The Challenges of Sustainability Education
"Sustainability has become a growing imperative in higher education in the United States of America (Calder & Dautremont-Smith, 2009). This paper examines sustainability education as it continues to emerge in the global competitive economy, and traditional and borderless classrooms of the 21st century via educational institutions and public awareness. The authors examine the challenges to sustainability education by looking at how education and institutions have treated and are responding to the challenges of modern global society as related to issues of global justice, environment, survival, human rights, and citizenship that constitute the bedrock ideals from which the rationale for education for sustainability (EFS) emerges. The authors see the problem of defining sustainability and sustainability education as the primary challenge to sustainability education based on the assertion in the literature that there are no agreed upon definitions and this leads to fragmented understanding and diverse practices. Furthermore, secondary challenges to sustainability education are examined to include national-cultural disposition toward sustainability, science literacy, and understanding of the philosophy of science (POS), nature of science (NOS), nature of technology (NOT), and awareness of science and sustainability (AOSS). The authors explore sustainability issues and challenges in higher education, initiatives, and programs in sustainability, and present several examples of colleges and universities as well as social and environmental professional and education organizations involved in and promoting sustainability. The authors describe the design and implementation of sustainability education through "sustainability across the curriculum" construct and the alternative of colleges and universities developing full-fledge degree and other curriculum-related programs in sustainable business and sustainable practices. Finally, the authors provide some recommendations for universities and colleges or institutions of higher education to become truly sustainable communities by using the three guiding pillars of sustainability: flourishing environment, vibrant community, and equitable economy to avoid diminishing resources and enhance sustainability. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]"