Global footprints

This unit of work, Global footprints, explores the concepts of sustainable futures, global or ecological footprints and personal and social responsibility.

Narrative texts used are the children’s picture book The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley, written by Colin Thompson and illustrated by Amy Lissiat; a factual text and video in ‘Ida’s story’, the story of a mother of seven children living in Burundi; and the short novel Blueback: A fable for all ages by Tim Winton.

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu performing at St George’s Church, Brighton, May 2009. Photo by Greg Neate, CC BY 2.0

Above: A male Eastern Blue Groper (Achoerodus viridis) with escorts, Shelly Beach, Manly, NSW by Richard Ling CC BY-SA 2.0

Australian curriculum links

The general capabilities emphasised in this unit of work are literacy, critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability and intercultural understanding. This unit addresses the cross-curriculum priority Sustainability.

See how this unit relates to Australian Curriculum: English content descriptions and NSW Syllabus outcomes.


This unit provides opportunities to explore the ideas that:

  • cooperative and collaborative processes support sustainability at all levels
  • reducing our global footprint is the responsibility of all
  • individuals can and do make a difference.

Teaching and learning activities

  1. Introduce the unit with ideas for collaborative learning
  2. Using the world’s resources
  3. Sustainability and activities for Ida’s Story and Blueback
  4. Creating a sustainable future

For the teacher

The Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative website (now archived) was and remains an excellent source of background information.

Refer to Global Perspectives: A framework for global education in Australian schools (.pdf 3 MB) for guidance for global perspectives within and across learning areas, and advice for teachers and school leaders on how to implement the framework. Refer to the Sustainability Curriculum Framework – A guide for curriculum developers and policy makers for how education for sustainability may be incorporated into curriculum from Kindergarten to Year 10.

Watch this clip with Professor Phillip Cam and students on the teaching of philosophy at primary school level.

Note that print downloads do not include updates applied online, including curriculum changes over time and should be used with caution:    .doc 966 kB    |    .pdf 452 kB    |   Copyright