Sustainable Living: 3M FuturewiseTown PlanIntroductionGo BackGo Next3M

What is Education for Sustainable Development?

Sustainable development means more than recycling bottles or giving money to charity. It means finding solutions that improve people's quality of life without damaging the environment and without storing up problems for the future, or transferring them to other parts of the world. It is an innovation agenda, not a slow-down agenda, inviting us to rethink how we organise our lives and work so that we don't destroy our most precious resource – the planet.

The role of education for sustainable development is to develop a society that understands the need for and works towards, sustainable living. ESD is not about giving people answers or telling them how to live, as few clear-cut answers exist. Instead students should be exposed to the information and concepts so that they can think productively about their lifestyles, society and the future. As technology and the world are changing at ever increasing rates, the success of an ESD programme will be a generation of people who understand the need for sustainable development, practice sustainable living and can foresee and address issues with flexible thinking and innovative ideas.


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