Civic Education for Sustainable Development

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Abstract

Education for sustainable development (ESD) often fails to consider the political dimension. To address this gap, this paper focuses on a specific political approach to ESD. The model presented is derived from the four sustainable growth targets of German Development Policy. Instead of relying on a neo-classical or neo-liberal economic paradigm, however, the goals of social justice, environmental sustainability, economic productivity and good governance are interpreted using a sustainability model. This model is anchored in a steady-state economy that has overcome the myth of unlimited material growth and seeks to stay within the limits of the planet's resources. The preconditions of good governance are outlined, and it is described how the state and civil society can contribute to this normative goal. In addition to social, ecological, economic and political components, the presented model for civic education for sustainability considers conflicts between different development components and the need for horizontal and vertical coherence. In conclusion, the paper shows that civic education for sustainability must aim to produce informed and empowered global citizens. Citizens should have the ability to employ their knowledge and skills responsibly through local and global civic involvement while also remaining aware of their own interests. Furthermore, it falls to educational policy makers to create national as well as international organisational structures that facilitate civic ESD.

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