Sharing projects, initiatives and materials from across the ELT World

Why we should all speak out for sustainability

Harry Waters, teacher, teacher trainer, materials writer and member of the ELT Footprint community, shares an insider's view on an interesting new materials-sharing initiative.
Harry Water

Why Sustainability?

For many years now, I’ve been creating class projects and designing syllabi around the idea of creating a better future for the planet. 

Around 5 years ago, I worked in a large private school in Seville, the city I now call home. I would build upcycling projects into my Cambridge Preparation classes, I put recycling boxes into every classroom to reduce waste paper to try and make a difference. 

The impact of those small actions may not have influenced other teachers, who continued chugging their water from 5-6 plastic cups a day. But they did have an effect on the students. They started making noise about the lack of recycling bins in the playground and wanted to make a change. 

This set the wheels in motion for me. I decided that with ELT’s enormous reach across the globe, we as professionals needed to be doing more. Not long after this glaring realisation, ELT footprint emerged as a kind light at the end of the tunnel. It showed me that there were a vast number of others who cared. It also gave me a name for my own free online climate change awareness course, Renewable English

While working on my course, I was also working as a trainer for the ELTon award winning Pearson and BBC’s Live Class project. My project manager and fearless leader, Ania Roslaniec, asked if I’d be interested in working on a sustainability project with Pearson and BBC studios. I jumped at the chance. It’s not often you get the opportunity to spread the word of sustainability to such a wide audience. I was delighted to see that publishers were taking climate change seriously and wanted to develop a way of getting it to as many people as possible. 

What is Speak Out for Sustainability?

As a team we decided the project needed to have a positive vibe. For too long the one section of a typical course book devoted to climate change was full of doom mongering. We decided that it needed to have a focus on what could be done, not on what was yet to be done. 

We divided the project into five monthly themes:

  • Carbon Footprint
  • Plastic and Litter 
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • Water Waste 
  • Deforestation

In each theme we’ll have videos from the BBC, readings, interviews with experts and stories about inspirational teens. There’ll also be a chance to be part of a truly international live class  – and much, much more. And, through it all, I’ll be the learning guide taking you on a journey to a more sustainable future.

Earth Day Live Event

If you’d like to find out more, join me and others on Thursday 22nd April at 15:00 (BST) for a live event, hosted by Jane Forrest, Global Marketing Director for English Language Teaching at Pearson. 

Click here to register for the live event.

Learn more about these projects I mentioned:

Communication can save the world

Harry has been involved in English teaching for over 14 years. He is a trainer for the ELTon award winning Pearson and BBC Live Classes project. His passion for teaching and obsession with sustainability led him to create Renewable English an online English course, providing free classes and materials aimed at raising climate change awareness across the globe. Harry is also a passionate teacher trainer. He describes himself as an imperfect environmentalist with a love of flags and funky second-hand shirts.

Renewable English logo

1 thought on “Why we should all speak out for sustainability”

  1. Harry, it is inspiring to be watching you growing with the passion for teaching about sustainability. Every little step matters, and you are fearless to be taking so many of them. AR

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts

Act now – together

Phil Hazell shares a powerful and personal post about what galvanised her into taking action on climate change and how she and her colleagues are advocating for, and bringing about change in their workplace.

Read Post »


Katherine Bilsborough and Ceri Jones extend an invitation to join in a new ELT Footprint campaign collecting examples of Can-do statements that straddle environmental competencies and linguistic learning outcomes.

Read Post »
Scroll to Top