Education for Sustainability (EfS)

Global Learning Community

Events & Projects


Our EfS programme organises events - mainly conferences - on EfS themes and take part in EfS projects with external parties.

This page provides an outline of the past EfS conferences and the projects EfS programme was and is involved in. It also showcases the London RCE (Regional Centre of Expertise) on ESD (Education for Sustainable Development), in which London South Bank University acts the co-ordinator. Finally, it provides details of upcoming conferences and workshops around the world.

EfS Programme’s conferences

The annual conferences of the EfS programme in the last couple of years include:
 Learning Journeys towards Sustainability in 2008
 Communication, Learning and Sustainable Development in 2007

Learning Journeys towards Sustainability

Date: 20 June 2008
Location: London South Bank University

This conference explored the influences that lead to individual and institutional commitment to sustainability and facilitated sharing of professional practice of sustainability at individual and institutional levels. It also provided the delegates with an opportunity to reflect on how they can develop their own professional and institutional practice.

It comprised two keynote addresses: Claire Fowler (Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Champion for the Welsh Assembly Government) on ‘The journey of ESDGC in Wales’ and Lynne Sedgmore (Chief Executive of the Centre for Excellence in Leadership) on ‘A personal and professional journey towards sustainability’.

Delegates could select a workshop from a variety of themes embracing different educational sectors – including schools, further education, higher education, NGO, adult education, community education – for exploring their own learning journeys towards sustainability, planning future action plans and sharing ideas.

The conference witnessed the launch of Journeys around Education for Sustainability, a book containing extracts of the work of twelve course participants.

Also launched was, the new e-journal for EfS, focusing on the wider EfS community.

Communication, Learning and Sustainable Development

Date: 8 May 2007
Location: London South Bank University
Organised in collaboration with Exeter University

This conference explored the role of the media in supporting and promoting sustainable development and learning. It reviewed communication initiatives, organisations and learning activities relating to sustainable development in both the developed and the developing world and explored the themes of power, politics, participation and dialogue.

Among the key speakers were:
 John Blewitt (Exeter University) on ‘Communications media in lifelong learning, sustainable development and everyday life’
 Narendhra Morar (Commissioning Editor for BBC World) on ‘Global TV and sustainable development in 21st century’
 Martin Atkin (Greenpeace International) on ‘Making waves’
 Jenny Richards (Deputy Director TVE, Television for the Environment) on ‘Role of Television for the Environment in learning and sustainable development’

Open space workshops and a panel discussion further aided exploration of the topics of the day.

Projects that EfS Programme is involved in

Our EfS Programme is underpinned by an active engagement in a range of national and international projects. Among such recent projects are:
 London RCE (Regional Centre of Expertise) on ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) an initiative acknowledged by the United Nations University
 A research project on ‘Effective leadership for sustainability’ in collaboration with the UK Centre for Excellence in Leadership in the Learning and Skills Sector
 Research for Unesco on synergy between Education for All (EFA) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
 Capacity building for the environmental education programme of WWF China
 Capacity building for the basic education project of Oxfam


Weak sustainability and strong sustainability

‘Sustainable development is often seen as considering of ‘the triple bottom-line’ of economy, society and environment. It suggests that our economic, social and ecological systems are interrelated and need to be considered together. The sustainability of each depends on the sustainability of the others and of the whole.... This has some merit but its main weakness is that it suggests that environment is somehow separate, and that it has equal status with economy and society....

This can be said to be a model of ‘weak sustainability’. A ‘strong sustainability’ model, by contrast, recognises a very different relationship..... Here, economy and society are subsystems of the ecosphere. Similarly, there is no economy without society. This ‘nested systems’ understanding, showing that the ecosphere is the basis of all life, is fundamental to ecological economics.’
Sterling (2005: 26)

STERLING, S. (2005) Unit 7 Study guide: Education for Sustainability. London: Distance Learning Centre, South Bank University.

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