Monday, November 09, 2009

Sustainability Education. What is it?

Sustainability Education. What is it?
By Dame Julia Morton-Marr, DStG, B.Ed., Dip.T.

(NB: This has been translated into Spanish, by Andrea Mendez Brandam, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and was included in her newspaper "Positive News" = Noticias Positivas which was an insert in "The Clarin" main newspaper in Argentina, that sends out 300,000 copies with about 2 million readers.)

See the whole paper here: Noticias Positivas

See the Sustainable Education article here:

How important and how can we achieve sustainability in schools? IHTEC’s educators (website: ) created the International School Peace Gardens to teach sustainability education. This includes peace education, basic human values, inter-cultural understanding, environmental education, and dedication at various class levels through celebration in a peace garden.

Sustainability: “We must have peace first, if we are to be sustainable.” Prof. Helmut Burkhardt

“This includes a well managed global commons”. Global Commons include forests, oceans, atmosphere, space, fresh water, ozone, arctic and antarctica, and bio-diversity. Our planet has so many global issues right now that we need to teach everyone restorative methods. Issues such as climate change, energy use, plastic pollution are some of many concerns that can be improved through positive thought and action in a peace garden.

Peace in Ourselvers:

Peace means to become one with yourself . You have to understand your beliefs and values. Peace means to think and speak positively, reversing negative and hurtful words making them positive. Peace is calmness with others and silence when words are not required. For peace, people should forget about one=s small differences. Peace is safety, no fear in people=s hearts. Peace means to be joyful.

Tool: In your peace garden, plant a tree that represents peace, that grows in nature where you live. This tree can be special or sacred to your region, your State or Provincial tree.

Peace in the Environment.

Peace and the environment can no longer be separated. Peace means cooperation and understanding with the surrounding environment. We must take care of it, and not abuse it. Peace means caring for every living thing on the planet by supporting the web of life.

Tool: In your peace garden, plant a sample of all the plants that live together in nature. Make a list of the plants and learn how they help all species. You might like to help plant a forest as a school.

Peace in Our Schools

The message of peace should be spread to children starting at a very young age, because in Year 1 & 2, that is when the teasing and all of the other negative things start. It is important to concentrate more on the similarities rather than the differences, so that there is a healthy, peaceful environment to learn in. Some students make peace posters, and placing them all over the school, to give the message of peace. Others create a peace corner in each classroom.

Tool: Build two friendship benches facing each other, and learn how to solve local problems in the peace garden. If your climate is too cold, these benches can be inside your school.


Peace must include basic human values for all humans. Each human and all other species on planet earth need food, water, clothing, and a home to live in. (See Maslow’s Basic Needs) This includes food supplies for migrating birds and animals.

Tool: In your peace garden, plant vegetables and fruits so no one will go hungry. This is a food security garden. Collect seeds and learn to store them for another year and teach which seeds grow which food. Contact your local botanical gardens for more information.

Children in Hawaii are focused on returning to their original food plants and helping to feed the homeless. These islands only have two weeks of food at any one time, so the students are making lists of what each household grows, so that they can share the excess.

In Argentina there is to be a conference on Sustainability Education for Head Masters of Private Schools on May 6,7 & 8, 2010