Six principles of sustainability education

These are six principles I try to stick to when I am designing sustainability education or comms.

Beautiful; Truthful; Patient; Two way; Remarkable; and Reflective.

It is hard to define exactly why, but we seem instinctively attracted to beautiful things. If you are using graphics, images or text, remember the aesthetic - trust your creativity or commission an artist.

Get your facts straight, lies breed mistrust. If in doubt check and credit your sources. Appeal to our inner truth too. Human beings have an instinctive sense of what is right and wrong. Most of us are compassionate and caring souls ready to help others. Nurture those values help them flourish.

Sustainable living matures. It is like wine, it takes time. Be patient, let people unwind from their old patterns of behaviour and help them construct new ones as they gain clarity in their thinking. Choose your success measures wisely, the changes you create will be subtle, the movement as a whole will do the heavy lifting.

Or three way or four way, or why not get the whole town involved. We learn in many different ways, but often learn best when we are exchanging ideas, questions and answers. We need feedback as educators too, we improve the experience of our learners when we are engaged in a dialogue with them.

You will have your learner's attention for a while, after that you are relying on them to spread the word. If you want people to share their learning with others, you need give them the inspiration and ability to remark upon it.

It is so easy to end a speech, a workshop or a resource and immediately forget about it and move on, but if we don't reflect on how it went we'll struggle to improve for next time. Your next piece of sustainability education should be built on your reflections from the one before.


Morgan Phillips