Educating for a Sustainable Present and Future: How Universities are Meeting the Goals of the UN-Decade of Educating for Sustainable Development

By Nomalungelo Goduka, Thomas K. Rohrer and Amanda Woods.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Educating for Sustainable Development (ESD) is for everyone. It is for ALL (humanity and nature). By engaging in processes and activities that promote ESD, we ALL benefit. For higher education to remain relevant and engaged it must not only integrate insights, principles and lessons drawn from perspectives rooted in the Western worldview, ESD must also draw on and learn from other worldviews that include Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and Gaianism. This paper highlights a variety of theoretical and practical information for students, teachers, researchers, and administrators who seek to integrate sustainability at all levels from early childhood to higher education. We do not see educating for a sustainable present and future as only an outcome and a process of learning in higher education, but as a catalyst for educational change and institutional innovation. Although some universities are beginning to view ESD as an academic discipline in its own right, the majority of universities are still lagging behind. However, increasing public and professional familiarity with the concept, and the growing urgency of global calls for educating for a sustainable present and future, suggest that ESD may soon become an academic discipline at all universities.

Keywords: Education, UN-Decade, Sustainable Development

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.9-24. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.363MB).

Prof. Nomalungelo Goduka

Professor Department of Environmental Studies, Department of Human Environmental Studies, Central Michigan University (CMU), Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, USA

I am currently a professor in the Department of Human Environmental Studies at Central Michigan University (CMU). My research and teaching areas cover: Human Development and Family Studies; Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK); Indigenous Education; Principles and Practices for a Sustainable present and future. At CMU I serve as a member of the Campus Sustainability Advisory Committee whose charge is to promote an ecologically sound, socially just, and economically viable university climate and society for the present and future generations. I am also the chair of the Conference on Educating for a Sustainable Present and Future at CMU that is scheduled for April 21, 2009.

Thomas K. Rohrer

Director, Environmental Studies Program, Environmental Studies Program, Central Michigan University (CMU), Mount Pleasant, Michigan, USA

Professor Thomas K. Rohrer is currently the director of the Environmental Studies Program at Central Michigan University. He is developing a program in environmental health with the college of health professions and the college of science and technology at Central. He is also a community organizer on sustainability issues and does pro bono work for the Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of ROHRER Environmental Training and Consulting, a global environmental consulting firm based in Alma, Michigan, U.S.A.

Amanda Woods

Central Michigan University (CMU), Michigan, USA

Amanda is a graduate student in the Human Development and Family Studies program at Central Michigan University. She currently serves as the Family Services Coordinator at the CMU Child Development and Learning Laboratory and spends summers with Orphanage Outreach leading educational programs in the Dominican Republic with North American university students. Amanda is married and has three children in elementary school.


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