Education, Sustainability & Society (ESS)
The economic, social and cultural development of human society is highly dependent upon good education. Education in diverse forms and multiple contexts provides the means whereby each generation passes on its culture, discoveries, successes, and failures to the next. Without inter-generational education, very little in a human context can be sustainable. Education is also important to formulate, challenge and disseminate ideas, knowledge, skills, and values within communities, from young to not so young, and between communities, nations, and continents. Education is identified as a key element of sustainability-focused strategies in many contexts and levels that education “is critical for achieving environmental and ethical awareness, values and attitudes, skills and behavior consistent with sustainable development and for effective public participation in decision- making.” The critical role of education has been reconfirmed recently in the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development.
And yet, education also provides the means whereby societies can consolidate and perpetuate, or sustain, ways of knowing, being and doing that may nurture economies or individual societies or communities, but may not be sustainable in other respects. The concept of sustainability demands that we consider long time periods, environmental stability, and the needs of people in diverse places and of non-human inhabitants of the planet. A key challenge for this section is, therefore, to help scholarly communities distinguish between educational approaches that seek to sustain the ‘unsustainable’ from those that seek something else, whatever that may be. Research about, or to promote, high-quality education that does not challenge the status quo will not readily find a place within this section.