A while back, I posted something on the SHED blog about the 2009 report: One Wales: One Planet and a question Jane Davidson asks in a recent lecture: "So what would a sustainable Wales look like?" This seems to be a topical question, and a cross-party vision had been agreed by WAG last year about it:
Across society there is recognition of the need to live sustainably and reduce our carbon footprint. People understand how they can contribute to a low carbon, low waste society. These issues are firmly embedded in the curriculum and workplace training. People are taking action to reduce resource use, energy use and waste. They are more strongly focused on environmental, social and economic responsibility, and on local quality of life issues, and there is less emphasis on consumerism. Participation and transparency are key principles of government at every level, and individuals have become stewards of natural resources.”
For me, this doesn't quite picture a "sustainable Wales"; rather, it's a view of Wales's becoming less unsustainable, and (then, perhaps) just a bit more sustainable, over time (something not to be sniffed at, perhaps). The verbs used here are all about the journey "… are taking action ..."; "… understand how they can ..."; "… a recognition of the need ..."; etc. I then went on a bit, and even, in order to query the very idea of "a sustainable Wales", mis-quoted John Donne: "Not even Wales is an Island" – now, what a Meditation that would have been, but sadly Donne didn't think to write it.
Concidently – and this is the eventual point of this post – a new ESDGC resource for schools came into my view at around the same time: A fresh look at tropical rainforests – focus on Africa. I confess that my first thought, was "Not another ... resource about the ... rain forest", though this one did look nicely done – even down to the use of red and green – and so I read it with some care.
I wondered at the end, though, whether it is clear enough, what young people in Wales are supposed to learn about their lives in Wales, and how these might evolve and become as Wales becomes sustainable? This wasn't clear to me, and it seemed that the citizenship element had been rather down-played – an odd thought about an ESDGC resource. But then, ESDGC as an idea was also rather subdued – apart from its repeated footnote use. There certainly seem to be no specific ESDGC learning outcomes – though there are plenty for geography, alongside the numerous: "Your role as a Geographer is ...". But then, saying "Your role as an ESDGC professional ..." doesn't quite cut it.
Reading on, we get to page 45, and find this:
'Looking to the future' is suggested as a theme to bring together what has been learnt but also to recognise a range of other issues that could have been considered. It also provides an opportunity for discussing ideas about future priorities and ways people in Wales are involved in support initiatives.
When you look at this, there's this question: "How do people in Wales see their role in this development? .... But this is asked by an African child, and not a Welsh one. I think I must be missing something here.
Indeed, I am told I am – by those who understand ESDGC better than I seem to, and probably have more empathy towards it as an idea. Ah, now, if only I were Welsh, ...