ISC

Education for Sustainability

Education for Sustainability

Education for Sustainability

At ISC, we believe that true cultural change begins and ends at the grassroots level, and so we focus on helping ordinary people transform their communities. To build the next generation of leaders, we train teachers and help them develop curriculum that promotes informed and involved citizenship, creative problem solving, and cooperative action aimed at balancing today's needs with future consequences. This is called education for sustainability.

Through education for sustainability, ISC and our longtime partner, Shelburne Farms, make learning relevant to everyday life, action oriented, and focused on both local and global issues. Rather than relying solely on teachers to provide learning experiences, our projects bring community knowledge and expertise into the formal education process.

Above all, we see education for sustainability as a critical element in solving some of the world's most pressing problems—ones that require action and commitment at the individual and family level to create the groundswell that results in real change. Climate change, environmental degradation, social justice, and a peaceful world all depend on the action of the individual.

Tangible Results

  • We often partner with a teacher training college through our education projects so that they can develop a complementary curriculum and use the pilot schools as laboratories. In this way, as young teachers graduate, the new methodology is put to use by several hundred schools within just a few years, and often influences local and national curricula.
  • In 1994, ISC launched our first environmental education program in Plock, Poland. Our partners called the project Krag, which is a circle of people around a campfire—a symbol of cooperation and connection. The initial project was replicated in 300 other schools in Poland and directly influenced national education policy.
  • With a growing awareness in both Japan and the United States that lifestyles in more industrialized countries were placing a huge burden on the environment, with people consuming natural resources at unsustainable rates, we decided to collaborate with Japanese partners to educate the next generation on issues of economy, social well-being, and interdependence. At the conclusion of the project, one of our key partners, the City of Nishinomiya, was selected as an "Environmental Learning City"—a national model of education for sustainability. The project also inspired the Vermont Department of Education to incorporate education for sustainability into its educational standards.
  • Our Education for Sustainable Development program in China is bringing the youngest generation into the process of solving critical environmental problems in one of the country's most polluted provinces. We are developing courses on resource efficiency and environmental health for children ages 9-13 and involving the public, business and community leaders, and education administrators in their hands-on learning. Visit our China site to learn more.

Lights Out, Moon On

A simple flip of the switch. As thousands of young Chinese students learned, that's all it takes to achieve major energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions in a single evening.

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Environmental Educators Get Fresh Ideas

Educators from the U.S. and China traveled to Nishinomiya, Japan to learn about implementing school-based environmental programs, and how those programs can support broader community efforts.

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