Sustainability as a Transformation in Education

Charles L. Redman, Arnim Wiek

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


We are in the early stages of a fundamental and globally pervasive transformation in the interactions of humans, their institutions, the technologies they have created, and the environment that provides both the home and the resources that make it all possible. In this new world, change is to be expected and desired as much or more than stability and this change will often be nonlinear, complex, and hard to predict with the tools we have at hand. Just as we may be frustrated in our attempts to predict the future we, as a global society, have been largely disappointed by the results of our concerted and enduring efforts to solve some of the major challenges already facing us. Continuing war, poverty, pollution, hunger, disease, social injustice, loss of biodiversity, and anthropogenic climate change have not been resolved despite decades of massive effort by the best minds, with enormous resources, and by well-intended nations. New ideas, new tools, new institutions, and new technologies must be part of any emerging solution. For it to succeed we also need a cultural transformation in the way we think, the way we interact, and the way we value the world. It will require that people have a respect for the environment and the services it provides; a respect for others - those we don’t know as well as those we know; a willingness to take responsibility for our actions and inaction; and a determination to make difficult decisions in order to underwrite a better future. Taken together this is what many of us mean when we suggest that “sustainability” should be the goal of our efforts in education and in the broader society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHigher Education for Sustainability
Subtitle of host publicationCases, Challenges, and Opportunities from Across the Curriculum
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781136336690
ISBN (Print)9780415519359
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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