TEACHING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AT UNIVERSITY LEVEL: CURRENT TRENDS AND FUTURE NEEDS

TitleTEACHING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AT UNIVERSITY LEVEL: CURRENT TRENDS AND FUTURE NEEDS
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsFilho, WL
JournalJournal of Baltic Science Education
Volume9
Issue4
Start Page273-284
Date PublishedDecember/2010
Type of ArticleOriginal article
ISSN1648-3898
Other NumbersICID: 925827
Keywordssustainable development, Universities
Abstract

Sustainable development is a matter of great concern to both countries and individuals alike. Whereas in the late 1980s sustainable development was perceived as a matter of concern only to nations, there has been an increased awareness about the fact that it permeates all parts of our lives. Some of the trends related to the evolution of sustainable development can be seen among various sectors, also at universities. Due to their relevance, universities are uniquely placed to pass on the messages of sustainable development to a wide audience. Yes, this potential has not yet been fully realised. This paper describes the evolution of the concept of sustainable development and process behind the its establishment at university level, including an analysis of the problems related to it and their roots. It also states what universities need to do in order to claim excellence in the field of sustainable development, listing a set of criteria that need to be fulfilled in order to achieve this goal.
One of the first documents outlining the need for further engagement of universities into environmental affairs, the „Magna Charta of European Universities“ promulgated in Bologna in September 1998, states that:

„ ...universities must give future generations education and training that will teach them, and through them, others to respect the great harmonies of their natural environment and of life itself. “

Among the most effective ways of achieving this, mention can be made to the need to afford sufficient emphasis to sustainability, since it deals not only with „ecological“ matters, but also with the pool of factors that influence the environmental balance and quality of life.
Although the value of sustainability is broadly acknowledged within the university community, there are still various misconceptions that need to be addressed so as to clear the way for action. Prior to being able to undertake long-term works in this area, it is important that such misconceptions are duly addressed. One of the ways to do that is via concrete initiatives at the regional level, in the framework of which the practicality and efficiency of sustainable approaches are shown. This need, which has been largely overlooked in the past, should be duly addressed, since it is not only responsible for the lack of action in the past, but future, long-term progress depends on it.

URLhttp://journals.indexcopernicus.com/abstracted.php?level=5&icid=925827
Refereed DesignationRefereed