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An Introduction to Sustainable Development.
 
African market
On the fence.
What is sustainable development ?


'...development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.'
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'...a better quality of life now and for generations to come' 3

   
This Government identifies that the task of sustainable development means meeting four objectives at the same time:
  - Social progress which recognises the needs of everyone
- Effective protection of the environment
- Prudent use of natural resources
- Maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment.

'A sustainable future is one in which a healthy environment, economic prosperity and social justice are pursued simultaneously to ensure the well-being and the quality of life of present and future generations. Education is crucial to attaining that future.'
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Can we do it?
Sustainable Diet?

'...globalisation is generating great wealth…(which) could be used to reduce poverty and inequality world-wide… (These are) ...the biggest moral issues facing the world'
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Education has an important role to play in helping people to:

  * Consider alternatives and make appropriate choices.
  *
Build on their existing knowledge and concern for the environment and other people.
 
  * Take part in the decision making process.
  * Move toward more sustainable ways of living in their homes and in their work.

What are the Key Issues?
Sustainable development demands that we find new ways of living and learning now. We can not just add sustainable development to our current list of things to do but must learn to integrate the concepts into everything that we do.
Above all, sustainable development demands equality, empowerment and participation by all.
All people are entitled to a better quality of life and should be enabled, through education and more even development, to participate in the decision-making processes, which will bring that about.
Sustainable Development;
Does not mean no growth, but the intelligent use of growth.
Requires that we protect the planet's life support systems upon which ultimately all life on earth depends.
Does not permit the persistence of poverty.
Requires that we protect important freedoms and celebrate diversity.
Can only happen if we meet our un-met non-material needs and move away from the consumer society.

'The realisation of a sustainable future will require the ideas, visions and talents of billions of people. That future will be an innovative world, which Develops without exceeding its limits and leaves no one in poverty.'6
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What is the way forward?
Agenda 21 presented a vision for a more sustainable society and highlighted the fundamental importance of education to realisation of that vision.
'Education is the key if we are to learn to make the right decisions today and in the future' 7
Click here to learn more about Energy Conservation
What is Education for Sustainable Development?
     
    Education should achieve changes in the community which:
  * Lead to changes in work, lifestyle and consumption patterns.
  * Encourage people to consider alternatives.
  * Enable people to take part in decision making.
  * Enable people to find information.
  * Give people opportunities to participate.
  * Encourage principles leading to a fairer society.
  * ' Help people to understand the links between issues.' 8
 
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'Education for Sustainable Development …enables people to develop the knowledge, values and skills to participate in decisions about the way we do things individually, both locally and globally, that will improve the quality of life now without damaging the planet for the future'9

Knowledge
Values
Skills
How natural processes work A commitment to all living things Co-operative working
How our lives connect with others A desire for social justice Critical thinking
Empathy and awareness Negotiation
The planet earth as a finite resource Understanding of quality of life Reasoned debate
Rights and responsibilities Problem solving
How to make decisions A global perspective and loyalty to the world community Creative ability
How we provide for human needs Research & data handling
  Communication skills
Author's perspective - for a full range of texts see reference 11
Picking Daisies.
Smiling Man.
Children at the Computer.

Government Strategy - A Better Quality of Life'10
    In 1999 the Government launched a package of initiatives relating to Quality of Life and Sustainable Development. This White Paper identifies that we need a workforce that is equipped with the education and skills needed for the 21st Century. Many of the 150 indicators of society's progress towards Sustainable Development are particularly relevant to education. These include:
  - We need to raise educational standards at all levels and close the widening gap between high and low achievers.
 
  - We must help parents, especially women, to balance work and family life.
  - We must find ways of dealing with inequality. Children who grow up in disadvantaged families are less likely to succeed in education.
 
  - We need to develop skills and reward work with people getting the opportunity to update those skills throughout their lives.
 
  - We must achieve better health for all.
  - We must think globally and act locally.
  - We must maximise the benefit of arts, sport and leisure for poor neighbourhoods.
 
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Young people are clear 'stakeholders' in their future.
Smiling Girls.
Education for sustainability opens up the range of possibilities that the world holds and the effects that different choices will have on themselves and others, so that they will be in a position to make informed choices. 11

 

For quotation references and further reading click here Reading List