Sustainability (junior)

Where can I find information about sustainability?

Image: blue solar panel by chelseadeeyo from Unsplash.

Entry last updated: 25/06/21


Sustainability is a way of living, which means meeting our needs without using up all the resources that future generations will need. Sustainable energy, food, and natural resources are examples of what we can keep using without it running out. Today, the word sustainability also means looking after our planet so that people, animals, plants and ecosystems can survive into the future.

What is sustainability?

These sites have information about sustainability and what it is.

Britannica School

Britannica School is part of the EPIC databases, and a great place to start for all sorts of topics. EPIC is put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this.

  • We suggest starting with Primary.
  • You can always change your level to get more information by choosing from the Reading level at the top of the page.
  • Search using the keyword 'sustainability'.
  • Go to the link sustainability for information about sustainable industries, facts about how to live a sustainable lifestyle, and biodiversity.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Topic Explorer

Topic Explorer is an online tool from the National Library of New Zealand. It has heaps of images, books, articles, videos and more about lots of different topics, including sustainability.

  • Topics are arranged alphabetically, so look down until you find Sustainability.
  • You will notice stories like economic sustainability, environmental sustainability, and social and cultural sustainability.
  • Each story covers different aspects of the topic, quick facts and links to other reliable websites on sustainability.
Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

Sustainable energy

Sustainable energy comes from natural, renewable sources like sunlight (solar energy), water (hydro energy), earth (geothermal energy), and wind (wind energy). These sources are sustainable because there is no risk of them running out. The websites below will explain more about these sources.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

There are two places to look for facts about sustainable energy in New Zealand.

  • From the home page, choose the section Economy and the city.
  • Then choose Infrastructure and Services.
  • Read Energy supply and use and renewable energy to find how New Zealand makes and uses energy.
  • Next, read the story on Hydroelectricity about how hydropower works, and how it affects the environment.

There are also articles about renewable sources of energy that come from the earth.

  • Look down the page and choose the section Earth, sea and sky.
  • Next, go to Hot springs and geothermal energy to find out about Geothermal energy.
  • Then select Climate and atmosphere to find out about Wind and solar power.

The Kid Should See This

This website has heaps of kid-friendly videos that have been chosen by teachers and parents.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.


This site has a range of easy to read articles, diagrams and images on history, biography, geography, science and sport.

  • Select Science.
  • Then find Environment.
  • Look down the page to find an explanation of Renewable Energy, and its different types like wind power, solar energy, wave and tidal power, geothermal power and biomass energy.

Nature and climate

Have a look at these websites to find out how living a sustainable life will help stop pollution, global warming, and climate change.


This website from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is all about climate change and a range of science topics. Explore each of them to find out the results of not living sustainably.

Tips: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can sometimes tell these sites by their web address – they might have .gov or .edu in their address – or by looking at their About us or Contact pages.

Explain That Stuff

This website helps explain lots of different questions about topics, including why we need to look after our planet and different ways we can do that.

Tips: Some websites have advertisements (or ads) which ask us to buy something or tell us to ‘click here’. It’s best to ignore these ads and focus on the information we’re looking for.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara also has a section all about how climate change affects New Zealand.

  • From the homepage choose Earth, Sea and Sky.
  • Next, choose Climate and atmosphere.
  • Now choose Climate change.


There are heaps of books around about different aspects of sustainability. Have a look at some of these or ask your school or local librarian for more ideas.

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