ESD – reducing the resource intensity of creativity

Schools as Sustainable Living Communities

In this short article Paul Clarke says the challenge is to reclaim education from centralised, predetermined packages of learning – to take education from those who see it as a servant of industry and therefore model it around industrially established measures and parameters and to embed it in ecology. Humans need to learn that they are related to all other life, and that our future depends upon the well-being of the planet. Stephen Sterling calls this alternative ‘authentic education’, a form of education rooted in tradition, in meaningful contexts and in the pursuit of community. It is open, participatory, engaging, passionate, it challenges convention, it is spontaneous and reflective


To consume or not to consume?

Ken Webster looks at arguments about whether a sustainable future will be low consumption future or one where lifestyles will change but there are plenty of resources to go around. Some related ESD prompts. Will a sustainable future mean less consumption but a better quality of life? Should discussion of waste focus more on the producer than the consumer? Why does big business so often support recycling campaigns? In the USA at the beginning of the 1960s almost all drinks were supplied in bottles which were taken back and reused. By 1998 it was under half of one percent. Can you link this last statement to the one before it?


Climate Change perspectives….

We must not let the climate change issue become a substitute for broader debate about sustainability and designing new economic and industrial systems. But as the need for change increases, look out for more pressure to call on a Grand Project, delivered no doubt, by the very corporations which have done so much to cause the problems in the first place.


Low carbon everything?

Now more than ever educators need to be conversant with the severe challenges of the end of an era of fossil fuel dominance and the changing nature of the energy and jobs debates…. Here’s today’s inventory. What are smart grids? Vehicle to Grid systems? High Voltage Direct Current? The difference between a carbon tax and ‘cap and trade’? Is ‘contraction and convergence’ a good idea? Why is energy efficiency the cheapest form of fuel? What about biochar and biodigestion and integrated farming and waste systems (because without cheap oil and gas where will the fertiliser come from?) What is resilience and what has it to do with citizenship? And what is this ‘cradle to cradle’ notion and why did the Observer’s Lucy Siegle call it ‘the future of sustainability?’


Higher Education ESD February 09 update

Read the Higher Education Academy’s ESD Project Quarterly e-Newsletter (February 09)


New HEFCE sustainable development strategy

A new plan to put higher education at the forefront of society’s efforts to achieve sustainability has been published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

See also UN Decade for Sustainable Development at

and the ‘One Planet Equation at


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