What is Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)?
Simply put, by striving for sustainability in Tantramar we are aiming to be able to live well in this place and to be able to continue to do so safely and fairly simply. ESD occurs when members of our community teach each other, learn skills, and gain knowledge to contribute towards reaching this goal. This learning can take place formally (education in classrooms), non-formally (non-school settings such as workplaces, religious organizations, workshops, etc.), and informally (community practices and norms, public awareness).
The concept of ESD in Canada has formally emerged as a result of the following initiatives:
- 1986-7 – The World Commission on Environment and Development report Our Common Future (informally known as the Brundtland Commission) defined sustainable development as: “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Regarding education, the report stated: “Education should therefore provide comprehensive knowledge, encompassing and cutting across the social and natural sciences and the humanities, thus providing insights on the interaction between natural and human resources, between development and the environment.”
- 1986 – Canada established a National Task Force on the Environment and the Economy (NTFEE) which led to Round Tables on the Environment and the Economy at all levels of government
- 1990 – The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) was founded in Winnipeg
- 1991 – The National Round Table on the Environment and Economy (NRTEE) set up the NGO Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF)
- 1992 – The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (held in Rio de Janeiro) document Agenda 21, chapter 36 “Promoting Education, Public Awareness and Training” calls for improved basic education and “strategies aimed at integrating environment and development as a cross-cutting issue into education at all levels.”
- 1992 – Eco-Ed conference in Toronto, attended by 6,000 delegates from around the world
- 1994 – The Ontario Learning for Sustainability Partnership (OLSP) was established, now a part of LSF
- 1997 – Manitoba passed Canada’s first Sustainable Development Act
- 1997 – International Conference on ESD in Thessaloniki, Greece – The Thessaloniki Declaration states: “The concept of sustainability encompasses not only environment, but also poverty, population, health, food security, democracy, human rights and peace. Sustainability is, in the final analysis, a moral and ethical imperative in which cultural diversity and traditional knowledge need to be respected.”
- 2004 -The decade between 2005 and 2014 was declared the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD)
- 2005 -The Canadian delegation endorsed the UNDESD at the UN Economic Commision for Europe’s (UNECE) Strategy and Implementation Framework meeting of Environment and Education Ministries
- 2005 – Partnership between LSF, Environment Canada, and Manitoba Advanced Education and Literacy to advance ESD in Canada
- 2006 – Quebec passed its Sustainable Development Act – Quebec now has over 900 Ecoles Vertes Brundtland (Brundtland Green Schools)
- 2006-9 -The Canadian federal government provided funding for provincial ESD working groups ($15,000 per year) in Manitoba, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, and Newfoundland
- Establishment of Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development
Education For Sustainable Development Case Study
RCE Tantramar and The Tantramar Family of Schools – Education for Sustainable Development through Outdoor Learning
Phase 1: Salem Elementary School, Sackville, NB
In 2013-14, RCE-Tantramar applied for an was awarded a Department of Environment Trust Fund grant to work in partnership with students, teachers and parents at Salem Elementary School in Sackville, NB to design and implement an outdoor environmental education program for the K-4 students, with the goals of providing hands-on learning opportunities, interdisciplinary activities from the approved curriculum, a greater student appreciation for the outdoors and nature, outdoor experiential learning activities, along with developing a schoolyard wildlife and marshland habitat and active learning space. In the first year of the project, RCE-Tantramar worked with Mount Allison University students and faculty, as well as the school Principal and teaching staff and the Home and School Committee, in the design of the ESD curriculum, the development of specific outdoor-based activities and project stations, as well as assisting teachers in the delivery of the curriculum-based program of learning. To continue reading about this project, click here.
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