NIACE is committed to supporting and developing the lifelong learning sector to strengthen its contribution to sustainable development policy and practice, and to reflecting the principles of sustainable development in its own internal processes and external activities.
In recent years the challenges of climate change, environmental degradation, global economic failures and social inequalities and injustice have come to the attention of the population as well as government. There is now little doubt that we need to take action to ensure a viable future for the planet and the populations it supports now and for future generations. This is known as sustainable development, learning to support sustainable development is known as education for sustainable development.
What is Education for Sustainable Development?
Education for sustainable development (ESD) is learning that contributes to sustainable development. The Sustainable Development Education Network defines ESD as:
'The process of acquiring the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to build local and global societies that are just, equitable and living within the environmental limits of our planet, both now and in the future. '
A distinctive feature of ESD is its values base. It is essentially about transformation towards a more just and equitable society. It addresses the interconnected elements of environmental, economic and social challenges (people, planet and profit) although different weighting might be given to each. It supports the development of more sustainable communities, workplaces and individual behavior.
ESD is offered at all levels in the formal learning and skills sector, adult and community learning, in workplaces and through civil society organisations. It incorporates many strands of activity, including:
- skills training for ‘green-collar' jobs;
- sustainable development learning integrated into vocational subjects
- learning related to sustainability that takes in a huge range of topics such as climate change, environmental knowledge, global issues, reducing energy consumption, recycling, growing and cooking food, community involvement and activism
- learning in ways which embody sustainable development principles;
- managing the provision of education in ways that promote sustainable practices.
Its aims include:
- extending knowledge and understanding of sustainable development issues;
- developing underlying values, knowledge and principles with a view to fostering more sustainable behaviours and consumption patterns;
- developing the adaptability, resilience, critical thinking and radical action needed to shift society towards more sustainable behaviours;
- empowering adults to access and understand information, take part in decision making and make informed changes in their lifestyles and consumption.
ESD practice has been developing across the post 16 learning sector, workplaces and civil society in recent years, gaining momentum in the past 12 months. Some Interesting and creative approaches are emerging. Some organisations have developed high levels of expertise whilst others are just starting out.
NIACE and sustainable development
NIACE is working to support the development of ESD through research and development, participating in national and international strategic groups, influencing policy, bringing together organisations offering learning to share ideas and practice, developing materials, and organising events.
NIACE signed up to 10:10 in October 2009. 10:10 is a mass movement of people, organisations, education establishments and businesses across Britain working together to achieve a 10% cut in the UK's carbon emissions in 2010 as a first step towards a carbon zero society.
Benefits of joining:
- You will contribute to tackling the climate challenge
- You can get information to support your sustainability work
- It will enhance your credibility to support your sustainability work
- You can use it as a vehicle for getting staff commitment to reducing energy and car use
- You will save money on energy and transport.
What do you have to do?
In summary, 10:10 organisations make a commitment to try to reduce their carbon footprint by 10% in one year. They are encouraged to reduce their carbon footprint in:
- on - site fuel use
- road transport
- air travel.
You can find more details and sign up on the 10:10 website www.1010uk.org
It's in our hands now - [PDF]. by Jane Ward, Adults Learning, January 2010
Sustainable development and the role of learning, by Jane Ward, The Talisman, Issue 83, March 2010
SORTED, in association with EAUC (the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges), is an online resource for sustainability in the learning and skills sector.
The Education for Sustainable Development Workroom aims to support adult learning providers to introduce and embed sustainability development into their work. Joining instructions for the Excellence Gateway ESD collaborative workroom - [Word]