP and UNESCO have developed the YouthXchange Training Kit on Responsible Consumption (also known as the guidebook), which has been translated into more than 20 languages. UNEP and UNESCO are also working on thematic and regional YouthXchange publications.
The YouthXchange Training Kit on Responsible Consumption is a train-the-trainer tool that provides statistics, case studies, games, examples of real companies going more sustainable, and direction on how explain sustainable lifestyles to a young audience. Topics include: food, leisure, travel and tourism, fashion and culture, experiences of other young people, as well as environmental challenges such as climate change, waste management and so forth. The fundamental message of this training kit is that change is possible through day-to-day actions and by joining forces with other young people that are engaged locally and globally. This training kit has been translated into more than 20 languages and continues to be used by young people and educators, in and outside of the classroom.
The YouthXchange thematic guidebooks aim to present global environmental challenges, such as climate change and biodiversity, to young people so they better understand how these challenges are linked to their lifestyles. Thematic guidebooks include:
- The YouthXchange Biodiversity and Lifestyles Guidebook (Communications Brochure, Guidebook) addresses the interrelatedness of our lifestyle choices and biodiversity, which underpins the health of our planet and has a direct impact on our lives. It makes young people conscious about how their choices affect biodiversity and what could be done to reduce the threats to biodiversity. Available in 2013.
- The YouthXchange Green Skills and Lifestyles Guidebook (Communications Brochure, Guidebook) is designed to help young people familiarize themselves with the green economy and the skills needed for a green economy. Available in January 2013.
- The YouthXchange Climate Change and Lifestyles Guidebook (Communications Brochure, Guidebook) explores the links between climate change and lifestyles and helps young people consider the actions they can take towards more sustainable lifestyles. It provides the scientific, political, economic, social and cultural perspectives of climate change while looking at the causes and effects of climate change and its human impacts and responses. Available in September 2011.
The YouthXchange regional guidebooks are adapted to the realities of the lifestyles of the various regions, with a particular focus on developing and emerging countries.
- The first regional guidebook is the YouthXchange training kit on responsible consumption for Africa. This new training kit for Africa is adapted for African youth and includes local, national and regional case studies and pictures on sustainable consumption and lifestyles in Africa.
UNEP and UNESCO welcome partnerships with organizations in the development of additional regional guidebooks, such as Asia and the Pacific, Europe, North America and Latin America & the Caribbean. Visit the Partners section for more information.
The YouthXchange Website
The bilingual (English, French) UNEP/UNESCO YouthXchange website (www.youthxchange.net) is filled with information and ideas for innovation, positive encouragement and inspiration on action for sustainable consumption and lifestyles. It is filled with more than 130 case studies on sustainable consumption, which help stimulate innovation and favour emulation. These positive examples have an illustrative value (making complex issues easy to understand), emotional value (through an intimate and personal approach of real people and experiences) and allow readers to see what has already been done. By linking theory and practice, the case studies allow readers to develop critical thinking skills.
The website is also filled with other tidbits of information that help teach and learn about sustainable consumption:
- facts & figures of statistics on the environment, basic needs (like housing and education) and other needs (tourism and media);
- the department store provides guidance on ethical products such as clothing, food, furniture, financial services and eco-friendly body care products;
- the career compass integrates sustainable consumption into professional life, with a list of organizations, businesses and individuals that integrate sustainable development in professional activities;
- the trainer’s room has examples of class work on different topics and how you can integrate sustainability issues into the class curricula, how to use the YXC website and suggestions for class activities putting theory into practice;
- test & play has fun ways to learn about sustainable consumption through games and quizzes; and
- links contains resources for further information.