A everyone, at all levels – governments, businesses, public

A useful starting point is to explore what
is meant by the term “Sustainable development”, it is described as a concept
for social modernisation focusing on the triple bottom line of social equity,
environmental quality and economic prosperity (Voss et al, 2006) and was
formally introduced in 1987 by the Brundtland report, ‘Our Common Future’ which defined
sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”
(WCED, 1987) later the
government launched its sustainable development strategy: ‘Securing the Future’
(DEFRA, 2005), it recognized sustainable development as: living within
environmental limits, ensuring a strong, healthy and just society and creating
sustainable economy. It further highlighted four areas for thought: sustainable
consumption and production, climate change, natural resource protection and
sustainable communities, and recognised that achieving its aim would need buy
in from everyone, at all levels – governments, businesses, public sector,
voluntary and community organisations, communities and families. (Gilligan,
2013). Sustainable
Development is therefore the method by which sustainability is achieved,
sustainability is arguably a process and not a destination (Shriberg, 2002) and
if ever achieved, will happen over many generations, at different local,
regional, national and global levels (Loorbach et al, 2009)

This was later followed by the The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable
Development (2005-2014) which sought “to mobilize the educational resources of
the world to help create a more sustainable future”. It implied action for
sustainability could be actioned in all areas (e.g. sustainable agriculture and
forestry, research and technology transfer, finance, sustainable production and
consumption) and these are detailed in Agenda 21, the official document of the
1992 Earth Summit. The importance of Education was highlighted. Education alone
cannot achieve a more sustainable future; however, without education and
learning for sustainable development, we will not be able to reach that goal
(UNESCO, 2017) this lead to the concept of Education for sustainable
development (ESD) which intends to “empower learners to take
informed decision and responsible actions for environmental integrity, economic
viability and a just society, for present and future generations, while
respecting cultural diversity. It is about lifelong learning, and is an
integral part of quality education. ESD is holistic and transformational
education which addresses learning content and outcomes, pedagogy and the
learning environment. It achieves its purpose by transforming society” (UNESCO,

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The past 20 years have been
a time of rapid change, we have witnessed major advances in science and
technology and the impact on how we live has been profound. This has resulted
in drastic improvements to quality of life. (Summers & Cutting, 2016).However this change has come at
a considerable cost expressed through the hugely negative impacts on both the
physical and the living environments. This is evidenced by the relentless and
rapid decline in the health of the planet is recorded by the world wide fund
for nature’s (WWF) state of the planet report. Summers & Cutting (2016)
argue it is this deterioration in the physical environment, compounded by
increasing social and economic disparities within population that makes the
future look increasingly bleak and that current social, economic and
environmental trends are not sustainable. EXAMPLES OF SOME CURRENT SUSTAINABILITY ISSUES (CRAWFORD

This uncertainty concerning the future, combined with equivocal
views on the possible solution, has deep implications in education, for the
simple reason that we are teaching the people who will be living in it (Summers
& Cutting, 2016).

There are several barriers to effectively blending ESD into Further Education
(FE). When considering sustainable development,
however, it is not only language that is a problem, the concept itself is
controversial. It has at least seventy different definitions and has been
called vague, confusing and almost meaningless by some. (Porritt 2005, Lozano
2008, Gibson 2000, Smyth 2006, Springett 2006, Gladwin et al 1995). Views about
it range from it being seen as ‘simply about the environment’, to being ‘too
worthy an issue without a business case (EAC/CAG 2008:ii). It is not limited to
any sector or even any country, and is not easily translated into national or
local issues (Banerjee 2003), leading to the perception that it is too big a
problem to