Education for sustainability as a force for change
The importance of education to bring about a more sustainable world
Faced with the serious consequences of climate change, such as increased greenhouse gases and rising sea levels, or the rise in average temperatures worldwide, and taking into account that, according to the United Nations, the planet’s population already exceeds 7 billion people, education needs to become a fundamental element in bringing about a change towards more sustainable models in resource management and to make it possible for everyone to coexist in the best way possible.
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is one of the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations 2030 Agenda. One of its goals is to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. In this way, and following another of the core goals set by the 2030 Agenda, “Climate Action”, education is established as a driving force of social change to act against the negative impact of climate change.
This leaves us with the important task of promoting actions which, however small, may have a major impact at the local level, the sum of which create an international sustainable transformation. To that end, the UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE) proposes three possible specific actions which, individually, could multiply the effect in society: responsible consumption (ecological and/or sustainable), fair trade practices and enlightened citizen activism.
In short, education actions will form a part of the process towards the planet’s sustainability, enhancing perspectives aimed at raising awareness, skills and values with regard to climate change. In this way, and as part of the collective action among the various agents involved (political parties, businesses, NGOs, international civil society, etc.), our daily routines can be transformed into good practices to achieve a more sustainable development.