• Introduction:

We have built a society, which is violent & explosive .We are living in extremely explosive times the world is in confusion and human beings are driven by the power of egocentric behavior. The large scale exploitation of nature, population growth, accelerated development of productive forces, the ever increasing destruction of natural resources for human comfort has lead to depletion and degradation of natural environment bringing in a dangerous ecological imbalance in the man environment system.

The ecological crisis and increasing poverty, hunger and violence are forcing man inevitably to face the realities of the human situation. The whole human life – politically, economically, socially, environmentally and even culturally – appears to be in a state of turmoil and seems to be going through a very grave crisis.

  • At this rate what will happen in the next millennium?

Human values (cultural, moral & spiritual values) are eroding at very fast rate resulting in declining the quality of life of the people. At the dawn of the new millennium, what is required most is ‘Peace & Sustainability’. Environmental Education for sustainability plays an important role in building peace & harmony and developing nonviolent global sustainable society

  • What is Sustainability?

According to the 1989 Brundtland Commission Report, sustainability refers to meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

“It encompasses economic, social, institutional and environmental dimensions of society and stresses the ways educational and academic institutions can be adapted to provide a more collaborative and supportive role to enable sustainability.” Thus when we talk about Sustainability, we mean the sustainability of the human race, not the planet, and even more concretely, the sustainability of a civilized and prosperous humanity.

  • What is Sustainable Development?

Sustainable development has been defined in many ways, but the most frequently quoted definition is from Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report. “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:

  • The concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
  • The idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs.”
  • The Role of Education in the Pursuit of a Sustainable Future

“Education is a key and vital element in moving sustainability forward…” as per the Report of the UN Secretary General

  • Agenda 21(Rio)
  • UN Millennium Goals
  • Earth Charter
  • UN Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD)
  • WSSD (Johannesburg)
  • WSSD: Reaffirming the Role of Education :

Education as the foundation of sustainable development was reaffirmed at the WSSD. The Plan of Implementation recognized education as critical for sustainable development in its own right, but also saw education as a key agent for change and a tool for addressing such questions as gender equality, rural development, health care, HIV/AIDS and consumption patterns. The Plan also called for synergy among global initiatives in education, specifically mentioning theDakra Framework for Action on Education for All (EFA)  , in which literacy, gender issues, and quality education play central roles and are essential for sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals   on universal primary education. Finally, the Plan recommended that the UN General Assembly consider adopting a Decade of Education for Sustainable Development starting in 2005.

  • Why Environmental Education?

Education for Sustainable development

“Education for Life
Education through Life
Education throughout Life”- Said
Mahatma Gandhi

“Education is a human right. Education is the primary agent of transformation towards sustainable development, increasing people’s capacities to transform their visions for society into reality.”

  • Four major thrusts of Education for Sustainable Development?

Chapter 36 of Agenda 21, adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, is devoted to ‘Promoting Education, Public Awareness and Training’.

It identifies four major thrusts of Education for Sustainable Development:

1.       Promotion and Improvement of Basic Education;

2.       Reorienting Existing Education at all Levels to Address Sustainable Development;

3.       Developing Public Understanding and Awareness of Sustainability;&

4.       Training –  Training the workforce with knowledge and skills to perform their work in a sustainable manner

  • The Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005-2014

“Education at all levels can shape the world of tomorrow…”  UNESCO. The UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is an international recognition of the key role that Education and Communication can play in enabling and enhancing sustainable development efforts, and processes leading towards these. “Our biggest challenge in this new century is to take an idea that seems abstract — sustainable development — and turn it into a reality for all the world’s people.” Kofi Annan, UNSG, 2001

  • The Education for Sustainable Development:

Originally perceived as education about sustainability, it is being increasingly recognized, through the influence of Agenda 21 and the World Summit on Sustainable Development, as more than the dissemination of knowledge.

  • Education at all levels can shape the world of tomorrow, equipping individuals and societies with the skills, perspectives, knowledge and values to live and work in a sustainable manner.
  • Education for sustainable development (ESD) is a dynamic concept “that utilizes all aspects of public awareness, education and training to create or enhance an understanding of the linkages among the issues of sustainable development.
  • Education for sustainable development is a vision of education “that seeks to balance human and economic well-being with cultural traditions and respect for the earth’s natural resources.”

Education teaches people to be better individuals, family members, community members and citizens. Education not only provides scientific and technical skills, it also provides the motivation, justification, and social support for pursuing and applying them. The international community now strongly believes that we need to foster — through education — the values, behaviour and lifestyles required for a sustainable future.


  1. United Nations Millennium Development Goals   http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/
  2. Education for Sustainable Development      http://www.ceeindia.org/esf/esd.asp
  3. UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development http://www.unesco.org/en/esd/decade-of-esd/

Source by Dr.Subhash Chandra