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Introduction to Education for Sustainable Development Denise Summers Autumn 2009 Adapted from presentation by Dr Stephen Sterling, Centre for Sustainable.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Education for Sustainable Development Denise Summers Autumn 2009 Adapted from presentation by Dr Stephen Sterling, Centre for Sustainable."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to Education for Sustainable Development Denise Summers Autumn 2009 Adapted from presentation by Dr Stephen Sterling, Centre for Sustainable Futures, UoP,

2 Questions to Consider What is sustainability? What is sustainability? Why should we bother with it? Why should we bother with it? The challenge to education The challenge to education The implications of ‘sustainable education’ The implications of ‘sustainable education’ ‘Sustainability literacy’ and competencies ‘Sustainability literacy’ and competencies A wonderful world?

3 What is sustainable development? Development which meets: … the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. … the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. taken from the influential Brundtland report ‘Our Common Future’ (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987, ov.htm#I.3) ov.htm#I.3http://www.un-documents.net/ocf- ov.htm#I.3

4 However, … … sustainability and development are contradictory concepts and ‘sustainable development’ is just economic growth dressed up in the language of deliberate obfuscation, used knowingly or not by those who care nothing for the Earth in order to fool us into thinking that they are taking her concerns seriously. … sustainability and development are contradictory concepts and ‘sustainable development’ is just economic growth dressed up in the language of deliberate obfuscation, used knowingly or not by those who care nothing for the Earth in order to fool us into thinking that they are taking her concerns seriously. (Harding, 2006: 232) Selby (2007: 249) is also concerned about the concept of ESD and argues that “the heating is happening” and calls for “education for sustainable contraction” in which we accept the climate change threat, move away from the current denial or “business as usual” mindset (Selby, 2007: 265) and respond to the need for transformation. Selby (2007: 249) is also concerned about the concept of ESD and argues that “the heating is happening” and calls for “education for sustainable contraction” in which we accept the climate change threat, move away from the current denial or “business as usual” mindset (Selby, 2007: 265) and respond to the need for transformation.

5 “Everything we thought was good turns out to be bad. It is an act of kindness to travel to your cousin’s wedding. Now it is also an act of cruelty. It is a good thing to light the streets at night. Climate change tells us it kills more people than it saves. … Climate change demands a reversal of our moral compass, for which we are plainly unprepared.” (Monbiot, 2005: 23)

6 In pursuit of happiness … If I were caught in the trappings of wealth and power, I would be unable to live a truly comfortable, creative, and compassionate life. Much of my time would be absorbed in taking care of houses, cars, household gadgets, furnishings, paintings, silverware and china, computers, yachts and umpteen other things. I would need to work hard to earn enough not to meet my needs but to service these possessions. (Kumar, 2006: 302) If I were caught in the trappings of wealth and power, I would be unable to live a truly comfortable, creative, and compassionate life. Much of my time would be absorbed in taking care of houses, cars, household gadgets, furnishings, paintings, silverware and china, computers, yachts and umpteen other things. I would need to work hard to earn enough not to meet my needs but to service these possessions. (Kumar, 2006: 302) As Professor Daniel Kahneman of the University of Princeton suggests, our “standard of living has increased dramatically and happiness has increased not at all and in some cases has diminished slightly" (Kahneman, 2007, As Professor Daniel Kahneman of the University of Princeton suggests, our “standard of living has increased dramatically and happiness has increased not at all and in some cases has diminished slightly" (Kahneman, 2007,

7 Climate Change Image: free.images.co.uk

8 The Future isn’t What it Used to Be stresses unsustainability uncertainty dense interdependence globalisation complexity ecosystem degradation inequity insecuritiesglobal warming peak oil overconsumption population pressures

9 The Learning & Skills Council Strategy states that by 2010 all its providers “… will embed SD skills in education and training programmes so that all learners are able to acquire these skills” and remind us that: “Sustainability is a journey. If we wait until we understand everything, we will never start out …”

10 Aspects of Well-being Basic Needs Food, shelter, secure livelihood Good Health Physical and mental health and a robust natural environment Healthy Social Relations A supportive social network Security Personal safety and security of one’s possessions Freedom The capacity to achieve one’s development potential World Watch Institute

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12 Our generation is the first to knowingly degrade the environment at the expense of children now and in the future – a fact that challenges much of our rhetoric about the importance of children in society. The evidence … suggests that it may not be possible to deliver ECM at all unless the environment becomes one of its leading considerations. Sustainable Development is not an optional extra …; it is a necessary part of building a society that cares for its children. (Sustainable Development Commission, 2009, p7) Five guiding principles of SD 1.Living within environmental limits 2.Ensuring a strong, healthy and just society 3.Achieving a sustainable economy 4.Promoting good governance 5.Using sound science responsibly

13 The Earth Charter: Four basic principles 1. Respect Earth and life in all its diversity. 2. Care for the community of life with understanding, compassion, and love. 3. Build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable, and peaceful. 4. Secure Earth’s bounty and beauty for present and future generations. Video link Video link Video link Video link

14 A Sustainable Society … is one that can persist over generations, one that is far-seeing enough, flexible enough, and wise enough not to undermine either its physical or social systems of support. … is one that can persist over generations, one that is far-seeing enough, flexible enough, and wise enough not to undermine either its physical or social systems of support. Meadows et al, 2005

15 Decision-making at the Eden Project (talk given at Hestercombe, July 2009) The triple bottom line A Environmentally sound B Socially acceptable C Economically viable A B C

16 ‘Daunting agenda…exciting possibilities’ Power civilisation by sunlight Power civilisation by sunlight Grow food and fibre sustainably Grow food and fibre sustainably Dis-invent the concept of waste Dis-invent the concept of waste Preserve biodiversity Preserve biodiversity Restore ruined ecologies Restore ruined ecologies Reduce materials, water and land use per head Reduce materials, water and land use per head Rethink the political basis of modern societies Rethink the political basis of modern societies Develop economies that can be sustained within nature’s limits Develop economies that can be sustained within nature’s limits Distribute wealth fairly within and between generations Distribute wealth fairly within and between generations David Orr’s Nine Challenges

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18 Thinking critically about ESD Do the ESD diamond 9 exercise in small groups. Do the ESD diamond 9 exercise in small groups. Share responses. Share responses.

19 Is Education Part of the Solution …?

20 … or Part of the Problem? Sustainability is about the terms and conditions of human survival, and yet we still educate at all levels as if no such crisis existed. The destruction of the planet is not the work of ignorant people. Rather it is largely the result of work by people with BAs, BScs, MAs, MScs and PhDs. David Orr

21 Is Education a Good Thing? … the volume of education has increased and continues to increase, yet so do pollution, exhaustion of resources, and the dangers of ecological catastrophe. If still more education is to save us, it would have to be education of a different kind: an education that takes us into the depth of things. (Schumacher, 1997) … the volume of education has increased and continues to increase, yet so do pollution, exhaustion of resources, and the dangers of ecological catastrophe. If still more education is to save us, it would have to be education of a different kind: an education that takes us into the depth of things. (Schumacher, 1997)

22 Goal of UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development … to integrate the values inherent in sustainable development into all aspects of learning in order to encourage changes in behaviour that allow for a more sustainable and just society for all. This involves learning the values, behaviour and lifestyles required for a sustainable future and for positive societal transformation.

23 The Government Talks of the Crisis in Education and it: … prefers to stress ICT, literacy and numeracy on the grounds, perhaps, that as the good ship Humanity finally steams into the icebergs, we will at least be able to send grammatical SOS messages, read the instructions on the lifebelts, and count the survivors. Of course, if all the prognoses about global warming are correct, there won’t be any icebergs and we shall need a new set of metaphors. (Scott, 2002, p5) … prefers to stress ICT, literacy and numeracy on the grounds, perhaps, that as the good ship Humanity finally steams into the icebergs, we will at least be able to send grammatical SOS messages, read the instructions on the lifebelts, and count the survivors. Of course, if all the prognoses about global warming are correct, there won’t be any icebergs and we shall need a new set of metaphors. (Scott, 2002, p5)

24 but David Orr suggests it is a Crisis of Education … The fact that we see social and environmental decay as disconnected events or fail to see them at all is evidence of a considerable failure that we have yet to acknowledge as an educational failure. The fact that we see social and environmental decay as disconnected events or fail to see them at all is evidence of a considerable failure that we have yet to acknowledge as an educational failure. It is a failure to educate people to think broadly, to perceive systems and patterns, and to live as whole persons. It is a failure to educate people to think broadly, to perceive systems and patterns, and to live as whole persons.

25 A ‘Sustainability Literate’ Person … would be expected to: understand the need for change to a sustainable way of doing things, individually and collectively have sufficient knowledge and skills to decide and act in a way that favours sustainable development be able to recognise and reward other people ’ s decisions and actions that favour sustainable development - Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability Forum for the Futurewww.heps.org.uk

26 Key Questions …?? In what ways does our practice advance the kind of learning, teaching, thinking and research that contribute to unsustainability? In what ways does our practice advance the kind of learning, teaching, thinking and research that contribute to unsustainability? How do we balance practicability with urgency? How do we balance practicability with urgency? What kinds of learning would best equip your students for their likely future(s)? What kinds of learning would best equip your students for their likely future(s)?

27 Comfortable dealing with ambiguity Comfortable dealing with ambiguity Willing to take a risk to make a difference Willing to take a risk to make a difference More interested in solving problems than taking credit More interested in solving problems than taking credit Both effective advocates and listeners Both effective advocates and listeners Eager to imagine and implement daring multifaceted solutions – together Eager to imagine and implement daring multifaceted solutions – together - Lawrence Bacow, President of Tufts University, Rappaport A and Creighton S H (2007) Degrees that matter. Massachusetts: MIT Press Students as ‘Active, Engaged, and Effective Citizens’ are…

28 References Harding S (2006) Animate Earth. Dartington: Green Books Ltd. Harding S (2006) Animate Earth. Dartington: Green Books Ltd. Kahneman D (2007) The Science of Happiness happiness_formula/ stm (date accessed ) Kahneman D (2007) The Science of Happiness happiness_formula/ stm (date accessed ) Kumar S (2006) No Destination – an Autobiography. Dartington: Green Books Ltd. Kumar S (2006) No Destination – an Autobiography. Dartington: Green Books Ltd. Monbiot G (2005) ‘A restraint of liberty’, The Guardian, 24 May, p23. Scott W (2002) Sustainability and learning: what role for the curriculum? Inaugural Lecture, University of Bath, April 25. Scott W (2002) Sustainability and learning: what role for the curriculum? Inaugural Lecture, University of Bath, April 25. Selby D (2007) ‘As the heating happens: Education for Sustainable Development or Education for Sustainable Contraction?’ International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, Vol 2, Nos 3/4, pp Selby D (2007) ‘As the heating happens: Education for Sustainable Development or Education for Sustainable Contraction?’ International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, Vol 2, Nos 3/4, pp Sterling S (1996) ‘Education for Change’ in Huckle J and Sterling S (Eds) (1996) Education for Sustainability. London: Earthscan. Sterling S (1996) ‘Education for Change’ in Huckle J and Sterling S (Eds) (1996) Education for Sustainability. London: Earthscan. Sustainable Development Commission (2009) Every Child’s Future Matters. Sustainable Development Commission (2009) Every Child’s Future Matters. commission.org.uk (date accessed )www.sd- commission.org.uk

29 New ‘Sustainability Online Resource and Toolkit for Education’ from the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges Mainly aimed at FE Education for Sustainable Development Toolkit Education for Sustainable Development Toolkit Developed by the University of Tennessee, Education for Sustainable Development Toolkit Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable FutureTeaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future (A UNESCO site) This is a multimedia, interactive professional development program with materials, exercises, and links Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future


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