Another UNESCO ESD prize for the UK

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

EAUC reported last week that the UK-based Hard Rain Project has been selected as one of the three winners of the international UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) 2017.  Thus, hot on the heels of the award of the same prize to NUS last year, the UK, it seems, does it again.

EAUC (quoting UNESCO) said:

The Hard Rain Project was selected for its international programme “Hard Rain” and its follow-up “Whole Earth?”, which bring art, science and education together to raise awareness on pressing global issues such as poverty and climate change, and to stimulate thinking and action towards more positive futures.  It works with world-renowned artists, scientists and communicators to carry its message to schools and universities, and to a wider public, through exhibitions, books, films, talks and events.

It is estimated that 15 million people have seen Hard Rain and Whole Earth? exhibitions in Europe, the US, Africa and Asia and attended talks and associated events. This makes them among the most successful environmental exhibitions every created, attracting huge public and critical acclaim along with the endorsement of political and environmental leaders across the world.

Whether UNESCO's description of Hard Rain as "a UK-based education for sustainable development programme" is really appropriate is perhaps beside the point.  More pertinent is to wonder how effective it has been.  It may be "among the most successful environmental exhibitions every created", but what has it achieved?  If I can put it like this: how many have been sufficiently radicalised by exposure to it to effect a revolution in their thinking and actions?  Does anyone know?

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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  • This latest blog and many before it pose a major question - what evaluation actually occurs when we pat ourselves on the back for doing projects that are deemed 'wonderful' and successful. It's a lot like saying that one million people attended a rally, for some issue or other, and that alone is a mark of success. yet as you infer here, how many actually did something different in their daily behaviors and modified their beliefs because of said rally. The dominant message spewing out of the mainstream message (uber consumerism) seems to still override much of ESD efforts to bring about change on a faster than currently occurring scale of action. Yes, ESD efforts seem to be happening worldwide, but the drive for LDCs to aspire to the MDC lifestyle is still a major problem, considering that sustainability is a logical and desirable economic direction to take in developing a more 'technological lifestyle'. What I see always missing is the social-cultural component -
    I suppose merging art and science could be construed as that, but I would like to see evaluation that shows this aspect. This could be a full essay, but enough for now!