Sustainable development is an organizing principle for meeting human development goals while also sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services on which the economy and society depend. The desired result is a state of society where living conditions and resources are used to continue to meet human needs without undermining the integrity and stability of the natural system. Sustainable development was defined in the 1987 Brundtland Report as "development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". As the concept of sustainable development developed, it has shifted its focus more towards the economic development, social development and environmental protection for future generations.
Sustainable development was first institutionalized with the Rio Process initiated at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. In 2015 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (2015 to 2030) and explained how the goals are integrated and indivisible to achieve sustainable development at the global level. They address the global challenges, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice.
Sustainable development is interlinked with the normative concept of sustainability. UNESCO formulated a distinction between the two concepts as follows: "Sustainability is often thought of as a long-term goal (i.e. a more sustainable world), while sustainable development refers to the many processes and pathways to achieve it." The concept of sustainable development has been criticized in various ways. While some see it as paradoxical (or an oxymoron) and regard development as inherently unsustainable, others are disappointed in the lack of progress that has been achieved so far. Part of the problem is that "development" itself is not consistently defined.: 16
- For information related to student work on Appropedia, see Appropedia:Service learning and Portal:Service learning.
Education as development
Educated mothers are better able to ensure the health of their children.
Educated farmers are better able to learn about alternative farming methods, and read other useful information.
Education provides opportunities for work, and thus financial security, access to healthcare and other essentials and many more choices in life.
Education about international development
Should we try to maintain an exhaustive list, on an Appropedia page, or is that already done elsewhere? It would be a huge task.
Face-to-face courses include:
- RedRW's training programs.
- International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) (Village Earth) at Colorado State University. Courses include $345 courses with 20 face-to-face hours, and 2 week courses for $1450.
- Educational Materials/Programs at NCAT's Smart Communities Network lists courses and materials in Sustainable Development.
Many universities have relevant programs. Notable examples include
Open Educational Resources
Open Educational Resources (OER) is the standard term for educational materials that can be freely accessed and used, either for personal learning or for classes.
For a listing of some relevant material on sustainability and international development, see the Open Educational Resources page.
People in many fields find themselves educating others about sustainability; social entrepreneurs, corporate communicators, non-profits, municipal workers, social workers and teachers are examples of those engaging the masses with sustainability.
Here's how Algonquin College trains educators to enroll people with the sustainability agenda. We begin with recognizing the critical importance of worldviews. The dominant model of development is unsustainable because it is based on a flawed view of the world. http://www.policyinnovations.org/ideas/briefings/data/000241
There are other worldviews wherein "the limits to growth" are understood and local, traditional knowledge informs "resource management" and "community development" (to put it in conventional lingo). http://inesad.edu.bo/developmentroast/2012/11/we-try-to-protect-the-biosphere-but-what-about-the-ethnosphere/
When we realize how many ways there are to see the world we realize that Western education was and is grounded in a colonial worldview that systematically discounts other ways of interpreting reality, other types of wisdom and other forms of governance.
Hence, some Sustainability Educators focus on decolonizing minds and mindfully re-inhabiting places.
Next, we look at the values embedded in media, policy and curriculum. We're inundated with competitive, individualist and exclusivist values, which are proven to be incompatible with the values of community involvement and addressing the big issues.
We need new media, policy and curriculum but for that to happen more people have to demand it. Sustainability Educators investigate what leads to participation in social change. We critique social and economic systems so we understand how to holistically engage people with sustainability; we understand our work as facilitating the much anticipated "paradigm shift". Here's a link to our program
and our original wiki
As you can see, Sustainability Education is much different than Environmental Education, though that is a part of our program. This quick introduction gives a little insight into how we define and approach Sustainability Education. We've brought the dialogue here so we can share ideas and curate progressive media/curriculum together.