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Environment Magazine September/October 2008

 

March-April 2009

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Education for Sustainable Development

In its seminal 1987 report, the Brundtland Commission defined sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” However, as media representatives at the 2002 UN World Summit of Sustainable Development highlighted, sustainable development can be difficult to explain in concrete terms, and audiences cannot relate to the issues and challenges of sustainable development unless these are profiled through people they identify with. Education at all levels can help move the concept beyond UN terminology and into practice, but the educational community has yet to embrace the broader concept of sustainable development as it has incorporated environmental stewardship and other similar concepts. A look at the efforts to redirect education so that it presents sustainable development as a way to modify individual and societal lifestyles toward protecting the environment and achieving social equity can help to understand the challenges the educational community faces and the progress it has made to overcome them.

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