Teaching Resources

The Center for Sustainable Systems has created several sets of teaching resources that can be used to support education surrounding sustainability concepts. These outlines and PowerPoints were created with a post secondary education audience in mind.

Overview of Major Environmental Sustainability Issues

This set of PowerPoint® modules provide a high-level overview of the major environmental and resource challenges facing society in the 21st century and beyond. These resources were developed in conjunction with the University of Michigan College of Engineering and DaimlerChrysler provided financial support to make these resources available electronically.

Each module consists of a set of PowerPoint® slides, including a table of contents. A set of notes describing each slide is also provided (visible by using the Notes Page feature on the View menu of PowerPoint®).

Global Change: Greenhouse Gases 595 KB
Global Change: Ozone Depletion 109.5 KB
Energy Resources: Production and Consumption 312 KB
Material Resources: Production and Consumption 135.5 KB
Environmental Pollution and Waste: Air, Water, and Land Media 1.07 MB
Ecological Processes: The Planet's Life Support System 1.34 MB

Environmental Law: Exploring the Influence on Engineering Design

This set of resources is a detailed, quick-reference guide for the legislative frameworks governing engineering design and decision making. Developed in conjunction with the University Of Michigan College Of Engineering, they complement "A Chemical Engineer's Guide to Environmental Law and Regulation" produced by the former National Pollution Prevention Center. These resources are useful for a variety of disciplines beyond engineering.

  “Environmental Law: Exploring the Influence on Engineering Design” 
This 90 page report, and its accompanying PowerPoint module, are organized along the same four sections.

  • Section I: A Structural Overview of Environmental Law.
  • Section II: Environmental Laws: Federal Statutes, International Treaties, and Common Law
  • Section III: The Influence of Environmental Laws on Design
  • Section IV: Beyond Compliance


 1-2 page summaries of major environmental laws:

Clean Air Act 12.73 KB
Clean Water Act 10.21 KB
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act 10.54 KB
Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act 11.87 KB
Toxic Substances Control Act 10.29 KB
Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act 11.9 KB
National Environmental Policy Act 11.54 KB
Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act 11.42 KB
Occupational Health and Safety Act 10.35 KB
Pollution Prevention Act 10.27 KB

Sustainability Resources for k-12 teachers

We have compiled a collection of outside resources, that K-12 educators can use to supplement some of the key sustainability topics found in CSS’s Sustainability Factsheet collection. Resources include videos, podcasts, games and activities, grouped by medium within the sustainability topic to which they apply. To help educators to select the optimal resources for their purposes, CSS has provided grade level recommendations, the duration of the resource, and a brief description of the content and purpose.

Please note that these are outside resources, not created by CSS or the University of Michigan; thus, the views and information may not fully reflect those reported on the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems' factsheets. Many of these videos, podcasts, and games/activities were gathered from public media sources such as PBS and NPR, as well as government sources such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Teachers are strongly encouraged to refer to the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems' factsheets for more information about each sustainability topic, before sharing the selected resources with their students. We hope educators and their students find these resources engaging, informative, and helpful.

Pollution Prevention (P2) Teaching Resources for Faculty

The Center for Sustainable Systems (CSS) is an evolution of the National Pollution Prevention Center for Higher Education (NPPC) which was created in 1991 by a US EPA competitive grant between 28 colleges and universities.  The NPPC collaborated with faculty from a wide range of disciplines across campus and with other leading programs throughout the U.S. to develop teaching materials on pollution prevention in 13 compendia. Note that the name change to CSS has not been incorporated into the NPPC documents.