Every day we are impacted by information about the environment, such as climate change, the extinction of species, pollution, among other topics.

Given this, it becomes important to act in order to reduce and resolve these problems while maintaining the growth of societies. To meet this premise, sustainable development emerges.

But what is this concept? What is its importance and objectives? And what is the role of education for sustainable development? Know the answer to these questions.

Sustainable development: what is it and why is it important?

Sustainable development, according to the Brundtland Report prepared by the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987, is defined as a development model that "responds to the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to respond to their own needs" .

This means that sustainable development tries to achieve a balance between the growth of all spheres of society without compromising its future and without having a negative impact on the environment in terms of the planet's resources.

Therefore, it aims to guarantee a good quality of life for citizens as well as future generations.

Did you know that, according to the Global Footprint Network , we use 60% more resources than the earth can regenerate? This means that we currently use resources as if we lived on 1.6 planets Earth.

Graphic showing Earth Overshoot Day from 1970 to 2020

Sustainable development goals

In 2015, 17 Sustainable Development objectives were defined and are part of the new action agenda until 2030. Approved by 193 members, it is the result of cooperative work between governments and citizens worldwide.

For this agenda to be achieved, the Business Council for Sustainable Development argues that “(…) it is imperative that companies integrate these goals into their decision-making and contribute their power of innovation to a more sustainable and inclusive future. ”

With three main points of action – society, economy and environment – ​​the objectives of sustainable development are the following:

  1. Eradicate poverty
  2. Eradicate hunger
  3. Quality healthcare
  4. quality education
  5. Gender equality
  6. Clean water and sanitation
  7. Renewable and affordable energy
  8. Decent work and economic growth
  9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  10. Reduce inequalities
  11. Sustainable cities and communities
  12. Sustainable production and consumption
  13. Climate action
  14. Protect marine life
  15. Protect life on Earth
  16. Peace, justice and effective institutions
  17. Partnerships for the implementation of objectives
Image with the 17 Sustainable Development goals

Education for sustainable development

Education is one of the key points for sustainable development as it requires a change in our way of thinking and acting.

Education for sustainable development aims, in this way, to access information so that there is a change in thoughts and behaviors that allow citizens to have a more sustainable future.

According to UNESCO, “(…) ESD aims to develop skills that enable people to reflect on their own actions, taking into account their current and future social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts, from a local and global."

By promoting knowledge, critical thinking, reflection and decision-making, education for sustainable development becomes recognized in the goals of sustainable development.

This type of education, based on the document “ Education for Sustainable Development Goals – Learning Objectives ”, requires a change in teaching focus, that is, it argues that it is necessary to promote self-learning, collaboration and inter- and transdisciplinarity.