Sustainability brings the needs of humans including our students into a clearer relationship with our environment. Sustainability is a powerful concept for learning because it enables students to influence the world around them and opens up new opportunities to improve our quality of life.
The need for harmony between the environment, society and the economy has always been recognised. Early societies knew their livelihood and survival was connected intricately to the environment and devised practical methods to sustain and protect their water sources, crops or wild food, or left offerings to the gods, for favourable weather and conditions.
Huge advancements in science and industrialisation have made the world a more comfortable place for many of those living in developed countries. For many people, this has not resulted in a better quality of life. Rapid development has impacted on the world's natural resources, which is now seriously limiting the Earth's capacity to support survival across the globe. We all need a clean environment in which to live.
A developing international awareness
In 1983 the United Nations appointed an international commission to propose strategies for "sustainable development" — ways to improve human wellbeing in the short term without threatening the local and global environment in the long term.
The Commission was chaired by Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland and its report Our Common Future, published in 1987, was widely known as The Brundtland Report. This landmark report helped trigger a wide range of actions, including the United Nations Earth Summits in 1992 and 2002, the International Climate Change Convention and the worldwide Agenda 21 programs.
Defining Sustainable Development
Sustainable Development has been defined in many ways. Here are some better known examples.
Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Ecologically sustainable development means using, conserving and enhancing the community's resources so that ecological processes, on which life depends, are maintained, and the total quality of life now and in the future can be increased.
Sustainable Development – improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems.
A dynamic process which enables all people to realise their potential and improve their quality of life in ways which simultaneously protect and enhance the Earth's life support systems
How does Sustainable Schools fit into the big picture?
Sustainable Schools can play a critical role in our students’ education as the program provides them with a powerful authentic learning experience in which they can help shape the outcomes around them. They become and also feel that they are valuable contributors to their communities. The entire school community takes responsibility for the sustainable practices in their school while also recognising how this influences student welfare. These practices have a flow-on affect in the homes of students. Community partnerships further infuses sustainable practices in the community.
Our facilitators work as a partner with your whole school communities and break sustainability down into manageable themes and components. Our facilitators work through the dynamic issues with your school community to achieve excellent results for the environment as well as remarkable learning outcomes, social and economic benefits. We take the greatest pride in the personal achievements of students.
Sustainable Schools allows school communities to take control of the Sustainable Schools process in their school. It places schools at the heart of their communities and helps transform them into working models to empower and inspire local communities.