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Home > Thinking about Forever - Updated: 08-01-2003 5:22 pm
Underlying all our images of a sustainable future is the key principle that sustainability is about 'thinking about forever'.  

This means committing ourselves to the common good by thinking differently, considering things previously forgotten, broadening our perspectives, clarifying what we value, connecting with our neighbours, and providing hope for future generations.

Building the capacity to think in terms of 'forever' is a key task of education.

A Process of Learning

Educating for a sustainable future is not so much about a destination as about the process of learning to make decisions that consider the long-term economy, ecology and equity of all communities. Its goal is to build an enduring society. This involves learning how to anticipate the consequences of our actions, envision a sustainable future and create the steps needed to achieve the vision. Individuals and societies will perpetually have to make choices. How those choices are made and the information and ethical discernment used in making them will determine whether our visions of a sustainable future are achieved.

The World Commission on Environment and Development urged people, governments and businesses around the world to make their choices that contributed to ways of living and relating to the Earth and each other so that the use of resources today would meet ‘the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future to meet their own needs’.

“How can the needs of current and future generations be met in a world where the aspirations of many people far exceed their needs and the life chances of the many more are acutely limited by poverty and environmental decline? The task of creating social, economic and political systems that meet our needs and aspirations, that are based on sound ecological principles, and that are democratic and fair to current and future generations, is a deeply challenging one. Yet, building the capacity and commitment to build such a sustainable future is, in large part, one of the tasks of education. This requires that teachers and schools have a vision of what a sustainable future might be like - bearing in mind the dynamic balance between cultural differences and the emerging global ethic of 'interrelatedness and sanctity of life.”


Author(s) UNESCO
Periodical Name Extracts "Teachin and learning for a sustainable future"
Publication date 01/06/2002



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