Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) had become a priority in many school systems. Geography has a tradition of investigating human-environment interactions and geography education is vital to make sense of sustainable development (SD). In this paper, the authors aimed to contribute to the implementation of ESD and SD in middle school geography, in The People’s Republic of China. This research employed a series of methods to analyze the content in (SD) in middle school geography standards and textbooks. The research surveyed geography teachers (n
= 237) and assessed geography students (n
= 246). Results exemplified both positive and negative conclusions from the data. Primarily, the findings suggested that geography education was important to ESD implementation, although the requirements for SD are low in the selected middle schools. The SD content was reflected clearly in the content standards and textbooks, but it was not evenly distributed in geography education. Many geography teachers in China have ample geography and interdisciplinary knowledge and they can use textbooks and other teaching methods to teach SD. The students’ performance, in a sample of four key schools, was considered “OK”, however there was still room for improvement. Most students were familiar with people, resources, environmental problems, and climate change, however, most were unable to grasp the factual knowledge about SD, such as international events and documents, latest predicted data, and research on global warming, as well as the indicators used in the specific SD assessment. Suggestions include providing students with more practical activities and a chance to do hands-on experiments, as well as building student organizations and clubs, improve Teachers’ knowledge, and understanding through teacher training program and build a platform for communicating ideas of SD through modern communication technology. Ideas of SD should be integrated into students’ daily life.
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