The crunching of resources in an unsustainable manner is now being felt at all aspects of life and the economy. With the effects of climate change getting more real and pronounced each passing day, sustainable development should be the primary goal and responsibility. On that line of thought, IMPRI Center for Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development (CECCSD), hosted a #WebPolicyTalk on Education for Sustainable Development.
Dr. Ram Boojh, CEO, Mobius Foundation, New Delhi, graced the event as the speaker with Dr. Simi Mehta, CEO and Editorial Director, IMPRI as the moderator.
The Concept of Sustainable Development
Dr. Simi Mehta commenced the event with her opening address on what the idea of sustainable development entails. She highlighted the all-encompassing nature of sustainable development and how it overlaps with various pillars of social, economic and environmental development. Dr. Mehta emphasized the need for all the stakeholders involved between policy and people to be aware and familiarized with the idea of development because poverty, climate change, and environmental degradation affects each and every person on this planet, at one or the other levels.
What the elements, intricacies of knowledge of sustainable development are; what the actions that must be taken at different levels are needs to be properly ascertained and understood, so that our future generation is not barred from enjoying the fruits of development.
Background of Education for Sustainable Development
Dr. Ram Boojh, the speaker, highlighted the grim situation that the planet is in today. He first highlighted the need for education because it is the most enabling factor to bring about change and transformation. Before explaining the concept of Education for Sustainable Development, Dr, Boojh explained the context of that. On defining the context, he highlighted the IPCC report of 2020 and the alarming content that is filled with. The damage is happening at a horribly rapid rate in terms of intensity and frequency.
Dr. Boojh, to capture the essence of development and its necessity, provided a short glimpse of the Biodiversity Conferences. In each of the reports published in CoP conferences, education on sustainable development has always found a primary mention. It can also be noted in the Sustainable Development Goals that education is linked to each of those goals. Sustainable development education should thus be action-oriented and should use innovative pedagogy to enable learners to use skills and knowledge. By 2030, it should be ensured that our learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development.
This idea of sustainable education arose from the need to arrest environmental, economic and social challenges. Dr. Boojh also explained in detail the premises of ESD. He explained how and why ESD can be considered transformative. ESD enables learners to make informed decisions and responsible actions for environmental integrity, economic viability and just society for all. He also presented a timeline of the evolution of ESD, action areas of ESD and the approach and dimensions of ESD.
time and ESD is by far one of the most effective things in the arsenal. Dr. Boojh mentioned the initiatives undertaken by Mobius Foundation in promoting ESD and SDGs as a whole. He also mentioned the challenges the pandemic has posed in the development of ESD or the realization of the SDGs and the contribution of numerous climate activists and organizations.
Question and Answer
During the question session, Dr. Boojh explained how ESD can be used for behavioral change and increase civic sense among the Indians in protecting rivers, soils and other elements of the natural environment. On that note of explanation, Dr. Boojh reiterated the need to bring ESD into the mainstream school curriculum to increase awareness.
In answering another question, Dr. Boojh described how ESD can be brought into practical learning and side by side be disseminated into other age groups, not just restricting to the younger generation. He expressed his contentment about the inclusion of ESD and SDGs in the new Education Policy (NEP) of India and its learner-centric approach. Mr. Boojh also discussed at length about the efforts the Government can undertake in promoting “green careers” at the undergraduate level. As has been the norm, the onus of sustainability and ensuring collective action is repeatedly put on individual. The need to put a huge chunk of responsibility on the giant corporate bodies was highlighted by Mr. Boojh.
Lastly, Mr. Boojh elucidated in detail the specific SDGs that need to be prioritized to a greater extent as compared to other goals and how these can be incorporated into education for sustainable developemnt. Before concluding the session, Mr. Boojh made a few policy recommendations on how to integrate, incorporate, and collaborate on ESD.
Acknowledgment: Anondeeta Chakraborty is a Research Intern at IMPRI