Separate Tracks or Real Synergy? Achieving a Closer Relationship between Education and SD, Post-2015, is the title of a new article by Stephen Sterling based upon a longer concept paper: ‘Winning the Future We Want — the pivotal role of education and learning’ that was commissioned by UNESCO for the World ESD Conference last month.
Sterling says that the brief for the UNESCO paper was to make a strong case for ESD as a critically important means of realizing sustainable development goals, and was based upon UNESCO’s analysis that the sustainable development discourse – including high-level reports associated with the post-2015 agenda – largely doesn't recognize the central role that learning and education must play in supporting individual and social change. The commissioned paper covers a broad sweep including the place and role of education and learning in the context of the need for urgent social change. There is an outline of relevant ESD theory including learning strategies, a desk-based critical review of the post-2015 debate, and an outline of the role of ESD as a key to sustainable development.
Separate Tracks ... is a shortened and updated version of the UNESCO conference paper – the main points of which can be seen here.
As for me, well, I'm pretty sure that, in time, all this focus on an increasingly reified ESD, which only a tiny minority of educators and activists know about, will come to be seen as as distraction from the main business of changing learning experiences to bring sustainability into focus. Only the narrow-minded and those with personal interests to foist on others, see that ESD is the way to do this. For example, if you're a teacher with an interest in sustainability that you want to introduce to your students, you don't need to master ESD theory (whatever that is) before you are able to do this – do you.