Defining and explaining sustainable development and sustainability: a review of curriculum guides and school texts

Alaric Maude

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    2 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The chapter reviews the way the concepts of sustainable development and sustainability are described and explained in curriculum guides, advice to teachers and school geography textbooks. Most definitions do not distinguish between sustainable development and sustainability, do not explain what is to be sustained, and do not lead to any tests of whether something is sustainable. Some of them also extend the idea of sustainability in conceptually confusing ways. An alternative definition of sustainability is proposed, based on the contention that sustainability is about a preferred state in which the functions of the environment that support human life and welfare are maintained into the future, while sustainable development is about a process for achieving this state. This definition identifies what is to be sustained, and leads to a set of principles that students can use to evaluate whether an environmental function is sustainable. The chapter also argues for students to be guided into much deeper thinking about the causes of unsustainability, and about the changes in our society and their way of life that may be required if unsustainability is to be significantly reduced.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSchooling for Sustainable Development
    Subtitle of host publicationA Focus on Australia, New Zealand, and the Oceanic Region
    PublisherSpringer
    Pages49-63
    Number of pages15
    ISBN (Electronic)9789400728820
    ISBN (Print)9789400728813
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Defining and explaining sustainable development and sustainability: a review of curriculum guides and school texts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Maude, A. (2012). Defining and explaining sustainable development and sustainability: a review of curriculum guides and school texts. In Schooling for Sustainable Development: A Focus on Australia, New Zealand, and the Oceanic Region (pp. 49-63). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-2882-0_4