Many ministries of education focus on twenty-first century education but unless they are looking at this topic through a sustainability lens, they will be missing some of its most important elements. The usual emphasis on developing skills for employability in the current global economy begs the question whether the global economy is itself sustainable over the course of this century. According to the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) whose membership comprises 29 of the largest, most important companies on the planet, it is not. Continuing on the current development path would require approximately 2.3 planets earth to support existing levels of resource and energy use, and waste production, projected out for a global population which will reach 9 billion by 2050. And yet most discussions of 21st century education are premised on servicing, rather than transforming, the current global economy.
This paper explores the opportunities and benefits of connecting the discourse on twentyfirst century education with Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) which seeks to prepare learners for the varied and interrelated environmental, social, and economic challenges they will meet as they confront a changing world. ESD emphasizes futures thinking and strategic planning that will enable learners to help create and flourish in a more sustainable economy. Conventional teaching models must also shift to a “transformative” style of education for the twenty-first century in order for humankind to learn how to live more sustainably on this planet.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.
Anielski, M. (2016). Relationships key to a happy life. Retrieved March 19, 2016, from http://www.anielski.com Babad, M. (2013). Exon mobile CEO: ‘What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?’. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved Sept 14, 2015 from http://www.theglobe andmail.com/report-on-business/top-business-stories/exxon-mobil-ceo-what-goodis-it-to-save-the-planet-if-humanity-suffers/article12258350/ Bapna, M., & Talberth, J. (2011). What is a ‘green economy?’. World Resources Institute.
Retrieved Sept 14, 2015 from http://www.wri.org/blog/2011/04/qa-what-greeneconomy-0
Bell, D. (2009). ESD: Cure of placebo? In G. Toner & J. Meadowcroft (Eds.). Innovation, science and environment: Special education - charting sustainable development in Canada 1987-2027 (pp. 106-131) Montreal: McGill Queens Press.
Council of Ministers of Education Canada. (2010). Background - developing a Pan- Canadian ESD framework for collaboration and action: Education for Sustainable Development Working Group. Retrieved January 12, 2016, from http://www.cmec.ca/Publications/Lists/Publications/Attachments/222/ESDcollaboration-action.pdf
Canadian Education Association. (n.d.). Introducing CEA’s What did you do in school today? Professional Development Program. Retrieved Sept 14, 2015, from http://www.cea-ace.ca/programs-initiatives/wdydist
Fischer, D. et al. (2015). UN Global Action Programme and education for sustainable development: A critical appraisal of the evidence base. Discourse and Communication for Sustainable Education, 6, 5-20. DOI: 10.1515/dcse-2015-0001.
Freiler, C., Hurley, S., Canuel, R., McGahey, B., Froese-Germain, B., & Riel, R. (2012).
Teaching the way, we aspire to teach: Now and in the future. Canadian Education Association & Canadian Teachers Federation. Retrieved Sept 14, 2015, from http://www.ctf-fce.ca/Research-Library/AspirationReportFullVersion_EN.pdf
Iliško, Dz. et al. (2014) Envisioning the future: Bachelors and masters’ degree students’ perspectives. Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability, 16(2), 88-102. DOI: 10.2478/jtes-2014-0003.
Kozak, S., & Elliot, S. (2014). Connecting the dots. Toronto: Learning for a Sustainable Future.
Luna, H. (2009). Introduction. In A. Stibbe (Ed.), The Handbook of sustainable literacy, (pp. 1-6). Totnes, UK: Green Books.
Milton, P. (2012). Shifting Minds 3.0: redefining the learning landscape in Canada. Canadians for 21st Century Learning. Retrieved Sept 7, 2015, from http://www.c21canada.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/C21-ShiftingMinds-3.pdf
Pipere, A., Veisson, M., & Salīte, I. (2015). Developing Research in Teacher Education for Sustainability: UN DESD via the Journal of teacher Education for Sustainability. Journal of teacher Education for Sustainability, 17(2), 5-43. DOI: 10.1515/jtes-2015-0009.
Robinson, K. (2001). Out of our minds: learning to be creative. West Sussex: Capstone Publishing Ltd.
Schleicher, A. (2016). The case for 21st-century learning. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved Sept 7, 2015, from http://www.oecd.org/general/thecasefor21st-centurylearning.htm
Spence, M. (2012). The sustainability mindset. Project Syndicate. Retrieved February 17, 2016, from https://www.projectsyndicate.org/commentary/the-sustainabilitymindset? barrier=true
Stibbe, A. (Ed.). (2009). The handbook of sustainability literacy. Totnes, UK: Green Book.
United Nations. (n.d.). Open working group proposal for sustainable development goals.
Retrieved Sept 21, 2015, from https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/owg.html
Worldwarch Institute. (2008). Green jobs: Towards decent work in a sustainable, lowcarbon world. The United Nations Environmental Program. Retrieved February 20, 2016, from http://www.unep.org/PDF/UNEPGreenjobs_report08.pdf
Victor, P. (n.d.). Research. York University. Retrieved October1, 2015, from http://www.pvictor.com/Site/Research.html
World Business Council for Sustainable Development. (2010). Vision 2050: The new agenda for business. Retrieved March 4, 2016, from http://www.wbcsd.org/WEB/PROJECTS/BZROLE/VISION2050FULLREPORT_FINAL.PDF
Wager, T. (2012). Creating Innovators: The making of young people who will change the world. New York: Scribner.
Wayman, S. (2009). Futures thinking. In A. Stibbe (Ed.), The Handbook of sustainability literacy, (pp. 94-98). Totnes, UK: Green Books.