The Launch of Dynamic Material Bank for Teaching, Learning and Practicing Sustainability

After one year of intensive work, the result of “TOO4TO” project Intellectual Output 2 (IO2) – Dynamic Material Bank (DMB) (see illustration) – is already prepared and opened for public use since October (2021). It provides information relevant to various target groups wishing to develop and align their business practices with EU-supported SDGs educational institutions (teachers of higher education; students), business representatives, decision makers, researchers.

Currently, the database can be easily accessed via the TOO4TO project website (click here) or While preparing the database, there was a close collaboration with Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) IT department experts as the database is delivered through the KTU Moodle system. The construction of the curriculum is built on interdisciplinary and collaboration needs. The preparation process involved not only project partners, but also students and lecturers from different scientific fields and countries. The main information about the Early Development phase and general results of students’ and lecturers’ surveys is provided in the blog post “Dynamic Material Bank for Teaching, Learning and Practicing Sustainability. Early Development“. As a result, the DMB material is classified under six themes which appeared to be most appealing for students and lecturers:

  1. Corporate Social and Environmental Sustainability
  2. Sustainable Resource Management
  3. Climate Change and Sustainability
  4. Sustainable Energy Solutions
  5. Circular Economy, Economic and Sustainability, Sustainable Production
  6. Artificial Intelligence and Sustainability

The material for each theme includes open-access bibliography and active links to various information forms – regulations, policies (EU and global); best practice examples from industry; scientific articles and other scientific publications; software and other tools; reports (global, regional, national or industry level); international research projects (results); updates, insights from the business organizations. Each reference has a connection link identified to the specific UN SDGs or all of them. Therefore, the search of material is based on the sustainability areas, categories, SDGs and key words within the DMB.

Everyone is encouraged to develop a database together. After the launch, project partners, students and all DMB users will be able to make regular updates of the material as the knowledge in sustainability-related matters is not static. Regular updates of all the users will be done in the additional DMB in order all the entries would be reviewed by the administrators (from the technical and thematic point of view) and the periodic updates would be done by the proved and valuable data. Moreover, there will be an opportunity to disseminate, leave recommendations and comments regarding any possible improvements which would increase the usability of the DMB and it’s positive impact as one of the tools oriented to the future of sustainable development. Technical issues regarding the updating and usage are explained in the DMB manual.

As the DMB is created under the Moodle platform, it could be linked to other Moodle courses, and the assignment regarding the updating of the database could be exported to other Moodle courses in different educational institutions.

Further dissemination will be performed by providing link to it via various media. The link can be disseminated further via the databases of libraries and via the newsletter to the interested parties/stakeholders. It can also be disseminated via various social and professional media. Users of DMB are welcome to share the link and information about DMB at their institutions and beyond. 

Written by Inga Gurauskienė and Gabrielė Čepeliauskaitė, Kaunas University of Technology

Climate Change Education

Climate change is one of the most defining crises the globe is experiencing now, and it is unfolding rapidly and in a hazardous manner. In our Earth system, the disasters related to climate and weather extremes were always present. However, currently it is taking a dangerous turn with more frequent and intense climate disasters sweeping the world. No continent is left untouched, with heatwaves, droughts, typhoons, and hurricanes causing mass destruction around the world. 

Speaking of 2021 alone, the West of Germany and Belgium faced extreme rain floods as the increase in greenhouse gases led to increasing temperatures. Since warmer air holds more moisture, it translated into heavier rainfall. As estimated by science magazine, “by 2100, flood damage on the continent could cost as much as €48 billion per year—up from €7.8 billion now” (Cornwall, 2021). The extensive rains did not reach Europe only but also it swept parts of New York, Chinese, Indian and Turkish provinces causing several calamities, millions worth damage, wide range displacements and costing hundreds of lives (Khan, 2021).

As parts of the world are flooding, the other dry parts are getting drier causing droughts across the world. This phenomenon is based on the negative effects of global warming on evapotranspiration which is the movement of water into the atmosphere from land and water surfaces. Accordingly, precipitation has declined in areas such as Australia, Southern Africa, the Sahel region of Africa, Southern Asia, the Mediterranean, and the U.S. Southwest. Consequently, the chances of declining food security, agricultural challenges, poverty and even famine are increasing (Climatehotmap, 2021). Furthermore, the heat waves led to the rage of ferocious fires fueled by global warming and climate change in Canada, California, Italian Islands, Northeastern Spain and parts of Siberia, Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine (Washington Post, 2021, Al monitor, 2021).

As asserted by the United Nations, 90 per cent of disasters are now classified as weather and climate-related, costing the world economy 520 billion USD each year, and pushing 26 million people into poverty as a result. Not to mention the physical health challenges caused by the climate change. Nevertheless, as Secretary-General António Guterres pointed out in September, “the climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win”. (UN, 2021). Considering the complexity of the phenomenon and its repercussions, one of the crucial methods to combat it and promote effective climate action is education (UNESCO, 2021). The United Nations 4.7 (education for sustainable development) and 13.3 (education for climate protection and climate adaptation) complement the same scheme.

Education per the UNFCCC, Paris Agreement, 2015
Retrieved from:

A good quality education on climate change education imparts knowledge on climate, climate protection measures, societal climate resilience and develops a strong personal connection to climate solutions. The EU-funded TOO4TO project aspires and firmly embeds all of the above aspects in its curriculum. The project assists the students to comprehend the sophistication of the climate change phenomenon and its consequences. Moreover, it provides the students with the suitable material and techniques to enhance their analytical understanding and innovative skills to come up with policy recommendations or inventive methods that contribute to climate and environment protection on a wider scale. As emphasized by Kwauk and Winthrop, (2021), “leveraging the power of education is potentially more powerful than solely increasing investments in onshore wind turbines or concentrated solar power.

Educational keys for combating climate change.
Retrieved from:

Written by Ashraqat Fouda, Global Impact Grid


Dynamic Material Bank for Teaching, Learning and Practicing Sustainability. Early Development

Sustainable management solutions require a number of interrelated knowledge and skills, including economics, social and environmental science. Accordingly, the goal of the Intellectual Output 2 (IO2) of the “TOO4TO” project is to create a Dynamic Material Bank (DMB). A database, which provides quick access to open-access information, a list of up-to-date sources for organizations across different industries and locations. The tool will be useful for academics and, also, for practitioners. Lecturers from different universities will have an opportunity to integrate DMB into sustainability-related courses and those who wish to develop and align their business practices with the EU-supported SDGs. A periodic updating, relevance and applicability of information sources are necessary aspects that make a database dynamic. It will be ensured by providing the possibility of sharing and uploading additional recent sources by any user.

Concerning a broad scope of sustainability topics and possible variations for subtopics, an essential task for project partners was to ensure a consistent process of forming a concept of DMB, which would be applicable in as various study courses as possible. In the beginning, an indicative survey was carried out in project partners’ countries (Finland, Germany, Lithuania and Poland) to realise the need to study the courses oriented towards Sustainable Management, identify areas and fields of DMB. Indicative survey with students was initiated by Gdańsk University of Technology, Poland, and conducted in cooperation with the Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania and Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland. Target groups of the surveys were lecturers and students from different fields of science and studies (management/economics, social science, engineering, IT, arts and humanities, etc.). The first – students’ survey – with general questions was organised in the project proposal stage. Subsequently, a concretised questionnaire was prepared for teachers. The students’ survey was conducted in February and April 2020, with a total of 190 filled questionnaires received, and a second survey, focusing on lecturers, was organised in February and March 2021, with 111 respondents.

Both surveys revealed interesting results about understanding and improving knowledge about sustainability and integrating this topic into specific courses.  Most of the students, from the universities already offering sustainability-related courses, agree that there is a need to improve knowledge in corporate sustainability (Finland – 73%, Lithuania – 87%, Poland – 90%). Also, more than a half of the students, who participated in a survey, would consider taking a course in “Sustainable Management”, if it was offered in their universities (Finland – 85%, Lithuania – 58%, Poland – 90%). The need was indicated by the lecturers to integrate DMB in the courses (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. a) Lecturers’ opinion about DMB integration into their courses, n=109; b) Lecturers’ opinion about DMB integration for literature updates in their courses, n=110 (prepared by the authors, 2021)

The most intriguing and exciting part of both surveys was identifying the most relevant sustainability areas, based on which the E-learning course and DMB were prepared. All the respondents were asked to choose three priority areas out of sixteen practicals for their teaching/learning courses. Each of the areas was offered by the project partners and discussed during the meetings. Figure 2 presents summarised general (total), students and lecturers priorities. Summed up results revealed that TOP 3 topics are Climate Change and Sustainability, Economics and Sustainability, and Sustainable Energy Solutions. The Figure also shows the differences between students and lecturers’ priorities. Most students selected Sustainable Energy Solutions for the first, Climate Change and Sustainability – the second, and Natural Resource Management – the third choice.

Meanwhile, the lecturers prioritised Circular Economy as the primary and first topic; Sustainable Production was the second choice, and Economics and Sustainability – the third one. Consequently, concerning the final summarised results, project partners agreed on six main topics as the bases for the DMB to be developed: AI & Sustainability, Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility, Sustainable Energy Solutions, Circular Economy, Natural Resource Management, Climate Change and Sustainability. In addition, it is necessary to point out that some of the topics, which were not priority ones, will be integrated into the main ones.

Figure 2. The results of relevant sustainability areas, which could be integrated into the E-learning course and Dynamic Material Bank (prepared by the authors, 2021)

This blog post is oriented to describe the procedures of DMB development, not a DMB itself. At the moment, DMB is under the preparation and final revisions. The structure and final guidelines for using DMB will be presented in our next blog posts! The DMB will be opened in October 2021.

Written by Inga Gurauskiene and Gabriele Cepeliauskaite, Kaunas University of Technology Institute of Environmental Engineering.