What is Education for Sustainability

Education for Sustainability (EFS), or Sustainability Education, is a commitment to an educational system that is transformative, value-based and future oriented. This kind of system empowers by facilitating experientially the knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and practices for making a positive impact on the sustainability of our collective and future wellbeing. This system prepares people to become stewards of our planetary eco-systems and the Web of Life, and it promotes values and actions for inter-generational equity, justice, peace and engaged citizenship.

Watch here this very clear video about EFS by Jamie Cloud, Founder & President of the Cloud Institute.

The reason that EFS is needed is because our current educational systems do no provide literacy for sustainability or sustainable development. In fact, many of the most ‘educated nations’ have the highest ecological footprints in the world with the highest per-capita rates of consumption.The paradox of education is that although we have more normal literacy than ever before we have at the same time become ecological illiterate. This may well undermine everything that our societies aspire to and can negatively impact on the sustainability of the very systems on which our lives depend.

Education for Sustainability was thus formed out of the recognition that the educational systems itself require drastic transformations and reorientation if it is to support society to gear towards sustainability. Education for Sustainability also make the distinction that education about sustainable development is NOT sufficient, where the latter is more focused on awareness raising, EFS has as its goal that education should prepare people how to live and develop sustainably. For more information we recommend the Education for Sustainable Development Toolkit, by Rosalyn McKeown, Ph.D. Read also our Learn-Sustainable Development page for further understanding about the international commitments and frameworks for ESD, and to learn more about what ‘sustainable development’ means.


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