EE still trumps ESD – but keep quiet about Tbilisi

Posted in: Comment, New Publications, News and Updates

Page 18 of the full version of the new UNESCO report on the DESD contains a figure [2] showing Google hits on websites representing various adjectival educations (EE / ESD / ...).  Sadly, I'm not techie enough to copy it here.  However, this is the accompanying text (my emphasis):

If the number of ‘hits’ or websites generated during a Google search is any indicator of a social phenomenon, and if continuous growth in these hits indicates its growing presence in society, then consider the following: on 29 March 2005 – the first year of the DESD – a Google search for ‘education for sustainable development’ yielded 89,000 websites. On 29 January 2009 – almost four years into the DESD – the same search yielded 215,000 websites. On 28 January 2012, this search yielded 1,550,000 hits – over 7 times the number of 2009 hits and over 17 times the number of 2005 hits on ESD. Of course, this rapid growth is also a result of the on-going digitalization of communication. Other educational fields related to ESD show a similar growth pattern, but none of those listed in Figure 2 grew as fast as ESD (except for CCE, but Google hits for CCE were not logged in 2005 and 2009).

Figure 2 also demonstrates that the much older and more widely established field of EE has a similar growth pattern – but while in January 2009 it received more than 16 times more hits (3.5 million websites) than ESD, in January 2012 it yielded 7,9 million hits – ‘only’ 5 times more than ESD. It should be noted that in absolute terms, EE is still by far the highest-ranking adjectival education in terms of Google hits. This suggests that this traditional field still has very significant global presence.

How odd, then, that there is no mention of the seminal Tbilisi meeting in 1977 in the history of ESD set out in the abridged version (pages 10/11).  It seems nothing significant happened between the 1972, Stockholm UN Conference on the Human Environment, and the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).

It's convenient, of course, to re-write history like this, as you then get to say:

The roots of ESD and the DESD can be traced back to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).

Quite shameless ...

Posted in: Comment, New Publications, News and Updates


  • (we won't publish this)

Write a response