Special Issue "Environmental Education for Sustainability"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Walter LEAL
Website
Guest Editor
Research and Transfer Centre “Sustainable Development and Climate Change Management”, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Interests: theory and practice of sustainable development
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Assoc. Prof. Madeleine Granvik
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Earth Sciences, Natural Resources and Sustainable Development; The Baltic University, Uppsala, Sweden
Interests: food security; food planning; local food; local food systems; Sustainable Food; definitions local food; interpretations local food; planning and food; food self sufficiency; food preparedness
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The role played by environmental education, or education for sustainable development, as many call it, in pursuing and achieving sustainable development, is an important one. Environmental education encompasses education for, through and about the environment, with the ultimate aim of, not only leading to short-term, but to long-lasting, awareness, changes in behaviors and in lifestyles, which, combined, may lead towards a more sustainable world. In this context, it entails aspects as varied as curriculum development and planning, pre-service and in-service teacher education, content development and a healthy combination of theoretical teaching and field work.

The current debate on the role of environmental education in achieving sustainable development as a whole and in pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals in particular provide a good momentum to build the capability and the capacity to engage people in this fast-growing field. This Special Issue "Environmental Education for Sustainability" intends to document and promote scholarly research and projects that show how environmental education can help towards the implementation of sustainability efforts. Emphasis is given to both formal and non-formal education, as well as to innovative teaching methods, inclusive approaches and transformative processes which may lead to a better interaction between environmental education and sustainable development. Papers are welcome in one or more of the following areas:
* competences regarding environmental education for sustainability
* pedagogy and teachers´ training at the primary, secondary or tertiary levels
* school policies and school practices
* university curriculum and practices
* developing environmental awareness
* bridging the gap between environmental awareness and action
* fostering knowledge, skills and motivation
* strategies and action plans
* strengthening pathways in sustainable practice

Prof. Walter Leal Filho
Assoc. Prof. Madeleine Granvik
Guest Editors

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 1800 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

  • environmental education
  • sustainability
  • curriculum
  • innovation
  • transformation

Published Papers (22 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
The Story of 13 Moons: Developing an Environmental Health and Sustainability Curriculum Founded on Indigenous First Foods and Technologies
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 8913; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218913 - 27 Oct 2020
Abstract
The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community developed an informal environmental health and sustainability (EHS) curriculum based on Swinomish beliefs and practices. EHS programs developed and implemented by Indigenous communities are extremely scarce. The mainstream view of EHS does not do justice to how many [...] Read more.
The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community developed an informal environmental health and sustainability (EHS) curriculum based on Swinomish beliefs and practices. EHS programs developed and implemented by Indigenous communities are extremely scarce. The mainstream view of EHS does not do justice to how many Indigenous peoples define EHS as reciprocal relationships between people, nonhuman beings, homelands, air, and waters. The curriculum provides an alternative informal educational platform for teaching science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) using identification, harvest, and preparation activities of First Foods and medicines that are important to community members in order to increase awareness and understanding of local EHS issues. The curriculum, called 13 Moons, is founded on a set of guiding principles which may be useful for other Indigenous communities seeking to develop their own curricula. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Teenagers’ Awareness about Local Vertebrates and Their Functions: Strengthening Community Environmental Education in a Mexican Shade-Coffee Region to Foster Animal Conservation
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8684; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208684 - 20 Oct 2020
Abstract
Peoples’ understanding and appreciation of wildlife are crucial for its conservation. Nevertheless, environmental education in many tropical countries is seldom incorporated into public-school curricula and wildlife topics are often underrepresented. In this research we aimed to (1) assess the effects of an environmental [...] Read more.
Peoples’ understanding and appreciation of wildlife are crucial for its conservation. Nevertheless, environmental education in many tropical countries is seldom incorporated into public-school curricula and wildlife topics are often underrepresented. In this research we aimed to (1) assess the effects of an environmental education intervention focused on improving students’ awareness about wild vertebrates and their ecological functions and (2) to evaluate whether previous exposure to general environmental education could improve the effects of the intervention. We worked in four schools in a high-biodiversity shade-coffee-producing region in Mexico; two of the schools had received general environmental education as part of a Community Program, while the other two had not. In all schools we conducted a targeted intervention providing information about wild vertebrates and their ecological functions. Through questionnaires, we assessed students’ awareness before and after the intervention. We found that students’ awareness about wildlife was improved by our intervention, and that this effect was stronger in students that had attended the Community Program. Our results contribute to Sustainable Development Goals 11 and 15 by showing that targeted education interventions can help achieve specific conservation goals, and that previous community-based environmental education can condition peoples’ awareness, improving the assimilation and/or understanding of new concepts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Differences in Environmental Information Acquisition from Urban Green—A Case Study of Qunli National Wetland Park in Harbin, China
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8128; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198128 - 01 Oct 2020
Abstract
(1) Environmental education in an urban setting is crucial in terms of building a harmonious relationship between man and nature. As a kind of special ecological habitat, urban wetland parks provide convenience to enhance education on the natural environment. (2) In this study, [...] Read more.
(1) Environmental education in an urban setting is crucial in terms of building a harmonious relationship between man and nature. As a kind of special ecological habitat, urban wetland parks provide convenience to enhance education on the natural environment. (2) In this study, we chose Harbin Qunli National Wetland Park in China as the subject, and analyzed the visual attention area with eye tracking to explore the differences in obtaining information about the natural environment in tourists with varying degrees of environmental concern and purposes of visit. A model connecting the perception preference and factors that affect visual attention of tourists was constructed. (3) Studies have shown that eco-society-hedonic tourists, who focus on parent–child activities, tend to pay more attention to wetland plants and prefer exploratory paths, while eco-hedonic tourists, whose main purposes are to relax and exercise, are more concerned about explanatory signs and enjoy flat scenic paths more. In addition, social tourists, who pay their visit for social activities, would care more about bird watching structures. (4) This research aims to assist in improving the legibility of environmental education space through the planning, design, and management of urban wetland parks, and explore the potential of landscape elements in enhancing public awareness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental Education for Sustainable Development in Russia
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7742; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187742 - 18 Sep 2020
Abstract
The article is devoted to one of the crucial aspects of sustainable development, with the example of analyzing the possibilities for the development of environmental education in the Russian Federation. The article analyzes the possibilities of the current Russian Federal State Educational Standard [...] Read more.
The article is devoted to one of the crucial aspects of sustainable development, with the example of analyzing the possibilities for the development of environmental education in the Russian Federation. The article analyzes the possibilities of the current Russian Federal State Educational Standard for general and higher education in implementing the ideas of education in the interests of sustainable development. The methodological principles and philosophical foundations of environmental education are considered to designate the worldview guideline of ecological thinking. The tasks of the state educational policy of the Russian Federation in the field of environmental education and the implementation of the concept of sustainable development are considered. The article describes the representation of the concept of sustainable development in the state policy of the Russian Federation, in the field of environmental education in the requirements of the Federal State Educational Standard for various subject areas and training courses related to the topic of environmental development in school and university education. The strategic goal of environmental education in Russia is the formation and development of an environmental outlook among students of all ages, which is based on scientific knowledge, environmental culture, and ethics. The continuity, basic principles, and trends of the implementation of environmental education in the Russian Federation are shown. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
Do Spanish Students Become More Sustainable after the Implementation of Sustainable Practices by Universities?
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7502; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187502 - 11 Sep 2020
Abstract
Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are a critical component to develop and promote sustainable solutions for both society and the planet. A challenge to HEIs is to provide students with the knowledge and skills required to achieve Sustainable Development (SD), as they are important [...] Read more.
Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are a critical component to develop and promote sustainable solutions for both society and the planet. A challenge to HEIs is to provide students with the knowledge and skills required to achieve Sustainable Development (SD), as they are important stakeholders. In order for a person to take responsibility for a sustainable future, it is not only important to implement SDs in higher education, but to follow the progress of the individuals’ awareness of the sustainable world and lifestyle. This study aimed to analyze students of Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), focusing on their attitudes, behaviors, and level of knowledge concerning education for sustainable development (ESD), to better understand the situation of students in terms of learning and applying sustainability. The students’ perception of the University practices and initiatives, as well as pedagogical methodologies for promoting and learning SD, were also examined. An online survey was applied to undergraduate students from several faculties at UAM, and a sample of 504 students returned from a total population of 30,000 students. Descriptive and inferential analyses were carried out and included Chi-square tests, correlation analyses, and ANOVA analyses for independent and repeated measures. The results reveal good levels for the three dimensions (global Index > 3.5), with consistency demonstrating the highest correlation between attitudes and behaviors, although differences between faculties were identified. Knowledge has the highest score among all faculties. In addition, the results point to a need to better communicate the initiatives promoted, as well as to realign some learning methodologies with students’ preferences. The most important contributions of the paper are as follows: Shedding fresh light on the knowledge, attitudes, and behavioral dispositions of university students and improving strategies concerning education in higher education institutions. Furthermore, it is relevant to say that UAM has pushed sustainability in environmental management and education, so it is also important to assess the impact of these initiatives. Our research aimed to help understand how students incorporate sustainability into their attitudes and behaviors, and whether this incorporation depends on the type of faculty. It also makes it possible to verify whether the sustainability measures implemented by universities are identified and applied by their students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental Education to Change the Consumption Model and Curb Climate Change
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7475; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187475 - 11 Sep 2020
Abstract
Environmental education plays a fundamental role in the fight against climate change and the transformation towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly socio-economic model. This study shows how to evaluate the effectiveness of a program for compulsory education students in Spain. The subject [...] Read more.
Environmental education plays a fundamental role in the fight against climate change and the transformation towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly socio-economic model. This study shows how to evaluate the effectiveness of a program for compulsory education students in Spain. The subject of the program focused on the effects of climate change in relation to our consumption model and the generation of waste. A mixed research methodology is proposed that combines a quantitative (10 items on the Likert scale, n = 714) and qualitative approach (category construction and analysis on open-ended questions). A study of the reliability and validity of the measure was carried out through a categorical principal component analysis (CATPCA). The multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) correlates the gender and educational level of the students to the learning acquired in the program. For example, the results show how students are convinced that adopting minimal pro-environmental habits (turning off lights and unplugging electronics, choosing public transport to get around, or using solar and wind power to produce electricity) can help mitigate climate change. The conclusions show the difficulties and challenges of education for responsible consumption, emphasizing the development of environmental education programs for reducing the effects of climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Integrative Design Classes for Environmental Sustainability of Interior Architectural Design
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7383; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187383 - 09 Sep 2020
Abstract
The paper considers the adjustments of the interior architectural design education model toward its compliance with the principles of sustainability, since the currently provided scheme does not effectively employ the sustainability multi-dimensional concept as a substantial determinant of interior architectural design. The conventional [...] Read more.
The paper considers the adjustments of the interior architectural design education model toward its compliance with the principles of sustainability, since the currently provided scheme does not effectively employ the sustainability multi-dimensional concept as a substantial determinant of interior architectural design. The conventional interior architectural design curriculum requires corrections, to provide students with systematized knowledge on sustainability issues, as well as appropriate abilities and skills to create buildings’ interior spaces with high environmental performance. The modifications are considered using the example of a curriculum realized within the Faculty of Interior Design affiliated with the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. These improvements of the curriculum structure comprise the establishment of a compulsory course on environmentally sustainable interior architectural design, offering to the undergraduate students comprehensive theoretical knowledge on the multi-dimensional aspects of sustainability and the introduction of professional design tools, including simplified versions of multi-criterial environmental evaluation systems, as a supportive educational means, as well as learning tools comprising interdisciplinary environmental-responsibility-oriented design workshops or seminars led by green building consultants and professionals involved in practicing sustainable interior design. This paper discusses the innovative concept of integrative design classes (IDC), realized within the practical modules of courses on Building Construction and Environmentally Sustainable Architectural Design, both delivered to undergraduate interior design students. The paper analyses these integrative design classes as a supportive project-based learning technique to develop the students’ ability to accomplish sustainable design strategies for resource efficiency, waste management effectiveness, optimization of indoor environment quality parameters as well as pro-environmental education. The results of the conducted integrative design classes proved that they are a driver for developing technically and formally innovative designs, allowing the students to establish a link between theoretical knowledge on sustainability in interior design and its practical implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental Education in Environmental Engineering: Analysis of the Situation in Colombia and Latin America
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7239; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187239 - 04 Sep 2020
Abstract
Environmental education (EE) has become the only tool for environmental sustainability in training processes in Colombia, for basic cycles in primary and secondary, as well as university education. EE tends to transform human actions in nature, based on multidisciplinary knowledge that supports decision-making. [...] Read more.
Environmental education (EE) has become the only tool for environmental sustainability in training processes in Colombia, for basic cycles in primary and secondary, as well as university education. EE tends to transform human actions in nature, based on multidisciplinary knowledge that supports decision-making. Its goal is to generate a change in social behavior in order to achieve the recovery, conservation, and preservation of the environment. In Colombia, education for sustainable development (ESD) is embedded in EE. These educational models (EE and ESD) seek to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs), which generally seek the economic and social well-being of nations, both for current and future generations. Environmental engineering is a relatively new degree course in Colombia and Latin America since it appeared in the mid-nineties, and it must involve EE within its curriculum. Students are trained in this trend. This research intends to demonstrate, through a curricular review of the environmental engineering curricula and also surveying students from this degree, the level of inclusion of EE in Latin America. Strengths are identified in the curricula, such as the strong presence of EE in disciplinary subjects and opportunities for improvement based on the needs of the students. The situation in South America is also included in this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Quality Child–Parent Relationships and Their Impact on Intergenerational Learning and Multiplier Effects in Climate Change Education. Are We Bridging the Knowledge–Action Gap?
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 7030; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177030 - 28 Aug 2020
Abstract
The science–education cooperative venture “Our Common Future: ‘eKidZ’—Teach Your Parents Well” explores intergenerational learning processes and the transfer of learning from the younger to the older generation. Students acting as multipliers and their multiplication effect on parents is part of the research setting: [...] Read more.
The science–education cooperative venture “Our Common Future: ‘eKidZ’—Teach Your Parents Well” explores intergenerational learning processes and the transfer of learning from the younger to the older generation. Students acting as multipliers and their multiplication effect on parents is part of the research setting: 20 high school students, in the role of researchers, investigated the question of whether children who participate in the Climate Change Education (CCE) program “k.i.d.Z.21” passed on their climate-change-related knowledge, attitudes and actions to their parents (n = 91), in comparison to a control group (n = 87). Due to the annual increase in student participants in the CCE project “k.i.d.Z.21” since 2012 (n = 2000), this article can build on the results of a questionnaire regarding the school year 2017/18 (n = 100–120). A Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) showed that the “k.i.d.Z.21” project has a multi-faceted knock-on effect on parents, constituting a multiplier effect: increasing knowledge, and, above all, improvements to the child–parent relationship. Additionally, measurable positive effects in the frequency and quality of climate change communication between children and their parents have been observed (Spearman Rank Correlations), but a distinct lack of positive effects regarding changing climate-friendly attitudes or actions have been noted (Pearson Product–Moment Correlation). The importance of the child–parent relationship is a key factor in bridging the knowledge–action gap, and is reviewed in the context of CCE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Transferring COVID-19 Challenges into Learning Potentials: Online Workshops in Architectural Education
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 7024; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177024 - 28 Aug 2020
Abstract
The paper addresses the shift in architectural education regarding the need to develop new approaches in teaching methodology, improve curricula, and make advancements in new learning arenas and digital environments. The research is based on the assumption that online workshops could offer a [...] Read more.
The paper addresses the shift in architectural education regarding the need to develop new approaches in teaching methodology, improve curricula, and make advancements in new learning arenas and digital environments. The research is based on the assumption that online workshops could offer a unique learning experience for students in higher education. Accordingly, workshops are considered an essential element in teaching emergency design. As a result, this can produce broader and more innovative solutions to COVID-19 challenges regarding social distancing, limited movements, regulated use of public space, and suspended daily activities. The theoretical notions of emergency design and education for sustainable design enabled the identification of research perspectives and spatial levels to be taken as a starting point of the workshop “COVID-19 Challenges: Architecture of Pandemic” that was conducted by the University of Belgrade—Faculty of Architecture in April 2020. The critical review of the workshop’s procedural and substantial aspects led to identifying four main COVID-19 design challenges perceived in performance, innovation, alteration, and inclusion. Additionally, the paper’s findings concern the identification of learning potentials and limitations arising from a current topic affecting global society, for which neither solutions nor adequate answers in the field of architecture and urbanism have been found. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Is Awareness on Plastic Pollution Being Raised in Schools? Understanding Perceptions of Primary and Secondary School Educators
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6775; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176775 - 21 Aug 2020
Abstract
Plastic pollution is a major global issue and its impacts on ecosystems and socioeconomic sectors lack comprehensive understanding. The integration of plastics issues into the educational system of both primary and secondary schools has often been overlooked, especially in Africa, presenting a major [...] Read more.
Plastic pollution is a major global issue and its impacts on ecosystems and socioeconomic sectors lack comprehensive understanding. The integration of plastics issues into the educational system of both primary and secondary schools has often been overlooked, especially in Africa, presenting a major challenge to environmental awareness. Owing to the importance of early age awareness, this study aims to investigate whether plastic pollution issues are being integrated into South African primary and secondary education school curriculums. Using face-to-face interviews with senior educators, we address this research problem by investigating (i) the extent to which teachers cover components of plastic pollution, and (ii) educator understandings of plastic pollution within terrestrial and aquatic environments. The results indicate that plastic pollution has been integrated into the school curriculum in technology, natural science, geography, life science, life skills and life orientation subjects. However, there was a lack of integration of management practices for plastics littering, especially in secondary schools, and understanding of dangers among different habitat types. This highlights the need for better educational awareness on the plastic pollution problem at both primary and secondary school level, with increased environmental programs needed to educate schools on management practices and impacts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Does Environmental Education Matter? Evidence from Provincial Higher Education Institutions in China
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6338; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166338 - 06 Aug 2020
Abstract
Environmental education pedagogy is divided into two categories: teacher-driven pedagogy and student-driven pedagogy. Their impacts on the environmental awareness of college students are analyzed using the propensity score matching method. The analysis results for 485 survey data points from college students show that [...] Read more.
Environmental education pedagogy is divided into two categories: teacher-driven pedagogy and student-driven pedagogy. Their impacts on the environmental awareness of college students are analyzed using the propensity score matching method. The analysis results for 485 survey data points from college students show that both of these two pedagogies influence college students’ environmental awareness positively, and the effect of student-driven pedagogy is higher. The conclusion provides insight for the further development of college students’ environmental education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
Open AccessCommunication
COVID-19 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Threat to Solidarity or an Opportunity?
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5343; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135343 - 01 Jul 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
COVID-19, as a pandemic, is impacting institutions around the world. Its scope and economic dimensions also mean that it poses a major threat towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This article discusses how the coronavirus pandemic may influence the SDGs and [...] Read more.
COVID-19, as a pandemic, is impacting institutions around the world. Its scope and economic dimensions also mean that it poses a major threat towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This article discusses how the coronavirus pandemic may influence the SDGs and could affect their implementation. The methods used entail an analysis of the literature, observations and an assessment of current world trends. The results obtained point out that, while COVID-19 has become a priority to many health systems in developing nations, they still need to attend to many other existing diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and others. Further, the study shows that strong concerns in dealing with COVID-19 are disrupting other disease prevention programs. As a result, problems such as mental health are also likely to be overlooked, since the isolation of social distancing may mask or lead to an increase in the percentage of suffers. The paper suggests that, due to its wide scope and areas of influence, COVID-19 may also jeopardize the process of the implementation of the SDGs. It sends a cautious warning about the need to continue to put an emphasis on the implementation of the SDGs, so that the progress achieved to date is not endangered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Mapping Master Students’ Processes of Problem Solving and Learning in Groups in Sustainability Education
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5299; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135299 - 30 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Sustainability challenges in tourism are widely discussed. There is a huge need for education in the field of destination development. Students require appropriate problem-solving skills. This article examines the master’s course in destination development at Uppsala University, Campus Gotland, with the aim of [...] Read more.
Sustainability challenges in tourism are widely discussed. There is a huge need for education in the field of destination development. Students require appropriate problem-solving skills. This article examines the master’s course in destination development at Uppsala University, Campus Gotland, with the aim of increasing students’ skills in solving sustainability problems. The course took place in the spring semester of 2020 with the main goal of improving students’ skills in formulating and solving sustainable challenges in groups. This was achieved by activating the heterogeneity of the group, seeking relevant information and facts, and organising and carrying out the task with a design-thinking methodology. Students were provided with real problems or challenges by tourist companies, authorities and other interest groups on the island of Gotland. The purpose of this study is to describe the group of students as well as joint learning processes and knowledge needed in the work towards sustainable solutions. The major implication of the study is that the course gave the students the opportunity to deepen their understanding of both the barriers and benefits of working with heterogeneous groups. Furthermore, the study revealed a number of factors that all organisations would need to take into account in order to improve the effectiveness of their work towards sustainable solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Do German Student Biology Teachers Intend to Eat Sustainably? Extending the Theory of Planned Behavior with Nature Relatedness and Environmental Concern
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 4909; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124909 - 16 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Non-sustainable food choices are responsible for many global challenges, such as biodiversity loss and climate change. To achieve a transformation toward sustainable nutrition, it is crucial to implement education for sustainable development (ESD), with the key issue “nutrition”, in schools and teacher training. [...] Read more.
Non-sustainable food choices are responsible for many global challenges, such as biodiversity loss and climate change. To achieve a transformation toward sustainable nutrition, it is crucial to implement education for sustainable development (ESD), with the key issue “nutrition”, in schools and teacher training. Biology teachers are crucial for promoting ESD competences. Thus, the main aim of the study is to investigate the social and environmental psychological factors that may affect the intention of student biology teachers to eat sustainably as an integral part of their action competence needed for teaching this topic effectively. We conducted a paper-pencil questionnaire (N = 270, Mage = 22.9; SD = 2.8) based on the theory of planned behavior (TPB) and expanded the model by integrating environmental concern and nature relatedness. A path model is reported to show the relationships between the variables. The results show that the extended TPB model is suitable for predicting the intention to eat sustainably. Nature relatedness and altruistic concern positively predict attitudes and the intention to eat sustainably. This study suggests further research on the importance of (student) teachers’ nutritional behavior, as a possible determinant of the intention to teach this topic in their future school career. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability Leadership in Higher Education Institutions: An Overview of Challenges
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3761; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093761 - 06 May 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Sustainability leadership entails the processes, which leaders, policymakers, and academics undertake in order to implement sustainable development policies and other initiatives within their organizations. It encompasses approaches, methods, and systemic solutions to solve problems and drive institutional policy towards a more sustainable organization. [...] Read more.
Sustainability leadership entails the processes, which leaders, policymakers, and academics undertake in order to implement sustainable development policies and other initiatives within their organizations. It encompasses approaches, methods, and systemic solutions to solve problems and drive institutional policy towards a more sustainable organization. Higher Education Institutions (HEI) play a particularly important role, especially with regard to their institutional leadership role in promoting sustainable development. There is a paucity of research focusing on sustainability leadership in universities. In order to address this gap, this paper discussed the concept of sustainability leadership based on literature and empirical insights. The study aimed to understand the main characteristics of sustainability leaders at HEI and the main challenges they are confronted with. Secondary research questions involved gender issues and positive outcomes of sustainability leadership. The empirical component of the study consisted of an online-questionnaire survey performed among leaders (n = 50) from a set of universities in 29 countries. The sampling scheme was purposive, based on the membership in the Inter-University Sustainable Development Research Program (IUSDRP). The study was explorative in nature, and the descriptive statistics were used for the analysis. Due to the purposive sampling, the participants from top management positions could be considered as experienced, and their views were assumed to be information-rich. With a self-evaluation, the respondents described their leadership style and their usual traits, with inclusive style and systemic thinking being predominant in the sample. Regarding the skills, the respondents selected the ability to innovate, to think long-term, and to manage complexity from a pre-defined set of options. Connectedness with interdisciplinarity and knowledge about organizational settings, as well as global challenges and dilemmas, were stated as important issues related to the knowledge required for being a leader. Regarding requirements for a change towards more sustainable universities’ curriculum adaptation, investments in education for sustainable development (ESD), sustainable procurement, and reporting were mentioned. The study also revealed that gender issues were taken seriously among the sampled institutions, which is an encouraging trend. Challenges seen in implementing sustainability leadership are, for instance, a lack of interest by the university administration and among some members of the academic community, as well as lack of expertise and materials or resources. Based on the empirical insights, a set of measures were listed and which may be adopted in the future, so as to allow leaders of Higher Education Institutions to enhance their sustainability performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
ClimateCafé: An Interdisciplinary Educational Tool for Sustainable Climate Adaptation and Lessons Learned
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3694; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093694 - 02 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
ClimateCafé is a field education concept involving different fields of science and practice for capacity building in climate change adaptation. This concept is applied on the eco-city of Augustenborg in Malmö, Sweden, where Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) were implemented in 1998. ClimateCafé Malmö evaluated [...] Read more.
ClimateCafé is a field education concept involving different fields of science and practice for capacity building in climate change adaptation. This concept is applied on the eco-city of Augustenborg in Malmö, Sweden, where Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) were implemented in 1998. ClimateCafé Malmö evaluated these NBS with 20 young professionals from nine nationalities and seven disciplines with a variety of practical tools. In two days, 175 NBS were mapped and categorised in Malmö. Results show that the selected green infrastructure have a satisfactory infiltration capacity and low values of potential toxic element pollutants after 20 years in operation. The question “Is capacity building achieved by interdisciplinary field experience related to climate change adaptation?” was answered by interviews, collecting data of water quality, pollution, NBS and heat stress mapping, and measuring infiltration rates, followed by discussion. The interdisciplinary workshops with practical tools provide a tangible value to the participants and are needed to advance sustainability efforts. Long term lessons learnt from Augustenborg will help stormwater managers within planning of NBS. Lessons learned from this ClimateCafé will improve capacity building on climate change adaptation in the future. This paper offers a method and results to prove the German philosopher Friedrich Hegel wrong when he opined that “we learn from history that we do not learn from history.” Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Young Children’s Contributions to Sustainability: The Influence of Nature Play on Curiosity, Executive Function Skills, Creative Thinking, and Resilience
Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 4212; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154212 - 04 Aug 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Environmental education for young children has great potential for fostering the skills, values, and dispositions that support sustainability. While North American guidelines emphasize the importance of using the natural world for open-ended exploration, discovery, and play, this approach has been criticized for lacking [...] Read more.
Environmental education for young children has great potential for fostering the skills, values, and dispositions that support sustainability. While North American guidelines emphasize the importance of using the natural world for open-ended exploration, discovery, and play, this approach has been criticized for lacking the transformative power necessary for meaningfully contributing to sustainability issues. Four pilot studies were conducted exploring the influence of nature play in the context of nature preschools on children’s curiosity, executive function skills, creative thinking, and resilience. These studies used established quantitative instruments to measure growth in these constructs among nature preschool participants, comparing this growth with participants in high quality, play-based, non-nature preschools. The results suggest a positive contribution of nature play, with greater levels of curiosity, creative thinking, and resilience than what was observed in the non-nature preschool participants, and executive function skills similar to the non-nature preschool participants and exceeding national norms. Collectively, these pilot studies suggest the potential contribution of nature play in the context of education for sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Climate Change Scepticism at Universities: A Global Study
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2981; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102981 - 25 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Scepticism about climate change is still a popular trend, despite the existence of scientific evidence that this phenomenon is taking place, and that it is influencing the lives of millions of people around the world. The aim of this paper is to assess [...] Read more.
Scepticism about climate change is still a popular trend, despite the existence of scientific evidence that this phenomenon is taking place, and that it is influencing the lives of millions of people around the world. The aim of this paper is to assess the extent to which existing scepticism at the university level is found. The methodology consists of a survey undertaken on a sample of universities around the world, in the context of which attitudes and perceptions about climate change are identified. A total of 237 questionnaires were received from 51 countries around the world. The analysis consists basically of descriptive statistics and an investigation regarding trends on scepticism and the geographical location of the universities. The study concludes by outlining some of the presently seen scepticisms and suggests some ways to address them via curricular innovation and initiatives engaging students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Massive Open Online Education for Environmental Activism: The Worldwide Problem of Marine Litter
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2860; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102860 - 20 May 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
(1) The amount of plastic discharges in the environment has drastically increased in the last decades negatively affecting aquatic ecosystems, societies, and the world economy. The policies initiated to deal with this problem are insufficient and there is an urgency to initiate local [...] Read more.
(1) The amount of plastic discharges in the environment has drastically increased in the last decades negatively affecting aquatic ecosystems, societies, and the world economy. The policies initiated to deal with this problem are insufficient and there is an urgency to initiate local actions based on a deep understanding of the factors involved. (2) This paper investigates the potential of massive open online courses (MOOCs) to spread environmental education. Therefore, the conclusions drawn from the implementation of a MOOC to combat the problem of marine litter in the world are presented. (3) This work describes the activity of 3632 participants from 64 countries taking an active role presenting useful tools, connecting them with the main world associations, and defining applied action plans in their local area. Pre- and post-questionnaires explore behavioral changes regarding the actions of participants to combat marine litter. The role of MOOCs is contrasted with social media, formal education, and informal education. (4) Findings suggest that MOOCs are useful instruments to promote environmental activism, and to develop local solutions to global problems, for example, clean beaches, supplanting plastic bottles, educational initiatives, and prohibition of single-use plastic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Building an Industry-Oriented Business Sustainability Curriculum in Higher Education
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4698; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124698 - 10 Dec 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
In the past, research addressing the issues reflecting industrial needs for sustainability-related curriculum design in higher education has been limited. To narrow this gap and to provide students with better business sustainability curricula, we propose employing a mapping concept to extract the opinions [...] Read more.
In the past, research addressing the issues reflecting industrial needs for sustainability-related curriculum design in higher education has been limited. To narrow this gap and to provide students with better business sustainability curricula, we propose employing a mapping concept to extract the opinions and needs of industrial professionals. A total of 14 industrial professionals were invited to brainstorm on topics of business sustainability to be included in the curriculum, and we were able to obtain 52 topics. The participants were then asked to group the topics on the basis of their own perception of similarity, and rated their importance and difficulty levels. To associate the topics into clusters, we conducted multidimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster analysis. We achieved five clusters: resource usage reduction and management, corporate governance and labor safety, business sustainability practices, employee rights and community involvement, and knowledge of the regulations. A derived importance–performance analysis (dIPA) was later implemented to further categorize the topics on the basis of the distinct levels of importance and difficulty of each topic. The four quadrants in dIPA could act as guidelines for designing a series of progressive courses on business sustainability in higher education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
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Open AccessEssay
Preparing Adolescents for the Uncertain Future: Concepts, Tools and Strategies for Teaching Anthropogenic Environmental Change
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6832; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176832 - 23 Aug 2020
Abstract
Humankind is increasingly being challenged by anthropogenic environmental changes and society needs to be better equipped with knowledge, skills and values to adapt to these changes. This poses new challenges for school education. We propose a framework towards future-oriented education by addressing three [...] Read more.
Humankind is increasingly being challenged by anthropogenic environmental changes and society needs to be better equipped with knowledge, skills and values to adapt to these changes. This poses new challenges for school education. We propose a framework towards future-oriented education by addressing three issues: a) How can the school curriculum be reframed to take account of anthropogenic environmental changes? b) What difficulties do students encounter when learning about these changes? c) What learning tools and pedagogical strategies are best suited to effectively and efficiently teach about environmental changes? An example is provided, whereby secondary school students engage with the topic of deforestation using geospatial technology. This study informs curriculum makers and instructors in providing education that enhances adolescents’ understanding of the uncertain world and increases their ability to be proactive, rather than merely responding to change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
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