What is Learning for Sustainability?

Blog Posts - Tue 29th January 2019, 5:10PM

You’ve heard the name… you might even be a member, but what does it actually mean? LfS Scotland member Sarah Ford-Hutchinson delves into the jargon to discover what’s underneath and gives us an understanding of what being a member of LfS Scotland means to her.


Dear Reader,

I hear you care about sustainability.

You recycle. You reuse. You switch the lights off when you leave the room. You’re trying to use your car less, but when you do drive to the shops you make sure there are reusable bags in the boot. Filling those bags with food gives you a warm fuzzy feeling, especially if that food is unwashed, unpackaged, locally-sourced and wonky.

On food, you’re trying to eat less meat (if you eat meat at all). You want to be healthy. To be outside. You love nature – really love it – and are constantly surprised by how good it can make you feel. You increasingly value moments and people, not stuff. You know older people who lived with less and younger people who always want more, and you sympathise with both. You are horrified by inequality, appalled by the power of consumerism, and frequently confused about How To Live A Good Life Without Screwing Up the Planet.

You know that sustainability is about people as well as plastic, and you get that in this crazy modern world, most of us have to learn to be sustainable. Like most of the wonderful creatures on this planet, the best way we learn is by doing.

That, my friend, is precisely what Learning for Sustainability means. It’s not learning about sustainability in a passive way, it’s about learning to do things a better way so we can create a better world. It’s about learning to create positive changes in your own life, the lives of others, and for the health of the planet.

Secondly, learning doesn’t just happen in a classroom; it happens when we speak to people and when we use our hands. Sometimes we are taught, and sometimes we do the teaching.

The United Nations terms this “education for sustainable development” – learning how everyone can have the opportunity to live fulfilling human lives without harming others or depleting the planet’s natural resources.

If it seems like a gigantic task, it’s because it is; but that’s ok. What matters is that as many people as possible are empowered to tackle the task in as many different ways as possible.

The great thing is that just by caring about sustainability, you are perfectly positioned to create positive change. Why? Because in addition to the actions we mentioned above, you can show someone else, and let them learn for sustainability, rather than simply about it.

And that’s where Learning for Sustainability Scotland comes in. Simply put, it’s a network of people who live or work in Scotland and who want to be a part of creating a more sustainable future. Some work in the educational sector, bringing sustainability to life in the classroom; others work with community groups, with computer screens, in huge organisations and in small ones. What we all have in common is a desire to inform, enable and inspire more people to create a better world, and a willingness to share ideas for how best to do this.

If that’s something you’re interested in being a part of, find out more about the network at http://learningforsustainabilityscotland.org/learn-more/.