Global environmental sustainability priorities

Read the introductions to the United Nations Environmental Program’s six priorities:  

Climate change

Disasters and conflicts 

Ecosystems management

Environmental governance

Hazardous substances

Resource efficiency


How can communities address global environmental concerns?

Below are the stories of several Peace Corps Volunteers who are working with communities on environmental issues.

For each issue, consider how it relates to your own community. Then view the Peace Corps Volunteer story for a specific example of how a community worked to address the issue.


Issue: Species Conservation

Find an endangered species that lives in your state using the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Program’s website. Search for the species on the NatureServe websiteand read about its conservation status.

View the slide show Tracking Turtles in the Western Pacific.

Which actions the community used could help protect endangered species where you live?


Issue: Waste Production and Disposal 

Review the Environmental Protection Agency's statistics on municipal waste production in the United States.

What trends do you notice in the amount and types of waste Americans generate each year?

View one or more of the stories listed under Building Communities One Bottle at a Time to learn how communities in Guatemala are creatively reusing waste materials.

What are some ways you could reuse waste materials in your community?  Visit the EPA's What You Can Do page for ideas.


Issue: Climate Change and Energy Use

Renewable energies like solar, wind, and hydropower can provide alternatives to burning fossil fuels, which scientists largely agree contribute to global climate change. Look at the climate change map.

View the slide show from Costa Rica, Sustained by the Sun.


Identifying issues of community concern 

View the slide show below to learn how youth in Costa Rica identified environmental issues to address in their communities.

Community survey

Working with a partner or small team, conduct some preliminary research to identify an environmental issue in your community. Your information sources can include local news sources, local government websites, personal interviews of community members, and personal observations.

Once your team has selected an issue, conduct further in-depth research and create a one-page fact sheet describing the problem to community members and recommending at least five actions to help address it.

Compile all of the fact sheets your class creates to provide an overview of key environmental issues affecting your community. If possible, come up with a way to publicize your findings or take action using some of the recommendations identified.