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Special Issue "Sustainable Education"

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A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 October 2010)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Stephen Martin

Orchard House, Long Hyde Road, South Littleton, Evesham Worcestershire, WR11 5TH, UK
E-Mail
Interests: national policy and education for sustainability; professional practice and sustainability; the role of systems thinking in education for sustainability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Educational institutions and educators throughout the world are grappling with the awesome challenges presented by the sustainable development agenda. Achieving ‘sustainability’ is a wicked problem, as characterized by Rittel and Webber (1973), involving complexity, uncertainty, multiple stakeholders and viewpoints, competing values, lack of end points, and ambiguous terminology. Securing progress in the face of this situation depends on a literate and skilled citizenry, who are prepared to consider how to move from the existing western economic and political world view based on exponential growth and technological innovation, short termism and unlimited consumption to a world system based on environmental and resource limits, longer term planning and reduced consumption. National and international policies since 1980 have emphasized the theoretical role that education can play in both raising awareness about sustainable development as well as giving the skills to put sustainable development into practice. This special issue explores current policy and practice in schools, colleges and universities in developing the attitudes and capabilities of future citizens to practice more equitable social and economic development.

Prof. Dr. Stephen Martin
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • Education for Sustainable Development
  • Sustainability Literacy
  • Learning to Last
  • Active Learning and Sustainability
  • Learning from Sustainability in the workplace and in professional practice

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Education as Re-Embedding: Stroud Communiversity, Walking the Land and the Enduring Spell of the Sensuous
Sustainability 2011, 3(1), 51-68; doi:10.3390/su3010051
Received: 3 November 2010 / Revised: 11 December 2010 / Accepted: 15 December 2010 / Published: 24 December 2010
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (312 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
How we know, is at least as important as what we know: Before educationalists can begin to teach sustainability, we need to explore our own views of the world and how these are formed. The paper explores the ontological assumptions that underpin, usually
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How we know, is at least as important as what we know: Before educationalists can begin to teach sustainability, we need to explore our own views of the world and how these are formed. The paper explores the ontological assumptions that underpin, usually implicitly, the pedagogical relationship and opens up the question of how people know each other and the world they share. Using understandings based in a phenomenological approach and guided by social constructionism, it suggests that the most appropriate pedagogical method for teaching sustainability is one based on situated learning and reflexive practice. To support its ontological questioning, the paper highlights two alternative culture’s ways of understanding and recording the world: Those of the Inca who inhabited pre-Columbian Peru, which was based on the quipu system of knotted strings, and the complex social and religious system of the songlines of the original people of Australia. As an indication of the sorts of teaching experiences that an emancipatory and relational pedagogy might give rise to, the paper offers examples of two community learning experiences in the exemplar sustainable community of Stroud, Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom where the authors live. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Education)
Open AccessArticle Green Jobs in Australia: A Status Report
Sustainability 2010, 2(12), 3792-3811; doi:10.3390/su2123792
Received: 26 October 2010 / Revised: 11 November 2010 / Accepted: 1 December 2010 / Published: 20 December 2010
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (236 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper captures the breadth of complexity in the debate about ‘green jobs’ as the world seeks to transition to a ‘low carbon economy’ and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the reduction of reliance for energy on the burning of fossil fuels.
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This paper captures the breadth of complexity in the debate about ‘green jobs’ as the world seeks to transition to a ‘low carbon economy’ and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the reduction of reliance for energy on the burning of fossil fuels. A consideration is provided within both the Australian and international contexts of the current assertions and projections regarding green jobs, their definition and location in the economy. The substantive focus of the paper is on the development of these notions in the Australian context. We consider the understanding brought to the term and explore some of the intersections for vocational employment and training which have emerged in debate about the ways in which nations will manage the carbon pollution reduction imperative. We explore the ways forward for a coherent understanding of the need to build capacity for green jobs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Education)
Open AccessArticle Sustainability, Learning and Capability: Exploring Questions of Balance
Sustainability 2010, 2(12), 3735-3746; doi:10.3390/su2123735
Received: 27 October 2010 / Revised: 26 November 2010 / Accepted: 1 December 2010 / Published: 3 December 2010
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (145 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is argued that sustainable development makes best sense as a social learning process that brings tangible and useful outcomes in terms of understanding and skills, and also reinforces the motivation and capability for further learning. Thus, there are always balances to be
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It is argued that sustainable development makes best sense as a social learning process that brings tangible and useful outcomes in terms of understanding and skills, and also reinforces the motivation and capability for further learning. Thus, there are always balances to be struck between a broad-based, wide-ranging education and a more specialist one; between a focus on ideas themselves, and on their application in social or economic contexts; and between keeping ideas separate, and integrating them. This paper will explore the nature of such balances, and the issues to bear in mind when striking them, focusing on schools, university and college contexts within the United Kingdom. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Education)
Open AccessArticle Education for a Sustainable Future: Strategies of the New Hindu Religious Movements
Sustainability 2010, 2(11), 3500-3519; doi:10.3390/su2113500
Received: 10 October 2010 / Revised: 8 November 2010 / Accepted: 10 November 2010 / Published: 17 November 2010
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (232 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Increasingly, sustainability is conceived as a crisis of the human mind and the key challenge for pro-sustainability education is developing sufficient motivation in learners. The spiritual aspirations of religious communities contain sufficient motivational force, which may be deployed for effective sustainability education. This
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Increasingly, sustainability is conceived as a crisis of the human mind and the key challenge for pro-sustainability education is developing sufficient motivation in learners. The spiritual aspirations of religious communities contain sufficient motivational force, which may be deployed for effective sustainability education. This paper explores the approaches to sustainability and sustainability education of some internationally-oriented Hindu religious movements. These include the rural education initiatives of Gandhian Sarvodaya, which emphasizes non-harming, self-reliance and personal ethics, ISKCON, which emphasizes devotional service, P.R. Sarkar’s Ananda Marg, which emphasizes cooperative enterprise, the Tantric body re-imagined at the social scale, and Swami Vivekananda’s Sri Ramakrishna Order, which emphasizes karma yoga, spiritual development through service to the God in each human. It also describes the British Hindu contribution to the UNDP/ARC’s multi-faith sustainability initiative “Many Heavens, One Earth”; which is the “Bhumi Project and its two main campaigns, Green Temples and Compassionate Living. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Education)
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Open AccessArticle Deschooling Society? A Lifelong Learning Network for Sustainable Communities, Urban Regeneration and Environmental Technologies
Sustainability 2010, 2(11), 3465-3478; doi:10.3390/su2113465
Received: 25 October 2010 / Revised: 7 November 2010 / Accepted: 10 November 2010 / Published: 12 November 2010
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (278 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The complexity and multifaceted nature of sustainable lifelong learning can be effectively addressed by a broad network of providers working co-operatively and collaboratively. Such a network involving the third, public and private sector bodies must realise the full potential of accredited flexible and
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The complexity and multifaceted nature of sustainable lifelong learning can be effectively addressed by a broad network of providers working co-operatively and collaboratively. Such a network involving the third, public and private sector bodies must realise the full potential of accredited flexible and blended formal learning, contextual opportunities offered by enablers of informal and non formal learning and the affordances derived from the various loose and open spaces that can make social learning effective. Such a conception informs the new Lifelong Learning Network Consortium on Sustainable Communities, Urban Regeneration and Environmental Technologies established and led by the Lifelong Learning Centre at Aston University. This paper offers a radical, reflective and political evaluation of its first year in development arguing that networked learning of this type could prefigure a new model for lifelong learning and sustainable education that renders the city itself a creative medium for transformative learning and sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Education)

Review

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Open AccessReview Hard Times in Higher Education: The Closure of Subject Centres and the Implications for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
Sustainability 2011, 3(4), 666-677; doi:10.3390/su3040666
Received: 28 February 2011 / Revised: 8 April 2011 / Accepted: 15 April 2011 / Published: 18 April 2011
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (147 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Within many British Universities and, indeed, across higher education internationally, how best to provide education for sustainable development (ESD) has become an increasingly important issue. There is now a widespread view that higher education sectors have a key part to play in preparing
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Within many British Universities and, indeed, across higher education internationally, how best to provide education for sustainable development (ESD) has become an increasingly important issue. There is now a widespread view that higher education sectors have a key part to play in preparing societies for the transition to a low carbon economy and the shift towards more sustainable ways of living and working. In the UK, a leading role in this field has been played by the Higher Education Academy and especially its network of 24 Subject Centres, each of which promotes curriculum enhancement in a particular discipline area. The mission of the Higher Education Academy has been to help raise the overall quality of the student learning experience across all disciplines and all Higher Education institutions (HEIs). As part of promoting and supporting many kinds of curriculum innovation and staff development, the HE Academy has championed the cause of ESD. Now, however, as a result of government spending cuts, the Academy is facing severe budget reductions and all its Subject Centres are soon to close. At this pivotal moment, the purpose of this paper is, therefore, to review the HE Academy’s past contribution to ESD and to explore the likely future implications of the demise of its Subject Centres. The paper ends by outlining some ideas as to how the ESD agenda might be advanced in the post-Subject Centre era, in the light of the Academy’s intention to support subject communities under its new structure. The paper has been developed through participation in key committees, engagement with Academy and Subject Centre staff, as well as through a literature review. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Education)
Open AccessReview “Sustainability Learning”: An Introduction to the Concept and Its Motivational Aspects
Sustainability 2010, 2(9), 2873-2897; doi:10.3390/su2092873
Received: 1 July 2010 / Revised: 28 August 2010 / Accepted: 3 September 2010 / Published: 13 September 2010
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (377 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This theoretical paper clarifies the concept of sustainability learning and specifically analyzes motivational aspects. Mastering the challenges of sustainability requires individual learning as well as learning processes on different levels of human systems ranging from groups and organizations to human societies, and mankind
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This theoretical paper clarifies the concept of sustainability learning and specifically analyzes motivational aspects. Mastering the challenges of sustainability requires individual learning as well as learning processes on different levels of human systems ranging from groups and organizations to human societies, and mankind as a whole. Learning processes of individuals play a fundamental role, since individuals constitute and shape the larger social aggregates. Learning processes on the level of social aggregates are important since social systems embed and influence individuals. Therefore, sustainability learning needs to be understood as a multi-level concept, comprising individual learning as well as learning processes of human systems. Transdisciplinarity and mutual learning between science and society are considered fundamental approaches of sustainability learning, and hence increase the capacity of mankind to manage human-environment systems in sustainable ways. Based on systemic considerations, the two-fold role, in which motivations act as determinants and targeted outcomes of sustainability learning processes, is explained together with the outstanding role that cooperation, hence cooperative motivation, plays for sustainable development. Finally, the multifaceted, controversial discourses on what sustainability ultimately means (for the scientific community, for a given cultural or political entity, organization, or individual person) are considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Education)

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