What is ESD?

Sustainable Development can have many interpretations in education is usually defined by the United Nations Brundtland Report:

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".

Gro Harlem Brundtland World Commission on Environment & Development.

The United Nations World Summit (2005) affirmed the concept of three 'pillars' of sustainability - the economic, social and environmental factors that need to be taken into consideration, and their cultural context. There is increasing recognition that these three factors are interconnected, overlapping and interdependent. Drawing on both the 1987 definition and its 2005 recalibration, the QAA defines education for sustainable development as follows:

“Education for sustainable development is the process of equipping students with the knowledge and understanding, skills and attributes needed to work and live in a way that safeguards environmental, social and economic wellbeing, both in the present and for future generations.”

3 Circles Environment

Another way to think about Sustainability is to reflect on the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goals

This short video provides further insight into the dimensions of the sustainable development goals.

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