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Sustainability in Biology, Geography and Interdisciplinary Studies and Sustainable Pedagogies

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sustainability and Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (26 March 2023) | Viewed by 23772

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
1. Faculty of Education, University of Turku, 20500 Turku, Finland
2. Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Turku, 20500 Turku, Finland
Interests: Biology and Geography Education and Environmental and Sustainability Education

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Guest Editor
1. Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, Pentti Kaiteran katu 1, 90570 Oulu, Finland
2. Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Yliopistonkatu 4, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
3. Faculty of Education, University of Lapland, Yliopistonkatu 8, 96300 Rovaniemi, Finland
Interests: teaching and learning in natural sciences; environmental and sustainability education and health education
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue aims to publish high-quality research papers on Biology, Geography, Health Education, and interdisciplinary studies in the field of sustainability education.

One of the goals for the future is to achieve a sustainable society through the process of sustainable development. The concept of sustainable development is based on the concept of socioeconomic development in line with ecological constraints. The concept of needs requires a redistribution of resources to ensure the quality of life and basic needs for present and future generations.

Sustainability education provides teaching, learning, and practical experience in both formal and nonformal settings that foster personal development, community involvement, and action for change in our human and natural worlds. Education for sustainable development and sustainability are ways to get people to understand the complexity of the environment and to adapt their activities and pursue their development in ways which are harmonious with the environment. Education at all levels (e.g., schools, universities) plays a crucial role in constructing sustainable societies and wellbeing.

The research to be presented in this Special Issue will focus on student teachers’, on students’ and pupils´ or educators´ competence and awareness in addition to conceptions and concepts and other relevant issues of human environmental relationships in the domains of environmental or ecological, social, cultural, and economic sustainability.

Adj. Prof. Dr. Eija Yli-Panula
Adj. Prof. Dr. Eila Jeronen
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short 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 thoroughly refereed through a single-blind 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 semimonthly 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 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Competencies in teaching/learning sustainable development
  • Environmental biology and geography
  • Health education and sustainable development goals
  • Integrative and virtual teaching/learning in sustainability
  • Pedagogy of environmental sciences
  • Sustainability education
  • Sustainable development goals in education
  • Sustainable pedagogies
  • Climate change education
  • Children, adolescent, adults, pupils, students, student teachers

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 1365 KiB  
Article
“Why Has the Water Turned Green?” A Problem of Eutrophication in Primary School
by Isabel Banos-González, Patricia Esteve-Guirao, Magdalena Valverde-Pérez and Ana Ruiz-Navarro
Sustainability 2022, 14(20), 13651; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142013651 - 21 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1190
Abstract
This paper analyses how 224 students from the fifth and sixth grade recognise the key aspects, i.e., the causes, consequences, and solutions of the eutrophication problem affecting the relevant ecosystem in their region. Two instruments were used: a report sheet in which students [...] Read more.
This paper analyses how 224 students from the fifth and sixth grade recognise the key aspects, i.e., the causes, consequences, and solutions of the eutrophication problem affecting the relevant ecosystem in their region. Two instruments were used: a report sheet in which students work through the causes and consequences associated with the problem; and a personal letter addressed to the competent authority, which proposes solutions. The results show that students from the sixth grade recognised more complete interconnections between the agricultural development of the area and the changes that occurred in the ecosystem. In the identification of the key phases of the eutrophication process, students from both courses presented similar difficulties. Regarding the solutions, some reluctance was observed to limit agricultural activity. This reveals that students’ social perceptions about the importance of agriculture for their region may be a possible influence on their solutions. Finally, five models were established regarding the understanding that students reach of the problem as a whole. More than half of students were included in the same model, comprising those who were able to adequately identify the causes and whole process of eutrophication, as well as those who defended the advantages of the proposed solution. Educational implications are discussed in this paper. Full article
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26 pages, 2612 KiB  
Article
School Culture Promoting Sustainability in Student Teachers’ Views
by Eija Yli-Panula, Eila Jeronen and Sanna Mäki
Sustainability 2022, 14(12), 7440; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14127440 - 17 Jun 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 5018
Abstract
School culture includes values, principles, and criteria. It is an integral part of sustainability education, of which climate change education (CCE) is seen as a way to improve students’ ability to take action to mitigate climate change. This survey aimed to investigate Finnish [...] Read more.
School culture includes values, principles, and criteria. It is an integral part of sustainability education, of which climate change education (CCE) is seen as a way to improve students’ ability to take action to mitigate climate change. This survey aimed to investigate Finnish student teachers’ views of factors important in implementing CCE in school culture and their abilities as teachers to promote CCE. Thirty-six student teachers wrote essays regarding the implementation of school culture and responded to a questionnaire concerning their ability to act as climate change (CC) educators and the challenges they identified in teaching and learning about it. Inductive content analysis was used to study the essays. In student teachers’ answers, six themes to implement in school culture were identified: elements, work community, teacher’s impact, students in the centre, actors outside the school, and challenges. The student teachers highlighted challenges, such as views that deny CC and challenge the transformation of school culture to support sustainable development. The suggested ways to support CCE in daily school life that were very concrete, such as recycling and food education. Student teachers found their own ability to act as climate educators to be relatively good. They identified challenges, especially in motivating students to learn about CC and to participate and take action towards a climate-friendly lifestyle. Students’ conflicting attitudes, values, and beliefs related to CC, reinforced by their inner circle, were seen as challenges in teaching and learning about CC. Despite these challenges, transforming a school culture to support CCE should be the goal of every school. Full article
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14 pages, 297 KiB  
Article
Storytelling as an Educational Tool in Sustainable Education
by Maria Hofman-Bergholm
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 2946; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14052946 - 3 Mar 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3757
Abstract
In this theoretical paper, a multidisciplinary framework is structured to enable the formation of a shared understanding of the need to combine education for sustainability, traditional knowledge, transformative learning, systems thinking, and storytelling. The paper summarizes results from some fairly new studies on [...] Read more.
In this theoretical paper, a multidisciplinary framework is structured to enable the formation of a shared understanding of the need to combine education for sustainability, traditional knowledge, transformative learning, systems thinking, and storytelling. The paper summarizes results from some fairly new studies on sustainability implementation in education, recognizes problems, and provides alternative suggestions on how to address problems that prevent the integration of sustainability in education. An increase in ecological illiteracy in society and lost contact with nature seem to occur within the now-growing generation. In research literature, it is largely agreed that systems thinking needs to be developed in order to understand the concept of sustainability. Reviewing research in the field, systems dynamics, simulations, and case studies are highlighted as possible pedagogical tools to emerge in the understanding of sustainability. However, do we still only preform information transformation? To transform both education and society, transformative learning must be adopted. This paper would like to emphasize the capacity of storytelling to make sustainability more easily accessible. Storytelling as a pedagogical tool for learning sustainability is still a bit overshadowed, but the idea of sustainability can be traced far back in aboriginal cultures, where storytelling has been used to transfer traditional knowledge from one generation to the next. Full article
17 pages, 972 KiB  
Article
Conserve My Village—Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish Students’ Valued Landscapes and Well-Being
by Eija Yli-Panula, Eila Jeronen, Eila Matikainen and Christel Persson
Sustainability 2022, 14(2), 671; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14020671 - 7 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1912
Abstract
In the context of landscape, both the natural environment and the built environment can be linked with human health and well-being. This connection has been studied among adults, but no research has been conducted on young people. To fill this gap, this case [...] Read more.
In the context of landscape, both the natural environment and the built environment can be linked with human health and well-being. This connection has been studied among adults, but no research has been conducted on young people. To fill this gap, this case study aimed to elucidate students’ views on landscapes worth conserving and the landscapes that affect and support their well-being. The participants (n = 538) were Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish students from grades 3–6. The students drew the landscapes they wanted to conserve. The drawn landscapes and the welfare-supporting features they contained were analysed using inductive and abductive content analyses. The students from all three countries preferred water, forest and yard landscapes. In the drawings of natural landscapes, the most recurring themes were sunrise or sunset, forest, beach and mountain landscapes. Physical well-being was manifested in the opportunity to jog and walk. Social well-being was reflected in the presence of friends, relatives and animals. Therapeutically important well-being-related spaces—the so-called green (natural areas), blue (aquatic environments) and white (e.g., snow) areas—were also depicted in the participants’ drawings. It can be concluded that the drawn landscapes reflect several values that promote students’ well-being. Full article
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19 pages, 298 KiB  
Article
Connections of Transformative Education with Bhutan’s Pedagogical Ideas for Promoting Sustainability Education
by Eila Jeronen, Päivi Ahonen and Riitta-Liisa Korkeamäki
Sustainability 2022, 14(1), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010163 - 24 Dec 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3723
Abstract
The study aims to clarify how transformative education teaching and learning ideas have been incorporated into sustainable development-focused education in Bhutan. Sustainable development is included in various ways in the Educating for Gross National Happiness Training Manual (GNH TM) developed by the Ministry [...] Read more.
The study aims to clarify how transformative education teaching and learning ideas have been incorporated into sustainable development-focused education in Bhutan. Sustainable development is included in various ways in the Educating for Gross National Happiness Training Manual (GNH TM) developed by the Ministry of Education of Bhutan in 2013. GNH-focused education aims at developing students’ respect and critical thinking for the well-being of human beings and the environment. The article provides an overview of 26 selected articles published in peer-reviewed scientific journals from 1991–2021. Altogether, 12 sustainable development-focused transformative education articles were analyzed in detail using qualitative content analysis. The results of the study show that transformative education is reflected in many ways in the teaching goals, objectives, contents, and methods introduced in the GNH TM units. Consequently, transformative education and teaching have become part of teaching in Bhutan’s schools, with an emphasis on sustainable development and protection of the environment. However, for a sustainable future, active student-centered teaching and learning methods should be used in a more diverse way. Full article
18 pages, 849 KiB  
Article
Collective Public Commitment: Young People on the Path to a More Sustainable Lifestyle
by Petra Lindemann-Matthies, Ellinor Hoyer and Martin Remmele
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11349; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011349 - 14 Oct 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2283
Abstract
Society’s development toward more sustainable lifestyles can only succeed if changes are also performed at the individual level. We, therefore investigated whether the participation of teenagers (14–19 years old) in a collective public commitment and accompanying workshop on plastic consumption strengthened their willingness [...] Read more.
Society’s development toward more sustainable lifestyles can only succeed if changes are also performed at the individual level. We, therefore investigated whether the participation of teenagers (14–19 years old) in a collective public commitment and accompanying workshop on plastic consumption strengthened their willingness and ability to take action. Previous projects such as the EcoTeam Program served as workshop templates. Over a period of five weeks, the teenagers met once a week for the workshop, an exchange of ideas, and the establishment of weekly goals for their commitment. Semi-structured interviews were carried out to investigate the outcomes directly after the project and three years later. Participants developed a more conscious environmental perception, which led to behavioral changes and the willingness to maintain or improve those changes. Beyond this outcome, most participants functioned as multipliers and ambassadors for a more sustainable lifestyle in their social environment. Even three years after the commitment project, all former participants had maintained their behavioral changes. Collective public commitment could thus be a suitable method for ESD, and a vehicle to support young people on their path to a more sustainable lifestyle. Full article
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15 pages, 1447 KiB  
Article
Geography Education for Promoting Sustainability in Indonesia
by Nabila Nurul Hawa, Sharifah Zarina Syed Zakaria, Muhammad Rizal Razman and Nuriah Abd Majid
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4340; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084340 - 13 Apr 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3978
Abstract
Education for the environment and sustainable development is the one important thing for being studied. At formal school in Indonesia, it was integrated into the subject matter like social science, natural science, geography, or biology. The study about geography education for promoting sustainability [...] Read more.
Education for the environment and sustainable development is the one important thing for being studied. At formal school in Indonesia, it was integrated into the subject matter like social science, natural science, geography, or biology. The study about geography education for promoting sustainability had not been thoroughly done in Indonesia. Therefore, this study examined and investigated articles about geography learning and sustainability in Indonesia from 2010 to 2020. The materials were searched through the Garuda and ERIC application, by using keywords related to geography education. It was selected to published articles in journals indexed by Scopus and Sinta. The data were analyzed by a qualitative method with a content analysis approach. The foci of analysis are topics of sustainability elements, learning methods and models, learning media and resources, and students’ assessment in geography learning. All of these were investigated in concern to their relationships and achievements to sustainable development goals (SDGs). As a result, the topics of geography education in Indonesia have contained three main elements of sustainability, namely environment which the most stated, then social, and economic. The learning model and method that was mostly used was outdoor learning with contextual method. The learning media that mostly mentioned were maps, while the learning resources were local wisdom. Aspects of students’ assessment that mostly studied in geography education for promoting sustainability were students’ knowledge, attitude, and skills. Overall, this study has shown that the topics related to sustainability elements contained in the articles on geography education in Indonesia includes their learning components. Full article
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