Special Issue "Education and Sustainable Development"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Roman Hoffmann
Website
Guest Editor
Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU), Vienna Institute of Demography, Austrian Academy of Sciences, 1020 Vienna, Austria
Interests: Environment and populations; sustainable development; education; climate change adaptation and mitigation; resilience building; environmental health; communinty health care; empirical methods and statistics.
Ms. Marina Andrijevic
Website
Guest Editor
Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany & Climate Analytics, Berlin, Germany
Interests: Sustainable economic development; climate change adaptation; population dynamics; education; projections; environmental impacts and vulnerability.

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Paths towards sustainable development are challenged by multiple global issues that threaten populations and ecosystems around the world, calling for inclusive and innovative solutions. This Special Issue addresses the role of education in advancing sustainable development, with a focus on its environmental dimensions and the prevention of climate change. Education can be vital for climate change mitigation and adaptation, helping societies and communities to increase their adaptive capacity and resilience, and altering the ways people perceive and interact with the environment.

Taking into account the myriad of interactions between education and sustainable development, this Special Issue calls for contributions from researchers of diverse backgrounds, including environmental sciences, demography, economics, sociology, psychology, as well as educational science and pedagogy. The aim is to provide the reader with a comprehensive overview of the theoretical and (quantitative and qualitative) empirical literature on the topic and to highlight links between inclusive education and sustainability. Education is broadly understood as any form of organized learning in a formal or informal setting, including school-based learning, community training interventions, and peer learning approaches.

We invite submissions related to one or more of the following core research areas:

  1. Climate change education, education for sustainability, and climate literacy
  2. Influence of education on pro-environmental behavior by individuals and households
  3. The relevant mechanisms explaining the effects of education; the role of education in environmental awareness/consciousness, knowledge, skills, and values
  4. Abilities to adapt to changing environments; resilience-building; disaster risk reduction
  5. Support for green policies; support for mitigation actions on a governmental level
  6. Education, learning, and modern information and communication technologies
  7. Impacts of education policies and their implications for sustainable development
    (examples from the least-developed countries are particularly welcome)
  8. Forecasting future developments and trends, and implications of future changes

We look forward to receiving your submissions. Should you have any questions about the content of the special issue and the suitability of your research, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Dr. Roman Hoffmann
Ms. Marina Andrijevic
Guest Editors

References:

  1. Lutz, W., Muttarak, R., Striessnig, E. (2014): Universal education is key to enhanced climate adaptation. Science 346 (6213): 1061-1062.
  2. Hoffmann, R., Muttarak, R: (2017): Learn from the Past, Prepare for the Future: Impacts of Education and Experience on Disaster Preparedness in the Philippines and Thailand. World Development 96: 32-51.
  3. Sterling, S. (2001): Sustainable Education: Revisioning Learning and Change. Schumacher Briefings.
  4. Bengtsson, S., Barakat, B., Muttarak, R. (2018): The Role of Education in Enabling the Sustainable Development Agenda. Routledge Studies in Development and Society.

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 papers will be 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 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

  • Sustainable development
  • Education
  • Learning
  • Environmental behavior
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Resilience-building
  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Environmental awareness
  • Environmental knowledge
  • Education policies

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle
Educating at Scale for Sustainable Development and Social Enterprise Growth: The Impact of Online Learning and a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3247; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083247 - 16 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 954
Abstract
The solutions to the grand challenges of sustainability, poverty, and health affecting the world will require education and capacity building for all individuals implementing change on a global scale. The challenge ahead is to reach those missed by traditional education and support networks. [...] Read more.
The solutions to the grand challenges of sustainability, poverty, and health affecting the world will require education and capacity building for all individuals implementing change on a global scale. The challenge ahead is to reach those missed by traditional education and support networks. Online Learning and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have the potential to build knowledge and share best practice experiences among individuals worldwide. This paper examines the case of the FutureLearn Social Enterprise Program, a series of MOOCs with over 50,000 registered learners, of which 15% become active learners, engaging in online exercises, debates, and conversations. This paper draws on quantitative and qualitative data collected over four years. The findings show that the course has not only had an impact on the creation of new startup social enterprises, but it has also supported a large proportion of learners in developing sustainability and social entrepreneurial ideas within a range of organisations in the public, private, and civil society sectors. The findings also show a positive cascading impact effect from the learners registered on the course to those in their network, as ideas are shared, and learners become mentors to others. Our conclusions demonstrate how digital education and online courses contribute to global education for sustainable development and social enterprise development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Cycling for a Sustainable Future. Stimulating Children to Cycle to School via a Synergetic Combination of Informational and Behavioral Interventions
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3224; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083224 - 16 Apr 2020
Viewed by 521
Abstract
This paper explores how communication interventions can be designed to motivate children to choose more sustainable commuting options (cycling) to go to school. One-hundred and eighty-six children (between 8 and 11 years old) from Flanders, Belgium, participated in an intervention study testing the [...] Read more.
This paper explores how communication interventions can be designed to motivate children to choose more sustainable commuting options (cycling) to go to school. One-hundred and eighty-six children (between 8 and 11 years old) from Flanders, Belgium, participated in an intervention study testing the effectiveness of using informative versus behavioral interventions and the moderating role of motivational messages. The study employed a between-subjects research design with 3 types of interventions (informational versus behavioral versus a combination of informational and behavioral interventions) and 2 types of motivation (autonomous versus controlled motivation). Findings revealed that the average change in the number of times the child indicated to commute by cycling was biggest after being exposed to a combination of informational and behavioral interventions. The type of motivation (autonomous versus controlled) did not have an impact on the average change in the number of times the child indicated to commute by cycling, nor moderated these effects. Additionally, including age and gender as covariates in the model did not alter the results. The study’s findings provide more insights in how sustainable commuting can be promoted among children. It shows the benefits of combining informational and behavioral interventions in public awareness programs (such as in schools). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Still Green at Fifteen? Investigating Environmental Awareness of the PISA 2015 Population: Cross-National Differences and Correlates
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2985; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072985 - 08 Apr 2020
Viewed by 811
Abstract
The PISA studies provide unique opportunities to investigate the competencies and attitudes of 15-year-olds across the world. Past research investigating environmental awareness (EA) in PISA 2006 found associations between EA and science-related competencies and attitudes. Investigating EA in the PISA studies may have [...] Read more.
The PISA studies provide unique opportunities to investigate the competencies and attitudes of 15-year-olds across the world. Past research investigating environmental awareness (EA) in PISA 2006 found associations between EA and science-related competencies and attitudes. Investigating EA in the PISA studies may have important implications for education for sustainable development (ESD): results may show which factors should be considered in educational interventions to enhance students’ EA. Cross-national analyses of EA may provide insights into the predictors of EA on a local, national or international level. This study investigates the individual, school, and country level predictors of EA in PISA 2015 (365,194 students, 12,594 schools, 53 countries). The multi-level regression analysis on EA reveals that most of the variance is located at the student level. On the individual level, variables related to science learning in school are associated with EA across all countries. This study also compares the degrees of EA in the 2006 and 2015 populations. The results show similar degrees of EA in 2006 and 2015. Altogether, the study provides cross-country evidence on important aspects that should be addressed in successful ESD programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Education for Sustainable Development in Germany: Not Just Desired but Also Effective for Transformative Action
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2838; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072838 - 02 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1375
Abstract
Despite its role as a key factor for transformation, there is still a lack of large-scale studies on the effects of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). The aim of this study is to predict sustainable behavior based on reported implementation of ESD as [...] Read more.
Despite its role as a key factor for transformation, there is still a lack of large-scale studies on the effects of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). The aim of this study is to predict sustainable behavior based on reported implementation of ESD as well as psychological (e.g., attitudes, emotions) and socio-demographic variables. Descriptive statistics and a multiple regression model were used to analyze data from 2564 young people from different formal educational fields and 525 teachers from Germany. Both learners and educators desire a distinctly higher amount of ESD within formal educational settings compared to the status quo. The multiple regression model explains 26% of variance in sustainable behavior. By far the strongest predictors are, firstly, connectedness with nature, followed by emotions regarding sustainability and ESD implementation on the content level (making connections between past, present and future, the local and the global, and ecology, economy and the social). One implication of the research findings is an “update” for ESD: Emphasizing the emotional dimension of education and relating the didactics of “controversial issues” to ESD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Moving (Reflexively within) Structures. The Governance of Education for Sustainable Development in Germany
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2778; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072778 - 01 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 836
Abstract
The educational governance discourse aims at capturing how different actors, participating in a specific political process, coordinate their actions while working together within multi-actor policy networks. In Germany, such multi-actor policy networks have set up ambitious political goals on the implementation of education [...] Read more.
The educational governance discourse aims at capturing how different actors, participating in a specific political process, coordinate their actions while working together within multi-actor policy networks. In Germany, such multi-actor policy networks have set up ambitious political goals on the implementation of education for sustainable development (ESD) that has resulted in the National Action Plan. The current domestic slogan “From Project to Structure” reveals the overall aim of scaling ESD. In this article, a governance perspective is used to examine how the actors involved in ESD in Germany coordinate their actions with each other. Six focus group discussions for different educational areas were conducted and analyzed with a structuring content analysis in MAXQDA. Additionally, an in-depth case comparison of the actors from different sectors (administration, politics, academia, civil society, and educational practice) was carried out. The results show sector-specific boundary work—the way in which actors construe, maintain, or even bridge boundaries when coordinating their actions in scaling ESD. Actors from the various sectors positioned themselves in patterns of more structure-immanent or more structure-transcending positionings. The conclusion shows that reflection and relational agency is pivotal for cooperation within multi-stakeholder governance networks and for moving strategically within structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Education and Disaster Vulnerability in Southeast Asia: Evidence and Policy Implications
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1401; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041401 - 14 Feb 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 962
Abstract
This article summarizes the growing theoretical and empirical literature on the impact of education on disaster vulnerability with a focus on Southeast Asia. Education and learning can take place in different environments in more or less formalized ways. They can influence disaster vulnerability [...] Read more.
This article summarizes the growing theoretical and empirical literature on the impact of education on disaster vulnerability with a focus on Southeast Asia. Education and learning can take place in different environments in more or less formalized ways. They can influence disaster vulnerability as the capacity to anticipate, cope with, resist, and recover from natural hazard in direct and indirect ways. Directly, through education and learning, individuals acquire knowledge, abilities, skills and perceptions that allow them to effectively prepare for and cope with the consequences of disaster shocks. Indirectly, education gives individuals and households access to material, informational and social resources, which can help reducing disaster vulnerability. We highlight central concepts and terminologies and discuss the different theoretical mechanisms through which education may have an impact. Supportive empirical evidence is presented and discussed with a particular focus on the role of inclusiveness in education and challenges in achieving universal access to high-quality education. Based on situation analysis and best practice cases, policy implications are derived that can inform the design and implementation of education and learning-based disaster risk reduction efforts in the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability and Subjective Well-Being: How Students Weigh Dimensions
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6627; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236627 - 23 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 951
Abstract
Sustainability and Subjective Well-Being (SWB) are strongly interrelated domains. The way students view them and prioritize their dimensions should be factored into curricular developments in education for sustainability. Instruments developed to examine sustainability and SWB preferences typically use rating scale items to measure [...] Read more.
Sustainability and Subjective Well-Being (SWB) are strongly interrelated domains. The way students view them and prioritize their dimensions should be factored into curricular developments in education for sustainability. Instruments developed to examine sustainability and SWB preferences typically use rating scale items to measure dimensions as separate entities. In contrast, the question format used in this study forces the students to rate variables in relation to each other. The sum of both SWB and sustainability variables was fixed, which means that increasing the weight of a priority automatically meant a decrease in the weight that could be allocated for the remaining elements. Two-block Partial Least Squares (PLS) modelling was used to examine how pre-defined SWB and sustainability dimensions behave when handled within the same model. It was found that those who ordered the three sustainability dimensions as Environment > Society > Economy tended to rank SWB dimensions as (Relations with others, Inner peace) > (Health, Close to nature) > (Good job, Leisure). Our research proved that the use of question formats resembling real-life resource allocation dilemmas and the treatment of SWB and sustainability as one system can yield invaluable information for the educational process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Research Collaboration of Austrian and Indian Teenagers in the Context of Education for Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5094; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185094 - 18 Sep 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 813
Abstract
Today’s environmental challenges have been determined and exacerbated by human behavior. It is imperative that education develops learning-settings that enable students to make their individual lifestyles more sustainable. The aim of this paper is to examine the effect of the research-education-collaboration ‘AustrIndia-4QOL’ (Teenagers [...] Read more.
Today’s environmental challenges have been determined and exacerbated by human behavior. It is imperative that education develops learning-settings that enable students to make their individual lifestyles more sustainable. The aim of this paper is to examine the effect of the research-education-collaboration ‘AustrIndia-4QOL’ (Teenagers from Austria and India Perform Research on Quality of Life) on the teenagers’ awareness of the importance of environmental aspects in regards to quality of life, and on their willingness to act towards more sustainable lifestyles. Therefore, the results from a collaboration via social media and from a collaboration with additional face-to-face workshops were analyzed. The question of whether an increased awareness or willingness to act is followed by a change of real action after the project was also investigated. The results indicate that conducting education for sustainable development requires long term educational engagement, and that unintended effects cannot be excluded. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Sustainable Development)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Mapping the Landscape and Structure of Research on Education for Sustainable Development: A Bibliometric Review
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1947; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12051947 - 04 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1479
Abstract
This systematic review of research used science mapping as a means of analyzing the knowledge base on education for sustainable development (ESD) in K-12 schooling. The review documented the size, growth trajectory and geographic distribution of this literature, identified high impact scholars and [...] Read more.
This systematic review of research used science mapping as a means of analyzing the knowledge base on education for sustainable development (ESD) in K-12 schooling. The review documented the size, growth trajectory and geographic distribution of this literature, identified high impact scholars and documents, and visualized the “intellectual structure” of the field. The database examined in this review consisted of 1842 English language, Scopus-indexed documents published between 1990 and 2018. The review found that the knowledge base on ESD has grown dramatically over the past 30 years, with a rapidly accelerating rate of publication in the past decade. Although the field has been dominated by scholarship from Anglo-American_European nations, there is evidence of increasing geographic diversification of the ESD knowledge base over the past 15 years. Citation analyses identified authors who have had a significant influence on the development of this literature. Author co-citation analysis revealed three “schools of thought” that comprise the “intellectual structure” of this knowledge base: Education for Sustainable Development, Developing a Sustainability Mindset, Teaching and Learning for Sustainability. Document content analyses led to the conclusion that the current knowledge base is heavily weighted towards critical, descriptive and prescriptive papers, with an insufficient body of analytical empirical studies. Several recommendations are offered for strengthening this literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessReview
Systematic Review of Sustainable-Development-Goal Deployment in Business Schools
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 440; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010440 - 06 Jan 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2342
Abstract
In 2015, more than 190 countries pledged to meet by 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030 that aim to ensure sustainable global social and economic development, and to strengthen universal peace. Public institutions, businesses, organizations and individuals are all called upon to [...] Read more.
In 2015, more than 190 countries pledged to meet by 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030 that aim to ensure sustainable global social and economic development, and to strengthen universal peace. Public institutions, businesses, organizations and individuals are all called upon to contribute to this challenge. Focusing on business schools (BSs), and the potential impact they have on graduates, we ask what they are doing for the deployment of these objectives. To this end, we conducted a systematic review of the literature related to SDGs and business schools in the WOS, SCOPUS and ERIC databases. A multi-stage exclusion process resulted in 16 documents for review. The findings of this study provide key information on the role that business schools have to play in achieving SDGs and the ways in which they can be incorporated into their activity: from more in-depth actions linked to creating awareness, questioning current paradigms, fostering cooperation and interdisciplinarity with stakeholders, and working on coherence; to more specific interventions such as creating student associations, incorporating new teaching methodologies or increasing students’ participation in extracurricular activities. In addition, this study also allows us to identify gaps in the literature, giving ideas on necessary future lines of research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessReview
Education for Sustainable Development: Evolution and Perspectives: A Bibliometric Review of Research, 1992–2018
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 6136; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216136 - 03 Nov 2019
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 1458
Abstract
In recent years, the interest in research concerning Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) has grown considerably. Therefore, a thorough (re)evaluation of this field and its challenges is highly necessary and can help us better understand the diversity of ESD approaches and the ways [...] Read more.
In recent years, the interest in research concerning Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) has grown considerably. Therefore, a thorough (re)evaluation of this field and its challenges is highly necessary and can help us better understand the diversity of ESD approaches and the ways in which various scholars, countries, institutions, or universities reacted through research and scientific publications to the study of ESD. Using a bibliometric approach, we analyzed 1813 papers on the subject, indexed by the Web of Science, between 1992 and 2018. The main findings increased our understanding of the ESD domain: we identified vital research, landmark studies in the development of the field, critical past contributions, emerging trends, and potentially transformative ideas. The number of publications, authors, and journals has increased, proving that ESD has gained momentum over the period examined in the study. Similarly, there are more and more works written in collaboration by people (scholars, researchers, etc.) from different parts and cultures of the world, indicating that publishing on ESD is like a legacy to international efforts to bring this area of inquiry into the mainstream. Finally, the study illustrates two main research directions for the entire timespan: integration of education into sustainable development and of sustainable development into education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Sustainable Development)
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