The Bill Scott Learning a sustainable development challenge

Thinking critically about Sustainable Development

The Bill Scott Challenge: key ideas

“Sustainable development, if it is going to happen, is going to be a learning process.  It certainly won’t be about ‘rolling out’ a set of pre-determined behaviours.” 

Bill Scott’s work with Paul Vare describes two complementary approaches to education for sustainable development: ESD1 and ESD2.

ESD1 is about promoting / facilitating changes in what we do.

This could be described as Learning for sustainable development

It involves promoting informed, skilled behaviours and ways of thinking, where the need for this is clearly identified and agreed.

ESD2 is about enabling / realising sustainable living.

This could be described as Learning as sustainable development

It involves building learners’ capacity:

  • to think critically about what experts say;
  • to test sustainable development ideas;
  • to explore the contradictions inherent in sustainable living;
  • and to make sound choices in the face of the inherent complexity and uncertainty of the future.

The Tide~ challenge has responded to these ideas with:

Fresh thinking focusing on the second of these approaches;
Practical projects developing ‘learning journeys’;
Two papers which synthesise core ideas, and which have implications for future education policy.

For more on the projects, click here

For a PDF of the discussion paper,   click here

For a copy of Bill Scott’s paper arising from this work, Schools, but not as we know them?

For more on the key ideas, see Bill Scott and Paul Vare’s paper Education for sustainable development: two sides and an edge

The Bill Scott Challenge: process

The Bill Scott Challenge was launched at a conference in November 2007, followed by the presentation of a linked paper on Climate change ~ the educational challenges, which has served as a focus for a wide range of teacher group activity.

In December 2008 we built on this work with a seminar, marking the 10th anniversary of the Holland Report on sustainable development education and the debates it generated, and serving as a focus for further activity:

  • The setting up of a Challenge Steering Group;
  • The identification of nine groups from the West Midlands representing a variety of contexts/approaches around the core ideas of the challenge;
  • A conference featuring workshops from these groups and responding to the question What does quality learning relating to global sustainable development look like?
  • The development of two papers, to disseminate the ideas from the nine groups, the workshops and the conference.

For a report from the November 2007 conference, click here

For the paper Climate change ~ the educational challenge, click here

For a report on the Holland Report Seminar, click here

For Challenge Steering Group details, click here

For a description of the work of the nine projects, click here

For details of the June 2009 conference, click here

In addition to Bill and Paul's work on ESD1 and ESD2, we have invited all those involved in this initiative to consider how the seven key concepts in the 1998 Holland Report might be used to enhance quality learning relating to global sustainable development.

For an overview of the key concepts,  click here

For a full copy of the 1998 Holland Report,  click here

Links to further resources

Schools, but not as we know them?

From little seeds ... Thinking about Africa, thinking about farming

Less is more? - consumerism and quality of life

Organisations supporting sustainable schools

Growing ideas ~ some food for thought [includes an earlier challenge from Bill Scott about how we measure the success of educational work on sustainable development].