Education for Sustainable Development

alternate textYouth create part of a mural inspired by a Baha’i quote about
nature being a reflection of the divine at a workshop
held at Green Acre Baha’i School.

Despite major international conferences on sustainable development in both 1992 and 2002, the world witnessed a decline in many environmental, social, and economic indicators during this period. This reality pointed to a need for more extensive education for sustainable development, to not only raise awareness of its principles, but also to translate that awareness into related changes in human behavior. The United Nations launched the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005 – 2014) to address this need.

OPA Involvement

In anticipation of the UN Decade, the U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs (OPA) joined with other U.S.-based organizations to launch the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development. The Partnership includes more than 300 organizations representing businesses, the NGO community, the formal education sector, faith communities, government agencies, and others. Its vision is to have “sustainable development fully integrated into education and learning in the United States.” The representative serves as secretary of the Partnership’s Board of Directors and co-chair of its Faith Sector, which has worked to highlight and inspire the efforts of diverse faith communities to advance sustainable development education. In 2011, the OPA representative joined other Partnership board members participating in the first Federal Sustainability Education Summit, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. The summit promoted actions to be taken at the federal level and in the business and education sectors to support sustainability education.

alternate textFollowing a workshop at the Green Acre Baha’i School, youth
write letters to themselves, to be posted later,
reflecting on their experiences.

Within the U.S. Baha’i community, OPA’s efforts to advance education for sustainable development have highlighted the links between environmental stewardship and justice. The OPA representative has held annual programs on that theme at national Baha’i schools. A target audience of great importance has been youth, ages 12 – 14. (See “Video Captures Spirit of Sustainability Education Junior Youth Program at Baha’i Schools“)

The representative also organized several workshops during the annual Baha’i Conference on Social and Economic Development (1993 – 2012) in Orlando, Florida, prepared a 25-page sustainability education learning guide with activities and resources to supplement regular programming at several Baha’i schools, advised Baha’i publications, and served as facilitator in online courses on sustainability. OPA’s representative also serves on the Governing Board of the International Environment Forum, a Baha’i-inspired non-governmental professional organization addressing environmental issues and sustainable development, with members in nearly 60 countries.

For more information regarding Education for Sustainable Development, view the Related Documents and Resources page of our website.