The Council has adopted these definitions to guide its approach to strategic planning for environmental education.
any process or activity that assists the development of awareness, knowledge, skills and attitudes leading to environmentally responsible practices and behaviour.
Any process or activity that engages people in learning by sharing and developing knowledge, skills and attitudes. Education can occur through formal or non-formal processes. Non-formal education includes learning through a range of activities such as community participation, information and communication (including mass media), entertainment and recreation, extension and awareness-raising programs, experiential learning programs, skills training, on-the-job training and development, and short courses and personal development activities. These may be delivered by government agencies, non-government organisations and industry at a community and individual level. Formal education can occur through the curriculums of pre-schools, primary and secondary schools, vocational education and training institutions, and universities.
the goal to be achieved through ecologically sustainable development. It refers to the ability to continue an activity into the future or maintain a state or condition undiminished (or enhanced) over time. Sustainability involves integrated ecological, personal and social (including economic) goals and implies changes in behaviour and practices by individuals and organisations.
the variety of all life forms: the different plants, animals and micro-organisms, the genes they contain, and the ecosystems of which they are a part.
programs or initiatives aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of individuals, organisations and systems to achieve or define outcomes, by strengthening their knowledge base, competence, resources, networks, infrastructure and other forms of support.
includes all spheres of government, business and industry and the general public. The term is also used in a more specific sense to refer to those affected by particular issues under consideration or who are interested in some way.
corporate social responsibility
the commitment of business to contribute to sustainable economic development, working with employees, their families, the local community and society at large to improve their quality of life (World Business Council on Sustainable Development).
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heritage consists of those places and objects that we as a community have inherited from the past and want to hand on to future generations. NSW's heritage is diverse and includes buildings, objects, monuments, Aboriginal places, gardens, bridges, landscapes, archaeological sites, shipwrecks, relics, bridges, streets, industrial structures and conservation precincts. In more recent years there has been considerable attention paid to the 'intangible' aspects of cultural heritage, meaning the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills â€“ as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith â€“ that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognise as part of their cultural heritage (UNESCO Convention For the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, 2003, Art 1).
an 'ecological footprint' is a measure of community use of natural resources and ecological services. Essentially, it acts as a measure of human impact on environmental systems. Based on current consumption patterns, our 'ecological footprint' is calculated in terms of the biologically productive areas (air, land and water) necessary to continuously provide resources and services and absorb waste generated.
ecologically sustainable development
development that aims to meet the needs of Australians today, while conserving our ecosystems for the benefit of future generations of all species. This term has been used throughout this document to refer to the path or framework for achieving sustainability.
education for sustainability (EfS)
education for sustainability motivates, equips and involves both individuals and communities in reflecting on how they currently live and work. This assists them in making informed decisions and creating ways to work towards a more sustainable world. Learning for sustainability seeks to implement systemic change within the wider community (Tilbury, D., Coleman, V., Jones, A., MacMaster, K. (2005) A National Review of Environmental Education and its Contribution to Sustainability in Australia: Community Education. Canberra: Australian Government Department for the Environment and Heritage and Australian Research Institute in Education for Sustainability).
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the aggregate of all conditions that influence the life of a species, including natural, social, cultural, built and spatial elements.
a process whereby people exercise rights and accept responsibilities for active participation as members of communities, nations and the planet to achieve sustainability.
a participatory process through which people develop knowledge, skills and values through experience and critical reflection.
integrated education for sustainability
an integrated approach to sustainability represents a shift from 'part' based management, to 'systemic' approaches that work to encourage new ways of thinking and behaving in response to complex sustainability challenges. It is based on the recognition that all aspects of the natural and human environment are interconnected and should be managed holistically. Integrated or holistic education for sustainability can mean such things as linking education to other methods used to promote sustainability; exploring interconnections between issues (ecological, social and economic) at local, regional and global levels; using learning methods that engage all aspects of people throughout their lives; and making links with others working in related areas.
this term is often used interchangeably with terms such as coordination, collaboration, and networking, but current usage (IPAA, 2002) sees these concepts on a continuum based on the degree of formal relationship, change and commitment required. Partnership is the most committed form of relationship and can include joint planning, implementing and evaluating of activities, programs and policies. Successful partnerships combine an organisational commitment, honesty and trust with a common agenda of shared objectives and understanding of partners' priorities.
Note on terminology: the Council acknowledges that terms for environmental learning vary across different contexts and are often used interchangeably.
The term education for sustainability refers to an emerging reformulation of environmental education consistent with current international statements on this topic by bodies such as UNESCO and IUCN (Hesselink, F., van Kempen, P.P, Wals, A., editors (2000) ESDebate International Debate on Education for Sustainable Development. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. Viii + 64p).
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Page last updated: 27 February 2011