About Sustainability

image of  Spotlight Report: Sustainable Australia 2013

Spotlight Report: Sustainable Australia 2013

Video Presentation by John Thwaites, Chair of National Sustainability Council

Sustainability is making decisions that do not have negative consequences for either current or future generations.  It implies both the preservation of natural resources and a commitment to human and societal wellbeing.   

To do this we need to create communities that can provide for an improved quality of life, protected and healthy ecosystems, social wellbeing and cohesion, and economic equity. Business, government, the professions and wider society all need to contribute to the transformation of our way of life so that we support and preserve the planet upon which we all depend. The transition away from a carbon-based economy is one example of a necessary transformation if we are to move away from our current unsustainable situation.

Such a transformation requires a new approach to education. Education for Sustainability incorporates the principles of sustainable design: “Sustainable design is the careful nesting of human purposes with the larger patterns and flows of the natural world...” (David Orr).

Sustainability impacts on a wide range of ecological and human issues. Click on the issues contained in the following list for news, teaching materials, courses and resources relevant to each.

Full Report

View the Sustainable Australia Report 2013

Sustainability Issues:

  1. Education for Sustainability
  2. Energy Efficiency 
  3. Climate
  4. Community Development
  5. Food
  6. Human Health & Wellbeing
  7. Human Rights and Indigenous Issues
  8. Renewable Energy
  9. Natural Resource Management
  10. Sustainable Design
  11. Air, Land, Water and Waste
  12. Business and Sustainability
  13. Animal Rights
  14. Environmental Politics and Philosophy
  15. Anthropocene

Principles of Education for Sustainability

In its 2009 National Action Plan for Education for Sustainability the Australian Government set out seven principles

Education for Sustainability in Tertiary Education

‘Education for sustainable development (ESD) has come to be seen as a process of learning how to make decisions that consider the long term future of the economy, ecology and equity of all communities. Building capacity for such futures-oriented thinking is a key task of education.’
The UNESCO Strategy for the Decade 

University commitment to sustainability is indicated in the increasing number of signatories to the Talloires Declaration. Composed in 1990 at an international conference in Talloires, France, this is the first official statement made by university administrators of a commitment to environmental sustainability in higher education. The Talloires Declaration (TD) is a ten-point action plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations and outreach at colleges and universities. It has been signed by over 350 university presidents and chancellors in over 40 countries.

Sustainability Education Links 

Professor Ian Lowe talks about sustainability in education at the 13th International ACTS Conference

Careers in Sustainability

The following resources have been contributed to assist students seeking a career in sustainability. Further resources are welcomed.

Sustainability Careers Resources