The Earth Charter in Higher Education for Sustainability
Corcoran, Peter Blaze
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A central challenge of sustainable development is to provide material sufficiency for the human population while preserving the integrity of Earth’s biosphere. Current modes of economic production and consumption accomplish neither of these ethical imperatives. Institutions of higher education must show leadership in the transition to sustainable ways of life. The Earth Charter is a people’s declaration of ethical principles for securing a just, peaceful, humane and sustainable future. The document can serve as a valuable resource for tertiary educators. The Earth Charter provides an inclusive definition of sustainability, emphasising the interrelated concepts of ecological integrity; social and economic justice; and democracy, nonviolence and peace. It can help us resolve the tension between educating for sustainability while creating learning spaces for contestation and critical inquiry. The Earth Charter also valorises the principle of intergenerational equity, challenging us to create human livelihoods that secure the continued full flourishing of all life for generations to come.