The Sustainable Development Commission argues, plausibly enough, that "... We have still not seen the kind of transformation (to sustainability) that is needed". In response, It launched in 2008 'Breakthroughs for the 21st Century' with the aim of creating a "dynamic and hard-hitting portfolio of ideas that could really inspire policy-makers and others to set the UK much more decisevely on the part to becoming a sustainable society". 19 of these ideas made the cut. You can find them here, and here as a pdf: sdc_breakthroughs.
Given that a "breakthrough is something that moves us decisively away from the status quo or the usual incremental change", I was bemused to see that one of the 19 is "natural values: outdoor experiences for all". This relies heavily on Richard Louv's, to my mind, unthought through notion of nature deficit disorder. More importantly, however, where, I wondered does this leave the UK's learning outside the classroom manifesto that is not mentioned at all. Even more significantly, perhaps, where does this leave indoor (ie, inside the classroom) education - because that's not mentioned either. It is as if all we need to do is to get out more.
This SDC breakthrough is sponsored by Kate Rawles and Chris Loynes of the School of Outdoor Studies at the University of Cumbria. In a recent posting to the Outdoor and adventure education research [OUTRES@JISCMAIL.AC.UK] Rawles and Loynes say: "We would be delighted to hear from anyone who is working in this area and to find out what you are doing and how it is going. We would be particularly interested in any evaluations of projects of this kind, as we plan to develop an evidence base to support the lobbying that will take place at policy and strategy levels."
Silly me! How naive; there was I thinking that an evidence base might be in place before SDC endorsed this idea.