Education for Sustainability : Becoming Naturally Smart book cover
1st Edition

Education for Sustainability
Becoming Naturally Smart

ISBN 9780415698726
Published February 8, 2012 by Routledge
160 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

In this book, Paul Clarke argues that in order to live sustainably we need to learn how to live and flourish in our environment in a manner that uses finite resources with ecologically informed discretion. Education is perfectly placed to create the conditions for innovative and imaginative solutions and to provide the formulas that ensure that everyone becomes naturally smart; but to achieve this, we need to recognise that an education that is not grounded in a full understanding of our relationship with the natural world is no education at all. In other words, a total transformation of schools and schooling is needed.

While acknowledging that the ecological crisis is global in scale, Paul Clarke maintains that many of the solutions are already evident in our local communities. Drawing on innovative sustainable living programmes from around the world, including Sweden’s Forest Schools, China’s Green Schools programme, the US Green Ribbon Schools programme and his own school-of-sustainability project, Paul Clarke offers practical solutions about how schools and communities can make their contribution.

This book examines how we might proceed to empower and actively develop schools and communities to connect hand, heart and mind for an eco-literate future. It is thought provoking, timely and challenging, and should be read by school leaders, community and business leaders, as well as anyone grappling with the problems of transition from an industrial past to an ecologically sustainable future.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Imagine an alternative


Exploration one: Rethinking our relationship with the environment:

Exploration two: Is education fit for purpose if the purpose is sustainable living?

Exploration three: How can community help schools to live with uncertainty?

Exploration four: Open source living: when sustainability the way of life

Exploration five: Can we create schools of sustainability?

Exploration six: The urban fix: sustainable cities, sustainable minds

Exploration seven: Our Great Work – Education for Sustainability.

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 Paul Clarke is Professor of Education, St Mary’s University College, London, UK; Director of Sustainable Leadership, Cambridge Education / Mott MacDonald; and a founding Director of the influential Pop-Up-Farm and Incredible Edible projects.


‘The future that our children are currently being educated for is not the future that is approaching. A whole generation is being prepared for business as usual while deep down most young people, their parents and their teachers, know that the reality will be very different. Paul Clarke makes a case for a real and practical alternative and points towards ways that we can all begin to reassess the role and function of education for sustainable living.’ (Rob Hopkins, co-founder of the Transition Network)

‘Our current way of living is failing us. Our education system needs a new route ... and this book offers a valuable set of tools to start that journey.’ (Alys Fowler, journalist, author of The Edible Garden, BBC Books)

‘Paul Clarke makes Ecological Sustainability accessible for leaders and learners. He is helping to engage a generation of young people for whom the simple but life-giving skills of growing and nurturing were starting to slip away.’ (Kerry White, Principal of Holy Family School, Adelaide, Australia)