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Alternative Communications about Sustainability Education

Author(s): Sue L. T. McGregor

Journal: Sustainability
ISSN 2071-1050

Volume: 5;
Issue: 8;
Start page: 3562;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: education for sustainable development | sustainable contraction | alternative ESD pedagogies | curriculum for sustainability | UNDESD | communicating about sustainability | complexity theory | chaos theory | living systems theory | post-normal science

In preparation for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, UNESCO communicated its conceptualization of education for sustainable development (ESD). This paper does not assume that UNESCO was ineffective in communicating its approach to ESD; rather, the premise is that UNESCO’s actual message was not well received by everyone, with some pushing back with alternative communications of their own. This paper identifies and profiles seven vanguard theoretical and pedagogical approaches to the problem of unsustainability, including, but not limited to: sustainable contraction, unlearning unsustainability, a 3D-heuristic, an integrative, place-based approach, and a Gaia-informed, ecological approach. It concludes with a discussion of seven overarching alternative messages for communicating about sustainability including: refocused education; complexity, chaos and living systems; Gaia and ecology; paradigm shifts for uncertainty; knowledge integration; existentialism; and fear and hope. Intellectual and pedagogical discourse can be kindled and stimulated by drawing on alternative communications about the normative concept of sustainability.

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Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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