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Doughnut Economics Action Lab


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Economics, Health

Resource Types

  • Presentation Slides
  • Videos, 15 minutes, 54 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus



Google Docs, Google Slides, PDF, YouTube Video

What Is the Doughnut?

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  • This article and presentation provides students with an easy-to-understand overview of doughnut economics, a theoretical economic system that is both ecologically and socially responsible. 
  • It incorporates twelve social priorities identified as UN Sustainable Development Goals and nine planetary boundaries identified in a scientific paper published in 2015.
Teaching Tips


  • The article links to other resources that could be incorporated into this topic.
  • This presentation is simple enough for students to understand, even if they do not have much background knowledge in economics.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have some familiarity with the concepts of gross domestic product, consumerism, and economic growth.
  • The presentation is available as a Google Doc, PDF, Google Slides presentation, or simply on the webpage. The TED Talk video is only embedded in the Google Slides presentation.


  • Economics classes could have students work in groups to come up with a business plan that solves an ecological problem and a social problem.
  • Ethics classes could discuss what living within the doughnut will look like for different groups of people around the world. Students could reflect on the following questions:
    • Which groups of people will see an improvement in their quality of life if the world begins to operate within the doughnut?
    • What kinds of things might some groups of people have to give up in order for the world to live within the doughnut?
    • Who will benefit from staying within the ecological boundaries of the doughnut?
  • Other resources on this topic include this activity and worksheet on creating a personal doughnut, this article about the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and this video about human impacts on the Earth's systems.
Scientist Notes
This resource describes the doughnut economy and how it can be personalized. The scope is to reduce the carbon footprint and achieve environmental sustainability in the current economic realities. This tool is recommended for teaching and use.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
      • HS-ESS3-3 Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Economics
      • D2.Eco.11.9-12 Use economic indicators to analyze the current and future state of the economy.
      • D2.Eco.15.9-12 Explain how current globalization trends and policies affect economic growth, labor markets, rights of citizens, the environment, and resource and income distribution in different nations.
    • Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
      • D4.6.9-12 Use disciplinary and interdisciplinary lenses to understand the characteristics and causes of local, regional, and global problems; instances of such problems in multiple contexts; and challenges and opportunities faced by those trying to address these problems over time and place.
      • D4.7.9-12 Assess options for individual and collective action to address local, regional, and global problems by engaging in self-reflection, strategy identification, and complex causal reasoning.
      • D4.8.9-12 Apply a range of deliberative and democratic strategies and procedures to make decisions and take action in their classrooms, schools, and out-of-school civic contexts.
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