Date of Graduation
Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
As human driven climate change continues to alter our planet, persuading the general public to adopt sustainable living practices has become increasingly important. Storytelling has long been a part of human culture, and recent studies have emphasized the power of storytelling to influence the audience as a means of changing behavior. This project attempted to teach sustainable principles to primary school children through the creation of a scientific children’s book. The book communicated the maxim of “reduce, reuse, recycle” by tracing a fictitious story of a town where children frequently buy new toys and throw the old toys away. The book explores the supply chain of toys and the market forces of supply and demand, focusing on the consumer’s responsibility to not over-consume, i.e “reduce”. It also presents the concept of “reusing” and “recycling” as alternatives to disposal of old toys. The book was evaluated for age appropriate language and concepts for K-5 students and adjusted to meet educational standards. It was then tested by reading it to a classroom of 2nd grade students. A discussion with the students following the reading showed that they understood the theme of the book and how they could apply it to their own lives. The project also included a life cycle analysis (LCA) of a stuffed animal, a representative toy from the story. The LCA showed that the largest contributors to the stuffed animal’s impacts were the production of cotton used for its outer layer and the electricity used in its assembly. It also showed the impacts most damaging to human health were chiefly a result of the fossil fuels used to provide process energy.
Sustainability, LCA, Supply Chain, Education, Engineering, Literature
Cheek, Linden, "Sustainability Children's Book" (2018). Biological and Agricultural Engineering Undergraduate Honors Theses. 50.