British Columbia Principles of Sustainability Education

Sustainability Education Principles for British Columbia

During the walkingthetalk dialogue on March 31, 2007, the participants developed a collective set of principles on which to base our sustainability education work in BC at all levels and in all sectors. We encourage you to comment or add principles using the comment feature below. These are also attached below as a pdf

British Columbia Principles for Sustainability Education

1. Sustainability education is about good education. It is learner focused and incorporates the stages of action…reflection…action…praxis.

2. Sustainability education commits to new ways of thinking about – and being in – the world. This means understanding and incorporating the concepts of “enough” and of “living like we plan on staying here.”

3. Sustainability education needs to be integrated, not inserted. It is not a subject but the lens through which all subjects need to be understood and taught.

4. Sustainability education demands both leadership and collaboration. Educators need to model the change we want to see. We cannot realise sustainability in education without support and leadership from faculty, staff, administration, and community. We need to participate in the valuable work that is going on, support and improve existing projects, and create meaningful partnerships. Working across sectors is challenging but worthwhile.

5. Sustainability education encourages us to take risks and to address the hard questions. Experimentation with uncertainty, ongoing discussion and adaptation, and critical thinking are all important. In our resource-based province, it’s vital to address directly the personal risk felt by those who fear loss of their livelihood due to an increased focus on sustainability.

6. Sustainability education draws from all cultural traditions. BC has a wealth of cultures and traditions. We need to create education that acknowledges, learns from, and incorporates the sustainable practices of all of our cultural groups.

7. The language of sustainability education must be simple and transferable. Language reflects values. It’s important that we all “use the same language to mean the same thing” across sectors and across disciplines.

8. Sustainability education is about the individual and the collective. It involves establishing a relationship between self and community. Through community-building, educators can facilitate learning experiences that will lead to individual self-actualisation and will help us connect more deeply to our surroundings.

9. Sustainability education includes arts and culture. The arts can play an important role in promoting reflection and messages that address both the individual and the collective.

10. Sustainability education is dynamic, positive and contains hopeful messages. An attitude of hope and excitement will spur people to change more than guilt or fear. We need to give people concrete tools they can use, and to celebrate our successes.

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