Refocusing ‘home ec’ toward climate solutions

April 8, 2022 – Repurposing high school family and consumer science (FCS) classes—formerly known as “home economics” classes—to focus on what families can do at home to lessen climate change could provide students with valuable skills “to save their planet one house and one yard at a time,” according to an article by Anne Lusk of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The article was published in the Spring 2022 issue of the Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences.

“Fires, hurricanes, heat waves, animal extinction, and worldwide crop failures emphasize the need for high school students to identify positive ways they could address climate change in their own homes,” wrote Lusk, an instructor in the Department of Nutrition. With enrollment in FCS high school classes on the decline and fewer college students choosing FCS as their major, shifting the curriculum toward climate solutions could both elevate the field and help the planet, according to Lusk.

She listed a number of topics that revamped FCS classes could cover, such as gardening, rewiring a lamp, installing the most efficient home heating or cooling system, mending clothing, glazing a window, or planting and maintaining trees near a house for cooling.

“With the need for everyone to drive less, purchase less, eat better, and renovate or build sustainable homes, now is the time to revamp the high school FCS class so students are not waiting for leaders to implement large-scale solutions,” Lusk wrote.

Read the Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences article: Home Ec and Climate Change: Time to Consider a Revamp