The nature of sustainability as viewed by European students
Lockley, J., & Jarrath, M. (2013). The Nature of Sustainability as Viewed by European Students. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, 7(1), 113-124.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/8366
Sustainability as a concept, though well understood in general terms, is often politically captured by interest groups and as such expressed through issues like concern for global climate change or the need to develop more efficient energy sources, to address regional, national or international priorities. Education for sustainability as a concept similarly is generally becoming well understood; however, it is expressed in different ways by different educational communities. This research investigates a conceptual framework for the nature of sustainability to describe the way students and teachers from five European countries express their ideas of sustainability. The results indicate that despite the diversity of education systems and the range of nationally important issues of sustainability identified by the participants from five significantly different European countries (from Eastern and Western, Northern, Central and Southern Europe), there exists a common understanding of the nature of sustainability that can be expressed through a conceptual framework. The framework, based on a matrix of sustainability aspects (ecological, social, cultural and economic) and concepts (equity, interdependence and personal responsibility for action), allowed dialogue to occur to such a large extent that the nearly 200 participants agreed to a common resolution for future action on living more sustainably, applicable across the five countries.
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