To be, or not to be – is this the question?

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The origins of education for sustainable development, education for sustainability, etc lie in environmental education and development education.  Over time, these have brought together a wide variety of educational approaches which examine how living things relate to each other and depend on the biosphere, and on how quality of life is increasingly imperilled by how we now live.  They focus on the increasing degradation of the global natural environment, and on the widespread lack of social justice and human fulfilment across the world. These inter-related issues must be addressed together if students are to understand them and addresses this dilemma:

How can we all live well, without compromising the planet’s continuing ability to enable us all to live well?

This is a version of what is known as the "sustainability problematique".  It links people’s lives (now and in the future), the economic and political systems they are embedded in, and the continuing supply of goods and services from the biosphere that underpin and drive such systems.

It seems to be the question.


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  • Yep. "How" seems to be the key word. And of course, "living well" is a culturally loaded term.

    • It is, Joe, which is one reason I find Amartya Sen's notion of "living a life one have reason to value" so helpful in all this. Something I am constantly in the process of trying to do. Bill