“without significant precautions education can equip people merely to be effective vandals of the Earth. If one listens carefully, it may even be possible to hear the Creation groan every year in late May when another batch of smart, degree-holding, but ecologically illiterate, Homo sapiens who are eager to succeed are launched into the biosphere” (Orr, 2004,p.5). Read more
In a previous post, I talked about the role of imagination and curiosity in helping us care about the World we pass on to future generations. The notion of imagined futures was discussed, among others, by Tone Huse of the University of Tromsø, Norway, at the annual conference of the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change held in Manchester, UK. Read more
There is a lot of discussion of the term ‘sustainability’ and numerous definitions of the term. I’m not going to delve into a comparative exploration of these in this post. I’d like, instead, to explore a notion common to a number of definitions of sustainability: that we need to pass on to future generations a World fit to live in (I include examples of such definitions at the end of the post).
Implicit in this notion is the belief that humans can care about the lives of those in a future beyond their lifespan. This belief runs contrary to the view that people find it difficult to envisage and/or care about a future in which they no longer play a part. If this is the case, many definitions of sustainability can be seen as hopelessly naive. Read more
A warm welcome to this sustainability education blog written in association with the Ragged Project. In the spirit of Ragged the main aspiration is to share emerging understandings/ideas/expertise in the field of sustainability education from a broad range of perspectives. My name is Susan and for me the question of how to approach sustainability education is a crucial one. It is fundamental to the way we negotiate the global challenges we now face. It needs to be roundly and richly responded to and that is where I hope this blog will play a role. I work in a higher education context, where the question of how to effectively teach sustainability education is receiving increasing consideration.
This is also the case in secondary and primary education, and in a variety of formal and informal learning contexts in community, business and governmental sectors, both in the UK and around the globe. The greater the cross-pollination of understanding/ideas on sustainability education across sectors and cultural contexts, the better will be our educational response to the complex challenges we face. I hope this blog will act as a conduit for such cross-pollination and welcome contributions to the blog in this endeavour. Read more
In 2012 I was asked, to feedback on a draft report by Steady State Manchester on the role of education in shaping a Steady State Culture. I was asked, at that time, to feedback on that draft report. As someone who is invested in thinking about what constitutes good education in different contexts I was intrigued by the questions of what the educational landscape needs to look like to play a role in shaping a Steady State culture and what that role might be.
Professor Ray Oldenburg has spent many years analysing the social function of what he has coined ‘third places’. His books work to highlight the need for juncture places; places we meet and chew the cud with others in our community and network. Rather than the idea of social separate from economic, he recognises that the two lenses of seeing the world as being intimately bound and tied to each other.
The economic and the social cohabit the same landscape acting as a function of each other; this at least has been a reality, and is a necessary truth if we are to understand our world as a humanized place rather than as a machine of production. This perspective meets readily with Alfred Marshall’s statement ‘Political economy or economics is a study of mankind in the ordinary business of life’; this casts the study as something more human and rich than dry and merciless profiteering at any cost. Read more
I have always been a water baby. Any chance to go to the beach, stick my head into a rock pool or to swim in the sea I was there. As soon as I had the opportunity to learn to SCUBA dive with Aberdeen University I grabbed it so I could experience first hand the amazing underwater world. We are so lucky in this country to have such amazing experiences on our doorstep and I always knew I wanted to be able to give something back to the sea after so many years of enjoyment and wonder.
After graduating from Aberdeen University in Marine and Coastal Resource Management I started my first graduate job working down on the beautiful South Coast in Dorset as a Field Studies instructor with outdoor adventure company PGL. I spent two fantastic seasons introducing young people to the incredible world of rock pools, rivers, fossils and coastal formations. Being able to share my passion and my enthusiasm for the environment every day to different children, young adults and families was an incredible experience and there are moments of realisation in some of their faces that I will never forget. Read more