With a growing number of countries adopting sustainable development strategies, educators across the world are turning to new terminology to better explain how these strategies work.
In a recent article in The Guardian, Elizabeth Jones of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand described how this new terminology will be a big game changer in how we teach students.
The article uses the term ‘sustainability’ to refer to a set of objectives that are shared by all of the countries that are participating in the Paris Agreement.
As the article notes, “Sustainability is a way to share the benefits of climate change while also promoting social justice.”
The idea is that as countries adopt sustainable development practices, they will reduce their carbon emissions and create jobs that will create more sustainable energy, water, and land.
This is not just an abstract idea, though.
According to the International Monetary Fund, countries that adopt a ‘socially responsible’ approach to development, and are willing to invest in their people, will also be the most likely to make good decisions in the future.
In fact, the Fund estimates that developing countries that do not have a high level of environmental protection will end up spending more on climate change mitigation than any other country.
What is a ‘climate-friendly’ country?
To make sense of this new term, Jones says that sustainable development is a combination of a ‘policy framework’ and a ‘socio-economic system.’
Sustainable development is defined by a set or framework that aims to ensure that the people of a given country live in a way that is less affected by environmental problems.
For example, Jones explains that the terms ‘shelter’, ‘solar’, and ‘climate’ refer to the way that the government tries to ensure the survival of a particular species.
Sustainable development means a set that helps the country live up to its own ideals while being environmentally sustainable.
Countries with more equitable policies will be able to invest more in their citizens’ lives, and they will be more likely to meet their environmental goals.
Countries that adopt policies that focus on reducing emissions or developing new industries will be the best places to invest, she says.
Countries participating in Paris will also get the benefit of the best minds in the world working on climate issues.
This means that, in theory, the Paris Agenda is the most sustainable framework for tackling climate change.
However, Jones argues that the most successful countries in Paris are also those that have the most resources to do so.
“Sustainable development is about making decisions in terms of a shared set of goals,” she says, “rather than focusing on specific areas or areas of concern.”
What do you think about this new approach?
Do you think it will help students understand sustainability in their own language?
Let us know in the comments below!
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