The Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living
  • Date submitted: 26 Oct 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Major Group
  • Name: The Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Innovation (2 hits),

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by PERL (The Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living)

October 2011

PERL (The Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living) (, is a partnership of educators and researchers from 130 institutions in 50 countries who work developing methods and materials to encourage people to contribute to constructive change through the way they choose to live. PERL offers the following proposal for the compilation of the zero draft outcome document for UNCSD June 2012.

Proposed text for the Rio+20 Outcome Document

Education for responsible, sustainable living

Sustainable lifestyles are central to overcoming poverty and conserving and protecting the natural resource base for all. Sustainable methods of production are needed; use of resources needs to be minimized; and pollution and waste reduced. In the current state of multiple global crisis, Innovation in education is essential to tackle these challenges. Teaching people to better understand the problems we are currently facing, and to think differently in order to tackle them, is an important task for education systems, as are building skills for critical thinking and problem-solving.


In a world threatened by economic crisis, environmental disaster, poverty, social unrest and conflict, there is growing global consensus that the international community must unite to prepare for a better common future. Education is at the centre of the development process; our ability to generate well-educated societies is critical in overcoming the challenges we face.

Thus, education is inextricably linked to well-balanced development that takes into consideration the social, environmental and economic dimensions of an improved quality of life for present and future generations. The global financial and economic crisis together with other crises linked to climate change, food and energy, have demonstrated the need for viable, long-term solutions. A system of production and consumption imposing significantly lower pressures on natural resource stocks and the environment while improving the quality of life and social well-being for all, is now widely recognised as necessary in order to move to sustainable development. This has given new relevance to debates on how education should respond to changing realities and contribute to a better future.

Education for SCP should not be understood in a narrow sense so that it simply means learning to consume and produce less. Instead, such education should serve to empower consumers by making them aware of their rights and responsibilities as well as the needs of individuals throughout the world. It should equip them with critical thinking skills to be conscious consumers and active, compassionate citizens. Education for SCP should train people to support business practices and government policies that are ethically sound, seek eco-efficiency, provide a wide range of choices and alternatives, and supply reliable information to consumers. Changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production requires changes in attitudes and behaviours on a massive scale. Such education needs to be based on multi-stakeholder partnerships, research and activities which support sustainable lifestyles Innovation in both developed and developing countries.

Regulations, new technology and material incentives alone cannot bring about significant attitude and behaviour changes. Education cannot do this alone either. Together, education, regulations and material incentives/new technology can provide the necessary knowledge, frameworks and motivation for constructive change to sustainable living. Together they can provide the foundations for the transitions needed to achieve a more equitable and sustainable economy.

Concrete measures / recommendations

? Encourage all countries to include a comprehensive program of value-based, holistic, interdisciplinary and practical education for sustainable living in their curricula, teacher training, school activities and informal education

? Endorse a 10-year framework of programs on sustainable consumption and production to support the development of education for sustainable living in formal and informal educational systems in all countries as well as dissemination of good practices, learning kits, guidelines and material. This Framework of programs would build upon the work of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. It would encompass a variety of approaches but ensure focus on life skills and creative social learning processes.

? Provide the resources for carrying out the above-mentioned programs.

? Carry out a mid-way review after five years of the progress made.

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