[semester equivalent = 4.00 credits]



Charity Staudenraus



Climate change, school shootings, political gridlock, a fragile global economy, persistent racism, unending conflicts in the middle east! We’re at a critical, transitional time in our communities, our country and the world. Each of us needs to decide what our commitment is to making the world a better place. This is not only a moral calling, but it’s good teaching to involve ourselves and our students in being aware, caring and making a difference. The recent state-wide teacher walk-outs and the national student mobilizations in response to the tragedies in Parkland, Florida speak of a renewed faith in the power of taking a stand for what we believe is good and just.   

Participants in this course for teachers grades 5-12 will explore a variety of critical issues (help for animals, saving the environment, dealing with racism) using our text (It’s Your World: If You Don’t Like It Change It), and a variety of websites including Facing the Future, Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream, Facing History and Ourselves and many more. Participants will be exposed to a large variety of resources to develop projects of choice that get their students into action for what has heart and meaning. 

Text is about $10 in Kindle or paperback on Amazon. This course has been developed by Mike Seymour, Heritage Institute President, and will be facilitated by Charity Staudenraus. 


LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  • Learned that the major problems in our world today (environmental, social justice, spiritual health and wellness) are all inter-related.
  • Explored areas of action such as animal welfare, saving the environment, fighting racism
  • Connected to their deeper feelings about the critical nature of our times.
  • Prepared lesson plans, activities and resources that will help get their students into action in making the world a better place.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participant’s their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), or Washington State Clock Hours or Oregon PDUs. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours and Oregon PDUs.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering determine with your district personnel, department head or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



  • It's Your World--If You Don't Like It, Change It: Activism for Teenagers
    ISBN# 9780689874482
    by Halpin, Mikki
    Simon Pulse

    Buy from Amazon




CHARITY STAUDENRAUS, M.A.T, received her BA from Willamette University, her MAT from Willamette University. Charity has experience teaching math, science, social studies, business, and language courses at the middle and high school level.  She is currently serving on the 2014-2017 Oregon Science Content and Assessment Panel as well as the Oregon Instructional Materials Criteria Development Committee.  In addition Charity is consulting on a Rutgers University and WPI project funded through multiple Department of Education and National Science Foundation Grants.



General Web Sites for Environmental and Justice Issues Issues:


Facing the Future:

This site has lots of information about global issues, mostly now on population, as other dimensions are not yet available.  Check out their site on Creative Action with several projects around the world you and your class can get involved with.  More projects are presented under the Sticky Teaching area (accessed from the home page).


This is a sort of on-line, alternative news and opinion provider on many big issues, including the environment, women’s issues of marginalization or abuse, racism and more.  As there are many articles on these pages, it’s necessary to filter through and decide which parts of the site could be helpful.  Coverage is usually current.

Rethinking Schools

This is one of the all-time great education organizations devoted to issues of social justice, with many great articles on-line in back issues.  I am particularly impressed with Bill Bigelow’s list of videos which cover such subjects.


Global Oneness Project  ( is an excellent source of beautifully done video stories that relate to many of the issues in this course.


Direct Action Web Sites

The Hunger site:

Clicking daily on the various pages of this site gets sponsors to donate to these causes.


International Campaign for Tibet:

Current news, major issues and campaigns and suggestions on who to write to.



Another  great  list  of  environmental,  human rights  and health  issues  and  campaigns  with informative write-ups and actions to take.



Exclusively oriented to bio-regions which are in danger and need are help to protect.  The site gives good coverage of the areas and issues and ways to write e-mails to key decision-makers.

Congress.Org-America Reacts:

This is another terrific site because you can type in your ZIP code and get connected to your state officials in federal office and also (on the left menu bar) scan a host of national and regional issues, the legislation that may be pending and who to write to with your opinions.


Youth Organizations is an online community that connects youth to find inspiration, access information, get involved, and take action in their local and global communities. It's the world's most popular online community for young people interested in making a difference, with hundreds of thousands of unique visitors each month.


Youth in Action Network: Ways for youth globally to connect around issues concerning a better world.


Media Literacy

Media Awareness Network This is the home page for the Media-Awareness site. It is a Canadian site so it has perhaps better perspective towards the media topic. This site is incredible for media literacy and issues with advertising and consumption. It has an enormous selection of lessons, activities, handouts and other resources.


TheRealNews network

The Real News Network is a television news and documentary network focused on providing independent and uncompromising journalism.


Link TV

Link TV broadcasts programs that engage, educate and activate viewers to become involved in the world. These programs provide a unique perspective on international news, current events, and diverse cultures, presenting issues not often covered in the U.S. media. The organization connects American viewers with people at the heart of breaking events, organizations in the forefront of social change and the cultures of an increasingly global community.



A great, over-arching network of alternative media resources including a magazine, blogs, videos and networking all powered by grass-roots writers and activists covering all aspects of  society, but mostly political, social, environmental subjects and whatever relates to these.


Publications & Books

Yes! Magazine: This is the page for YES magazine discussion guides. Each selection informs about topics from previous magazine editions. It is a good source for students.


Hawken, Paul.  2008. Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World. Penguin Books, NY. 352 pages. Cost: $7 used on

President Bill Clinton called Paul Hawken's last book, Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution (Little, Brown. September 1999) one of the five most important books in the world today. Blessed Unrest belongs in the same category.

Korten, David. C. 2003. The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community. Berrett-Koehler. San Francisco. 402 pages Cost: $6 used,

David Korten's classic bestseller, When Corporations Rule the World, was one of the first books to articulate the destructive and oppressive nature of the global corporate economy. Now, ten years later, Korten shows that the problem runs deeper than corporate domination-with far greater consequences. The Great Turning shows the significance of this time in history, along with the agricultural revolution of over 10,000 years ago and the industrial revolution of 300 years ago.

Ray, Paul and Anderson, Sharon. 2001. The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World. Three Rivers Press. New York. 384 pages. Cost: $5 used, amazon.

According to sociologist and researcher Paul Ray, Cultural Creatives (who number at least 50 million in the USA and many more globally), are changing society,. This text provides an inside look at the demographics and attitudes behind one of the most significant social movements in human history.


Earth & People-Friendly Fund-Raisers or Service Projects    


Café Humana (coffee fund-raiser)


Custom Printed Shopping Bags (for fund-raising)


Recycling for Charities (funds from recycled electronics to charity of choice)


Recycled Phones (raise funds by recycling cell phones)


Catalog Choice-Eliminate Unwanted Catalogs (reduce catalogs sent home. Could be done as a classroom project)


Nourish the Children: donations of nutritious foods for malnourished children                                        


Kiva: Microcredit lending, person to person


Sustainability & Simplicity

Durning, Alan; Ryan, John. 1997. Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things (new Report , No 4). Seattle.  NW Environment Watch.  88 pages

Documenting a day in the life of the average North American consumer, Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things deconstructs the American Dream by unraveling the hidden costs behind the objects around us. From our morning cup of Columbian coffee to our South Korean-made sneakers, the book traces the environmental impact of the consumer decisions most of us make without thinking.


Elgin, Duane. 1993. Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life that is Outwardly Simple and Inwardly Rich. William Morrow & co. New York.

This is the original classic text on the importance of choosing simpler, more meaningful life.


The Story of Stuff  ( with Annie Leonard is a light-hearted and informative online review in story form of the destructive life-cycle of our product system. Happily, there are also many strategies presented that are working toward a better world and which provide opportunities for student and classroom participation, which we address in the next assignment.