Special Issue "Education for Sustainable Consumption"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Education and Approaches".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Daniel Fischer
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
1. Arizona State University, School of Sustainability and Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, USA
2. Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Institute for Environmental & Sustainability Communication, Germany

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Education is prominently referred to as an indispensable element of a transition towards more sustainable consumption practices and features prominently in strategy documents on the national and international level. While significant quantitative progress has been made in the implementation of education for sustainable development in education systems, the discourse has shifted its focus more on the quality and effectiveness, and the question of what type of education for sustainable consumption (ESC) is needed to achieve substantial progress (as manifested in SDGs 4 and 12). This requires careful evaluation of intended learning outcomes and their assessment (both individual and collective), learning contexts and approaches (didactics, curricula, whole-school approaches), as well as implementation strategies.                    

Given the lack of a solid and consolidated evidence base on the effectiveness of existing approaches, this Special Issue of Sustainability aims to provide a critical appraisal of the state of art in research on ESC and to identify promising new directions for future research. We are seeking contributions from all educational fields (formal, non-formal, informal) that are thought-provoking, methodologically rigorous, and innovative in the way they approach an educational engagement with the notion of sustainable consumption. Particularly welcome are articles reporting intervention studies, synthesizing existing research and conveying critical perspectives on dominant discourses, narratives and framings of sustainable consumption in ESC.

Feel free to contact me for any queries related to this Special Issue. I look forward to an inspiring collection of papers on the state and prospect of education for sustainable consumption.

Prof. Dr. Daniel Fischer
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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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 1900 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

  • Education for sustainable consumption
  • Consumer education
  • Education for sustainable development
  • Sustainable consumption

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Complexity in Education for Sustainable Consumption—An Educational Data Mining Approach using Mysteries
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 722; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030722 - 30 Jan 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1745
Abstract
Systems thinking is one of the skills necessary for sustainable behavior, especially regarding sustainable consumption. Students are faced with complexity and uncertainty while taking part in it and other daily life aspects. There is a need to foster their competence in this field. [...] Read more.
Systems thinking is one of the skills necessary for sustainable behavior, especially regarding sustainable consumption. Students are faced with complexity and uncertainty while taking part in it and other daily life aspects. There is a need to foster their competence in this field. From a classroom point of view, the mystery method is an example for implementing education for sustainable consumption and working with complex and uncertain content. With the mystery method students construct an influence diagram, which consists of concepts and requires several skills, especially in decision-making. Using these diagrams as a form of assessment is desirable but also very difficult, because of the mentioned complexity and uncertainty that is part of the task itself. The study presented here tackles this problem by creating an expert based reference diagram that has been constructed with the help of educational data mining. The result shows that it is possible to derive such a reference even if parts remain ambiguous due to the inherent complexity. The reference may now be used to assess students’ systems thinking abilities, which will be undertaken in future research. Beside this, the reference can be used as a reflective tool in lessons, so students can compare their own content knowledge and discuss differences to the experts’ reference. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education for Sustainable Consumption)
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Article
“These Grandmas Drove Me Mad. It Was Brilliant!”—Promising Starting Points to Support Citizen Competence for Sustainable Consumption in Adults
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 681; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030681 - 28 Jan 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1269
Abstract
The article addresses citizen competence for sustainable consumption in adults. It discusses whether it is possible to develop educational offerings for adults (being by nature short and isolated) that effectively promote this competence and whether it makes a difference if sustainable consumption is [...] Read more.
The article addresses citizen competence for sustainable consumption in adults. It discusses whether it is possible to develop educational offerings for adults (being by nature short and isolated) that effectively promote this competence and whether it makes a difference if sustainable consumption is approached by focusing on good life (quality of life) and justice or by focusing on natural resources and environment (as is suggested by, e.g., environmental literacy approaches). Taking the case of energy policy, it presents an educational intervention (EdIn) developed, implemented, and investigated by the authors. In data-analysis, three approaches were adopted (methodological triangulation), one analysing the deliberations’ cognitive structure, one analysing the participants’ perception, one analysing the participants’ reaction (in terms of the knowledge/concepts and values/concerns they voiced). The results show, firstly, that the didactical design of EdIn was successful with a view to supporting citizen competence in participants. Secondly, they show that in adult civic education sustainable consumption should be approached by focusing on good life and justice. Thirdly, they indicate that people do not necessarily perceive themselves to be part of societal decision-making, leading from the question of the design and content of civic educational activities to the question of their necessity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education for Sustainable Consumption)
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Article
Mindfulness Training at School: A Way to Engage Adolescents with Sustainable Consumption?
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3557; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103557 - 04 Oct 2018
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2039
Abstract
A central challenge in research on education for sustainable consumption (ESC) is to develop new approaches to engage adolescents with sustainable consumption (SC) in a way that addresses not only the cognitive but also the socio-emotional and behavioral levels. Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) that [...] Read more.
A central challenge in research on education for sustainable consumption (ESC) is to develop new approaches to engage adolescents with sustainable consumption (SC) in a way that addresses not only the cognitive but also the socio-emotional and behavioral levels. Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) that foster awareness, (self-)reflection, and ethical values could potentially leverage learning processes in ESC. The present study was the first one to investigate the potential effects of a consumption-specific MBI on sustainable consumption behavior (SCB) in the areas of nutrition and clothing. The eight-week long intervention was carried out with 15-year old adolescents (N = 85) directly at school. A randomized pre-post waitlist control group design with mixed methods was applied. The study revealed the strong effects of the adapted MBI on precursors of SCB and further effects not directly related to but potentially conducive for SCB. Actual behavioral effects were minor. Substantial inter-individual differences and inconsistencies between qualitative and quantitative results imply case-related effects that do not allow generalizable conclusions to be drawn. Nevertheless, the results of this pilot study indicate that combining mindfulness training with ESC formats appears to be a feasible and fruitful approach to engage adolescents with SC. Future practice and research should consider more diverse target groups, other consumption areas, and longer periods for interventions and their evaluation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education for Sustainable Consumption)
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Article
Consumption-Intention Formation in Education for Sustainable Development: An Adapted Model Based on the Theory of Planned Behavior
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3455; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103455 - 27 Sep 2018
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2654
Abstract
Global biosphere issues call for an education for sustainable consumption decisions. Enabling adolescent learners to form sustainable consumption intentions involves an understanding of underlying internal predictors. The theory of planned behavior (TPB) delivers a useful approach to this challenge. Understanding of the underlying [...] Read more.
Global biosphere issues call for an education for sustainable consumption decisions. Enabling adolescent learners to form sustainable consumption intentions involves an understanding of underlying internal predictors. The theory of planned behavior (TPB) delivers a useful approach to this challenge. Understanding of the underlying motives behind sustainable consumption decision-making, however, requires knowledge and evaluation of three basic sustainability aspects, the generational, the coherence, and the spatial aspect. As yet, the TPB framework does not take account of those facets. In this paper, we propose an extension of the TPB that meets these shortcomings by integrating the sustainability aspects while including the concepts of sustainability knowledge and sustainability values into the existing model. Furthermore, we extended the functional range of the attitude construct to the three sustainability aspects. The objective of the present article is to introduce and discuss the adapted framework which can serve as a first step for an educational implementation of the concept of sustainable consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education for Sustainable Consumption)
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Article
Home Economics Teachers’ Perceptions of Facilitating and Inhibiting Factors When Teaching Sustainable Food Consumption
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1463; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051463 - 07 May 2018
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2439
Abstract
The aim of the present study is to explore experienced home economics (HE) teachers’ perceptions of the influencing factors that condition their teaching opportunities regarding the revised mission to implement sustainable development (SD) in food-related education. Five purposefully selected HE teachers participated in [...] Read more.
The aim of the present study is to explore experienced home economics (HE) teachers’ perceptions of the influencing factors that condition their teaching opportunities regarding the revised mission to implement sustainable development (SD) in food-related education. Five purposefully selected HE teachers participated in individual, semi-structured, in-depth interviews. The recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using qualitative thematic analysis. The results show a shared view of in the importance of educating the next generation of sustainable food consumers. Teachers returned to specific influencing factors that conditioned their opportunities to implement a perspective of SD in HE food education. This generated four themes: (1) Unscheduled foodwork in preparing sustainable food education, (2) opportunities to link everyday food choices with larger food system issues, (3) access to sustainable supportive food products and materials, and (4) a school environment in support of food-related teaching. The teachers outlined a number of local and national factors perceived to inhibit access to facilitators and expressed a concern for pupils’ opportunities for quality assurance and goal achievement. The suggested influencing factors could serve as propositions for further investigations in the continued work of both resource reinforcements as well as of developing a SD perspective in food-related HE education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education for Sustainable Consumption)
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