Low-income communities in Australia face numerous negative impacts, such as health issues, social exclusion, educational disparities, and discrimination, which limit their opportunities to improve their quality of life (The Public Defenders,2022). As a result, students from these communities often have fewer resources and less funding, contributing to poor educational outcomes and underrepresentation in STEM fields, which includes environmental education (Australian Department of Education, 2022).
To address these challenges, I created an 8-page infographic series titled “Sustainable Living: On a Budget.” The series includes a cover page, an overview page, and four infographics covering : climate change, waste, preserving biodiversity, and using nature for therapy. The front side of each infographic contains educational information, while the back side offers practical tips for promoting sustainability that are not only beneficial for the environment but can also save money. Additionally, I created a bonus infographic on the impact of nature on mental health, along with actionable ways to spend more time outdoors.
Infographics were the perfect medium for this topic because I wanted to educate low- income communities on environmental issues and sustainability, which could be overwhelming to research. Infographics make it easy to present information in an accessible and compact space, saving people time and making the information more digestible (Williams,2014). Notably, Coast Adapt and Climate Council recognizes the effectiveness of infographics and uses them to share information on current environmental issues, as well as interpreting environmental information. While searching for infographics that directly target low-income communities, I found inspiration from Sekharan (2015) infographics on the Homeless Hub website. The consistent font, bright colors, and playful graphics make the information presented both engaging and easy to comprehend, which was a key factor in creating my own series of infographics.
To further narrow the scope of my project, I had the opportunity to interview 2 organizational leaders: Carol Hicklenton, Founder of NUJO, and Elyse Cunningham, a Community Organizer at Friends of the Earth Melbourne. These interviews provided important insights into the importance of inclusivity and communication in sustainability efforts.
After completing the series, I took steps to ensure the effectiveness of the infographics. This included seeking feedback from 2 organizational leaders, as well as my advisor, and analyzing survey data from 6 members of my own low-income community. Through this process, I received valuable insights and suggestions which I incorporated to improve the project’s effectiveness.
As a black, low-income student from an inner city in the U.S., I created these infographics based on my own lived experiences. I was not aware of current environmental issues and their significant impacts on future generations growing up. Having experienced financial struggles, myself, I understand the significance of producing infographics that are accessible and relevant to the community. I hope my project delivers the message is that sustainability is a crucial aspect that needs to be accessible to everyone, regardless of socio- economic background. We all share the responsibility of preserving and protecting our planet for future generations. My infographics aim to inspire and empower individuals from low- income communities to make more sustainable choices and take action to protect our planet. By providing accessible and engaging information on environmental issues and practical tips for sustainable living, I hope to bridge the gap between low-income communities and sustainability education.
Climate | Environmental Education | Graphic Communications | Graphic Design | Inequality and Stratification | Sustainability
Mateo, Brianna, "Bridging the Education Gap: Series of Infographic Guides to Sustainable Living for Low-Income Communities" (2023). Independent Study Project (ISP) Collection. 3659.