Education for Sustainability Resources
- Policies and Initiatives
- Schools Taking Action
- Systems Thinking
- Curriculum Ideas
- Books and Journals
- Additional Resources
- Learn More About Sustainability
Policies and Initiatives
- Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
AASHE empowers higher education faculty, administrators, staff and students to be change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation.
- Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future
Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future (ULSF) supports sustainability as a critical focus of teaching, research, operations and outreach at colleges and universities worldwide through publications, research, and assessment.
- Earth Charter Initiative
The Earth Charter is an ethical framework for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society in the 21st century.
- Education Reimagined: Key Learner-Centered Readings
Highlights two papers, “A Transformational Vision for Education in the US” and “A Practitioner's Lexicon,” inspiring readers to transform, rather than reform, education.
- Global University Network for Innovation
Global University Network for Innovation is an international network supported by the UNESCO, the United Nations University and the Catalan Association of Public Universities. The mission is to strengthen the role of higher education in society contributing to the renewal of the visions and policies of higher education across the world under a vision of public service, relevance and social responsibility.
- Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium
(HEASC) is a network of higher education associations with a commitment to advancing sustainability within their constituencies and within the entire system of higher education.
- Reorienting Teacher Education to Address Sustainability: The U.S. Context
Placing pedagogies and assessment practices into a sustainability context creates synergies and improves outcomes for all students, communities, and educational institutions. Realigning teacher preparation programs to incorporate sustainable development, while seemingly impractical or additive, can be transformative. This KDP report documents the policies, practices, and outcomes of education for sustainability and the costs of inaction.
- Report on the Status of Education for Sustainable Development in Teacher Education
Read this UNESCO report co-authored by KDP’s own Rosalyn McKeown.
- UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization
UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development 2005–2014
(DESD) was proclaimed, “emphasizing that education is an indispensable element for achieving sustainable development.” UNESCO has served as the lead agency to promote and implement the Decade.
- U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development
- UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development 2005–2014
- Western Kentucky University’s Center for Environmental Education and Sustainability contains many links to documents and governmental initiatives
Schools Taking Action
What actions can you take now? Start with the Footprint Calculator to discover how many planets are required to support your lifestyle. By taking the quiz and finding out your Ecological Footprint, you can discover your biggest areas of resource consumption and learn what you can do to tread more lightly on the Earth.
Once you’ve taken the quiz, be inspired by what schools around the country are doing to tread more lightly on the Earth.
- Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council
National Action Plan for Educating for Sustainability
The National Action Plan advocates for fully integrating Education for Sustainability (EfS) across the U.S. education system, while realizing, however, that EfS is complex and challenging. The strategies and actions outlined in the plan are essential to truly educate for sustainability now and into the future in the United States. The report suggests that significant shifts are required within our education system and in the systems in which education is embedded. The report outlines a number of strategies for EfS, including preservice teacher preparation, professional development, and teacher evaluation.
- Every School Can Be A Green School: Getting Started Checklist
All schools should provide a healthy, welcoming place to learn. Creating a greener school requires action from everyone in the school community. These 12 actions from the Center for Green Schools provides an easy framework to help green your school and enhance environmental responsibility.
- Green Schools National Network
The GSNN works with thought leaders to gather, synthesize, generate, and report evidence-based resources that include practical tools, news, and commentary for the green, healthy, and sustainable schools community. The organization offers a “GreenPrint” that serves as a road map so leaders, teachers and students can begin implementing core practices immediately.
- Manitoba School Recycling Plan
This guide describes how the actions of students in one school inspired change in an entire school division. As a “how-to” and a “why-to” guide, the authors address many questions about waste reduction.
Find a more comprehensive list of schools and organizations taking action.
- Peter Senge on Teaching Systems Thinking in Schools
In this video clip, systems thinking expert Peter Senge illustrates children's innate systems thinking skills.
- Sustainable Tomorrow A Teachers’ Guidebook for Applying Systems Thinking to Environmental Education Curricula
In addition to providing an overview of systems thinking, this guide offers practical guidelines and lesson plans for teachers seeking to integrate systems thinking into their instruction.
- Teaching Children to See the Systems All Around Us
This article explores how to clearly and creatively teach students about living systems to help them make better decisions in the world.
- World Peace Game (and Systems Thinking)
This Ted talk shows how to involve children in solving global problems and how they initially fail because they don’t understand interconnectedness and systems thinking.
- Lawrence Hall of Science Inquiry-Based Instructional Materials
UC Berkeley educators have produced these materials for teachers
- Education for Sustainable Development Sourcebook
Overview plus curricular ideas and lesson plans
Books and Journals
Check this section periodically as we’ll feature the latest recommended readings on education for sustainability.
- Cloud, Jaimie P., ed. (2017). "Education for A Sustainable Future, Benchmarks: For Individual and Social Learning."
- Goleman, D., & Senge, P. M. (2015). The Triple Focus: A New Approach to Education. More Than Sound.
- Kensler, L. A., & Uline, C. L. (2016). Leadership for Green Schools: Sustainability for Our Children, Our Communities, and Our Planet. Routledge.
- McKeown, R., & Nolet, V. (Eds.). (2012). Schooling for Sustainable Development in Canada and the United States (Vol. 4). Springer Science & Business Media.
- Nolet, V. (2015). Educating for Sustainability: Principles and Practices for Teachers. Routledge.
To review our comprehensive book list, visit our online LibraryThing catalogue. If you know of a book that should be on our list, contact us
- International Journal of Environmental and Science Education
- Journal of Environmental Education
- Journal of Sustainability Education
- How do we get people to care about sustainability?
Environmental issues are relevant and personal, however most people do not know that.
- Seven Lessons for Leaders in Systems Change
Systems change takes time. Find out how to implement systems changes at your school or in your school system.
- Overview of Place-Based Education
From the Sustainable Schools Project, place-based education immerses students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities, and experiences, using these as a foundation for the study of subjects across the curriculum.
Learn More about Sustainability
- PBS Learning Media
provides more than 450 resources on sustainability, from lesson plans and interactives to videos and more.
- Tackling climate change through environmental education in a Scottish school
Read the case study of Lawthorn Primary school in Scotland and how leaders encouraged young people to address climate change by reducing the global footprint of their school. This study draws on three disciplines: environmental education, as the pedagogical approach; environmental psychology, in terms of the health and well-being benefits of learning outdoors; and, environmental governance, in terms of the current governmental and educational support structure that exists for Learning for Sustainability in Scotland.
See our list of Sustainability Organizations to see what others are doing and find out how you can incorporate sustainability into your teaching and into your life.
Resources | How to Get Started | Organizations, Partners, and Schools