On October 13, 2004, a satellite videoconference on “Global Sustainability Education” (GSE) was held, co-chaired by Julia Morton-Marr and Helmut Burkhardt. It was linked to the Interdisciplinary Conference on the Evolution of World Order (EWOC) which began the next day. This represented a major effort of SfP’s Peace and Sustainability Education Working Group as well as the International Holistic Tourism Education Centre (IHTEC).
Also taking part in the planning and coordination of the videoconference were the Global Education Motivators, Chestnut Hill Teachers College, PA, USA, one of the groups participating in the event.
At the videoconference, teachers and students from six universities in four countries — from Canada, Dominican Republic, Germany and USA — were simultaneously connected. The conference established an essential framework for Educational Policy for Peace and Sustainability Education. It adopted a global-scale approach to the Earth’s crises, favouring an approach based upon the Earth Charter, rather than more development for development’s sake.
This first videoconference of our Working Group reached the following conclusions, given here in abridged form:
- that sustainability education is urgently necessary at all levels, and that education for sustainability should therefore be a universal objective of curricula;
- that, in addition to catering to human needs, the preservation of species — biodiversity — is vital, and that all educational institutions should therefore offer courses that focus on this goal;
- that all schoolteachers should be retrained with the above objectives in mind;
- that university students should be obliged to take a Global Sustainability Education course;
Two CD-ROMs have been produced from the video conference, and the conference proceedings, including list of speakers, etc, are available on the IHTEC website: www.ihtec.on.ca