Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Transforming Our World Through ESD

ISKL is one of few international schools promoting Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as a formal curricular platform. But this year, arguably more than ever, ESD is taking on a particular importance. 2015 brings with it far-reaching changes that will affect the way we, and our children, will carry out our daily lives. On September 25-27 the United Nations is expected to adopt the new Sustainable Development Goals which will pave the way for the world through 2030. It is quite appropriate that the UN names this initiative Transforming Our World

2015 is also the year for the COP 21 UN Climate Change talks taking place in Paris in November/December. Regardless of where we sit on the humanity-is-at-fault-for-climate-change debate, there seems to be a growing recognition at the political level that humanity needs to move decisively in unprecedented ways to ensure the health and wellbeing of the planet and all its people.  

To put this year in context, and our ESD platform with it, here are some major highlights from the past 8 months or so:
  • Last November the IPCC announced that the world needs to shift almost all its energy sources by 2100 to keep temperatures at plus 2 degrees (this, of course, has huge ramifications for all the world's communities, including our own)
  • Many countries have formalized their intent to cut carbon emissions in preparation for COP21
  • A growing number of cities are taking steps toward sustainability
  • Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla Energy) introduced a home battery. This technology is described by many as a "game changer"
  • On a windy day last June Denmark became the first country to generate a surplus of wind energy, generating 140% of it's national needs. 
  • Over the summer a number of Holland's citizens sued their own government for not looking after their wellbeing by not supporting sustainable practices... and won.  This is considered to be a landmark ruling that might define the way forward in many countries.
It is in this context, and with a decidedly positive outlook, that ISKL ensures that our students are becoming "socially responsible global citizens" through Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).  Be it leadership training programs, Global Issues classes, activities that develop critical thinking, constructive collaboration or any host of related skills, ISKL is working to ensure that our students are solution-oriented and forward thinking. This year's events could define a "new" direction for our shared future, but flexibility, creativity and problem solving will be necessary way after this year becomes history.

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