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Special Issue "Education and Skills for the Green Economy"

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A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2014)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Stephen Martin

Faculty of Environment and Technology, University of the West of England, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol, BS16 1QY, UK
Interests: technical and vocational skills and the green economy; graduate skills and the green economy; continuing professional development and sustainability
Guest Editor
Dr. Andrew McCoshan

Independent Researcher and Consultant

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The idea of the green economy has gained prominence mainly because it provides a response to the multiple crises that the world has experienced in recent years, in particular to the climate, food and economic crises. And it offers an alternative prospect of growth while protecting the earth’s eco-systems and, in turn, contributing to poverty alleviation.

In June 2012, the United Nations convened an international conference on sustainable development in Rio, Brazil .Its main themes were: a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and the institutional frameworks for sustainable development. The draft vision for the conference stated clearly and optimistically that” a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication should lead inter alia to meeting key global priorities such as food security, more effective water management and access to modern energy supply systems. And lead to improved resilience, public health and sustained, inclusive and equitable growth that generates employment, including for youth.”
In many regions of the world there is a growing and tangible policy focus on economic growth based on building a substantial ‘green economy’. Indeed, the UK and many member states of the European Union are currently highlighting the potential impact of an emerging global ‘green economy’ on the world of work. Efforts to tackle climate change could, for example, result in the creation of millions of new jobs in the coming decades.
There is little doubt that a changing climate will bring fundamental changes to economies and societies and skills will be needed to build adaptive capacity and take adaptive action. Developing this adaptive capacity across society will require research on what skills will be needed in the long term, and will demand a response by schools, colleges, universities and professional associations as well as governments. This special issue will critically assess how the educational and training policy discourse is developing to reflect the opportunities of the green economy and how education and training practice is changing to meet the demands of the emerging green economy in regions of the world.

Prof. Dr Stephen Martin
Dr. Andrew McCoshan
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • The Green Economy
  • Skills
  • Education for Sustainable development and the Green Economy
  • education and training policy and the Green Economy

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle A Peaking and Tailing Approach to Education and Curriculum Renewal for Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4181-4199; doi:10.3390/su6074181
Received: 24 March 2014 / Revised: 20 June 2014 / Accepted: 20 June 2014 / Published: 2 July 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (991 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Contextual factors for sustainable development such as population growth, energy, and resource availability and consumption levels, food production yield, and growth in pollution, provide numerous complex and rapidly changing education and training requirements for a variety of professions including engineering. Furthermore, these [...] Read more.
Contextual factors for sustainable development such as population growth, energy, and resource availability and consumption levels, food production yield, and growth in pollution, provide numerous complex and rapidly changing education and training requirements for a variety of professions including engineering. Furthermore, these requirements may not be clearly understood or expressed by designers, governments, professional bodies or the industry. Within this context, this paper focuses on one priority area for greening the economy through sustainable development—improving energy efficiency—and discusses the complexity of capacity building needs for professionals. The paper begins by acknowledging the historical evolution of sustainability considerations, and the complexity embedded in built environment solutions. The authors propose a dual-track approach to building capacity building, with a short-term focus on improvement (i.e., making peaking challenges a priority for postgraduate education), and a long-term focus on transformational innovation (i.e., making tailing challenges a priority for undergraduate education). A case study is provided, of Australian experiences over the last decade with regard to the topic area of energy efficiency. The authors conclude with reflections on implications for the approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Skills for the Green Economy)
Open AccessArticle Attitudes toward Sustainability and Green Economy Issues Related to Some Students Learning Their Characteristics: A Preliminary Study
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3484-3503; doi:10.3390/su6063484
Received: 21 February 2014 / Revised: 4 April 2014 / Accepted: 7 May 2014 / Published: 28 May 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (285 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The present paper proposes and describes a new method, called L2A (listen-to-apprise), conceived of in order to improve the commitment of all the participants involved in an educational process specifically dedicated to sustainability and the green economy. The first stage consists in [...] Read more.
The present paper proposes and describes a new method, called L2A (listen-to-apprise), conceived of in order to improve the commitment of all the participants involved in an educational process specifically dedicated to sustainability and the green economy. The first stage consists in listening to the students and, when possible, in listening to the environment, the people, and the territory, while, in the second stage, the acquired information is used to exploit everyone’s talents and to achieve the maximum advantage and satisfaction for all. The first phase of L2A is mainly dedicated to listening to the students via the submission of an on-line questionnaire that measures their learning preferences, self-efficacy and sensitivity to the themes of sustainability and the green economy. The investigation has been extended from Italy to Honduras, where the authors are involved in the development of major projects concerning sustainability. The results of the survey have been analyzed by means of standard significance and correlation analysis, and therefore, significant differences among the groups and correlations within each group have been detected. The results have been discussed in order to explain how the L2A method works and how useful and powerful a tool it could be to improve teaching, learning and practical activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Skills for the Green Economy)
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Open AccessArticle Learning for a Sustainable Economy: Teaching of Green Competencies in the University
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2974-2992; doi:10.3390/su6052974
Received: 31 January 2014 / Revised: 6 May 2014 / Accepted: 9 May 2014 / Published: 15 May 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (881 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper looks at universities as training centers for a sustainable economy. Their remit is to promote the required competencies to achieve that aim, including competencies in sustainability. This article describes the role that the universities in Spain are fulfilling with respect [...] Read more.
This paper looks at universities as training centers for a sustainable economy. Their remit is to promote the required competencies to achieve that aim, including competencies in sustainability. This article describes the role that the universities in Spain are fulfilling with respect to these issues and presents a training proposal that comprises four key competencies in sustainability with their corresponding performance indicators that permit the evaluation of different levels of achievement in training processes. These competencies must embrace their formative role not only with regard to future graduates who will be employed in “green jobs” per se, but also with regard to those alumni who will work in all the other productive sectors, in addition to all citizens directly and indirectly involved in the wider economy as consumers, producers and (direct or indirect) recipients of its effects. The proposal is based on the recommendations of the Conferencia de Rectores de Universidades Españolas (CRUE: Conference of Chancellors of Spanish Universities), and can be adapted to the teaching programs of different subjects in order to facilitate the training necessary in general competencies of sustainability within the ambit of the subjects taught. Furthermore, this proposal follows the institutional strategy of CRUE to promote curricula sustainability through the inclusion of the principles and values of sustainable development in every degree and educational program taught. This proposal could also be applied to other cultural contexts with similar characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Skills for the Green Economy)
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Open AccessArticle Laying the Foundation for Transdisciplinary Faculty Collaborations: Actions for a Sustainable Future
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2893-2928; doi:10.3390/su6052893
Received: 26 January 2014 / Revised: 30 April 2014 / Accepted: 7 May 2014 / Published: 14 May 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (557 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
How can academicians who desire a sustainable future successfully participate in transdisciplinary projects? Transcending our hidden thought patterns is required. Paradoxically, the disciplinary specialization that enabled the industrial era and its metaphors now function to undermine our ability to recognize and participate [...] Read more.
How can academicians who desire a sustainable future successfully participate in transdisciplinary projects? Transcending our hidden thought patterns is required. Paradoxically, the disciplinary specialization that enabled the industrial era and its metaphors now function to undermine our ability to recognize and participate in the transformational learning that is needed. In this paper, we offer a post-industrial era metaphor for transdisciplinarity—that of complex dynamic system—that has helped us to work through the unexpected experiences encountered in the process of transformative learning. These insights are based on an ongoing transdisciplinary research collaboration (2008–present) using action research methods; we focus on the faculty experience. Accepting the metaphors of complex systems, we describe the systemic conditions that seem to repeatedly reproduce the emergence of transformative learning for participants, as well as what one might expect to experience in the process. These experiences include: conflict, existential crisis, transformation and renewed vitality within the necessary context of a safe and caring community. Without the adoption of complexity metaphors, these elements would have been overlooked or interpreted as a hindrance to the work. These insights are intended to serve as socially robust knowledge to support the effective participation of faculty members in sustainability projects of a transdisciplinary nature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Skills for the Green Economy)
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Open AccessArticle Lessons Learned from Developing a New Distance-Learning Masters Course in the Green Economy
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2118-2132; doi:10.3390/su6042118
Received: 5 February 2014 / Revised: 8 April 2014 / Accepted: 9 April 2014 / Published: 15 April 2014
PDF Full-text (553 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is widely recognised that for the green economy to develop successfully, new educational curricula will be required to help professionals develop appropriate knowledge and skills. Relatively few university courses have been developed to date that explicitly focus on the green economy, [...] Read more.
It is widely recognised that for the green economy to develop successfully, new educational curricula will be required to help professionals develop appropriate knowledge and skills. Relatively few university courses have been developed to date that explicitly focus on the green economy, reflecting its recent origins. Here we present the lessons learned from developing and implementing a new Masters course in the green economy, at Bournemouth University in the UK. The most significant challenges were institutional barriers, such as different departmental policies and procedures and decentralised budget strategies, which inhibited the cross-departmental collaboration desired for interdisciplinarity. Uncertainty about the future development of the green economy and its value as a concept, among both teaching staff and prospective students, presented a further challenge. In addition, the development of an appropriate curriculum for green economy courses has received little attention previously. Here, we present an overview of the curriculum developed for this Masters-level course, and, based on our experience, we demonstrate how the challenges in developing such a course can successfully be overcome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Skills for the Green Economy)
Open AccessArticle Learning for the Future? Effects of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) on Teacher Education Students
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5135-5152; doi:10.3390/su5125135
Received: 18 October 2013 / Revised: 13 November 2013 / Accepted: 20 November 2013 / Published: 2 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (731 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Currently, politicians, university representatives, scholars and leading NGOs share a strong belief in the ability of educational systems to generate positive attitudes to sustainable development (SD) among citizens, with the idea of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as perhaps the most apparent [...] Read more.
Currently, politicians, university representatives, scholars and leading NGOs share a strong belief in the ability of educational systems to generate positive attitudes to sustainable development (SD) among citizens, with the idea of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as perhaps the most apparent expression of this conviction. The aim of this paper is to investigate whether ESD might have the intended effects on teacher education students. More specifically, we account for the results from a panel study on the effects of a course on SD held in autumn 2010 at the University of Gothenburg (n = 323) on teacher education students. The surveys consisted of questions about the students’ concerns about various issues, including issues related to SD, and their attitudes towards SD and views of moral obligations to contributing to SD. The study included a control group (n = 97) consisting of students from the teacher-training programme at University West, which had not and did not include ESD. We find positive effects of ESD on almost all attitudes and perceptions, including e.g., personal responsibility in relation to SD and willingness to contribute to SD, while there is no noticeable effect in the control group. We conclude the paper by discussing the implications of our results for the idea of ESD in teacher training programmes at Swedish higher education institutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Skills for the Green Economy)

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