The ten years from 2005-2014 were designated the UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development which was led and coordinated in its transformational initiatives by UNESCO.

 “ESD {or Education for Sustainability} empowers learners to take informed decisions and responsible actions for environmental integrity, economic viability and a just society, for present and future generations, while respecting cultural diversity. It is about lifelong learning, and is an integral part of quality education. ESD is holistic and transformational education which addresses learning content and outcomes, pedagogy and the learning environment. It achieves its purpose by transforming society.”  UNESCO

Despite its inspirational, innovative aims and objectives, designed to raise awareness of and competence in sustainable living in and through our schools, little has changed in education systems in most countries. In fact, many systems, including our own, has become more technocratic, narrower in content and more exam/test focused.  This has been particularly applicable in England, where, in 2010 the government decided to no longer directly support the Sustainable Schools Initiative (England). (Now run by SEEd and other NGO’s see link below)

Now that it is generally accepted that “Our climate is warming at an alarming and unprecedented rate and we have an urgent duty to respond” (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), we must urgently rethink the education we are providing for our children and ensure that we are providing a curriculum, pedagogy, skills, attitudes and values that will empower them to plan and attain a sustainable future for themselves.

To this end, Sustainable Hackney is determined to make the London Borough of Hackney a beacon for Education for Sustainability and will be consulting with councillors, the Learning Trust, head teachers, all school staff and pupils to bring this about and to provide our children with the future to which they are entitled.

This will also, hopefully, extend to the provision of life-long learning for sustainability for all Hackney residents. Read more on http://sustainable-schools-alliance.org.uk/

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