Learning for sustainability and environmental education
Behaviour change is a complicated process. It is well known that just providing information does not lead to a sustained change in behaviour. ‘Learning for sustainability’ and ‘environmental education’ are two types of processes that successfully foster long-term behaviour change. ‘Learning for sustainability’ encourages participants to think deeply about their values and their vision in order to harness deeper motivations for behaviour change. Environmental education encourages experiential exploration of nature that ultimately ends in considerations of what it means to be an ‘engaged citizen’ actively participating in change towards a sustainable future. Both learning for sustainability and environmental education encourage learners to explore the broader system of the problem and how they can best contribute to change within the system. These pedagogies can also be used in workshops to help develop sustainability leaders within communities and organisations. ISF integrates the principles of ‘learning for sustainability’ and environmental education into many projects; principles such as systemic thinking, values-clarification, creative thinking, futures thinking and critical thinking. We also much experience in delivering LfS and EE programs with local government, business and communities.
Key projects in this area:
1. Alexandrina Council Environmental Sustainability Plan Training & Engagement for Staff and Councillors (2013) (Alexandrina Council, SA).
Designing and delivering both a half-day and full-day training event for senior managers and elected representatives, as well as the staff sustainability group. Included participatory process to define local issues and possible actions for inclusion in the plan.
2. Education for climate change adaptation
ISF was engaged by the Northeast Greenhouse Alliance in Victoria to help them plan and build resilience and capacity for communities to respond to climate change through the development and delivery of practical solutions and tools.
Through strong collaboration with the Northeast Greenhouse Alliance, ISF developed and trialed engagement activities that sought to build awareness, capacity and resilience to climate change within targeted groups within in the region; and to provide a pathway to empower the wider community to undertake action and enable community wide adaptation to climate change impacts.
Specifically, ISF developed, trialed and evaluated a variety of engagement approaches tailored to: council leaders, community elders, and rural communities. Through their desk top review and applied research, ISF developed a best-practice engagement toolkit for climate change adaptation.
ISF, in partnership with Australian Documentaries, developed and ran a cutting edge community engagement process known as CrowdTV. CrowdTV is the world’s first on-line, community driven, crowd-sourced documentary process. The power of CrowdTV lies in its ability to mobilise people to create the kind of documentaries and films they would like to see, by converging the two worlds of crowd sourced user generated content and a professional film crew.
For this particular project, CrowdTV was used to connect and educate local community groups, broader community members and partners throughout Western Sydney around water issues via the co-creation of a short documentary film. This collaborative process began by engaging community members through a facilitated series of workshops in sharing their ideas for documentaries based on their own experiences, insights and concerns. Members were then actively involved and encouraged to work together to develop skills in each stage of the online documentary making processes: ideas generation, research, story‐boarding, blogging, shooting, editing, marketing. In other words, members decided what they wanted to see and how they wanted to see it made. A short feature documentary was professionally produced and launched in Western Sydney with a red carpet event.
Paper: Katie Ross and Jade Herriman, 2013. Active and participatory learning for sustainability in an online space: The case study of CrowdTV. The International Journal of Sustainability Education.
4. A Review of Integrated Education for Sustainability in Local Government (DECC) (2008).
ISF conducted a series of semi-structured qualitative interviews examining practitioners’ experience of delivering environmental education in councils, with a focus on how programs link to strategy, political commitment, use of social and environmental data to inform program design and evaluation of program outcomes.
Publication: Herriman, J and Partridge, E. (2010) Education activities for environment and sustainability: A Snapshot of eight New South Wales councils Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Issue 6: July 2010 http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/ojs/index.php/cjlg