Education for Sustainability
“We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace.” — From the Preamble to the Earth Charter
When we talk about sustainability, especially with young students, it is critical to break out important concepts and ideas to make the word come alive. The Big Ideas can help frame curriculum, projects, and build student understanding. You’ll find significant overlap with what is already central to most school curricula, but the framing and context makes all the difference.
There is little to no scientific debate over the reality of human-induced climate change, or the realities that this and future generations will face as a result. The politics and practical decisions about how we face these challenges are far less certain. This is the context within which our schools, learning communities, state and nation exist and must educate for. This is essential information.
think globally, act locally
Even with sustainability simplified into Big Ideas, it can be challenging to know what to do in the context of global realities. The UN Sustainable Development Goals give purpose and direction while offering an immense range of opportunities for engagement.