Monday, April 15, 2013

Striking a balance: Sustainability and geography

Image above: Sustainability in the Australian Curriculum: Geography; finding a balance between environmental and economical sustainability, and creating a socially just world.

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Sustainability in geography: a good fit!  

Geography sees sustainability broader than the environment as an isolated ‘thing’. It is the interdependency of the quadruple bottom line(QBL) that is often advocated as the approach in geography.

When discussing sustainabiltiy, the quadruple bottom line takes into consideration the following factors: 
1. Environmental

2. Social

3.Cultural (including governance) 

4. Economic. 

Some say that sustainable development is dead with the current wave of conservative ideals and economic prosperity throughout the world; the "What's In It for Me" (WIIFM) attitude seems to be growing. However it is certainly not dead in the Australian Curriculum: Geography where it is clearly stated in Aim 5, that:

The F-10 Australian Curriculum: Geography aims to ensure that students develop:
  • as informed, responsible and active citizens who can contribute to the development of the development of an environmentally and economically sustainable, and socially just world.

The draft curriculum goes on to say that:
In the F-10 Australian Curriculum: Geography, an understanding of sustainability is developed in the following ways:
  • Sustainability is both a goal and a way of thinking about how to progress towards that goal.
  • Progress towards environmental sustainability depends on the maintenance or restoration of the environmental functions that sustain all life and human wellbeing (economic and social).
  • An understanding of the causes of unsustainability requires a study of the environmental processes producing the degradation of an environmental function; the human actions that have initiated these processes; and the attitudinal, demographic, social, economic and political causes of these human actions. These can be analysed through the framework of human-environment systems.
  • There are a variety of contested views on how progress towards sustainability should be achieved, and these are often informed by worldviews such as stewardship.

Here are a few links to support the teaching of sustainability in geography:

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