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Author's note
What is E S D?
Reorienting Education
Localizing the Global Initiative
Challenges and Barriers to E S D
Community Sustainability Goals
Case Study: Toronto, Canada Board of Education
Managing Change
Public Participation
Concluding remarks
Tools to Introduce the Concept of Sustainable Development
Tools to Create Community Goals
Tools to Reorient Education to Address Sustainability
Tools for Managing Change
Web resources

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Teachers use their personal academic and disciplinary strengths to develop a group plan.


To develop and support a multidisciplinary curriculum for Education for Sustainability.


Education for Sustainable Development should involve the formal, nonformal, and informal sectors of the education community. Participants may decide that a community goal may be better taught by another sector.

Group size: 2 to 9 participants per group.

The number of participants per group, and the composition of the group, depends upon the school's faculty. Where one individual teaches every subject to one age group, teachers from several grades should compose the group. Where specialized teachers teach one subject, the group should be multidisciplinary with one member each from mathematics, language arts, social sciences, environmental education, physical education/health, arts, and science.

Time Needed

1 hour or more, depending on the number of sustainability goals your community identified. (Note: for more information on the development of these sustainability goals, please use the exercise Creating Community Sustainability Goals: Deciding What is Important.)


  • Unity is Strength worksheet.
  • A list of your community's sustainability goals, one copy per participant.
  • Pencils.
  • A chalkboard and chalk.
  • A folder or binder for each participant.


  1. Assign participants to multidisciplinary or grade-level groups.
  2. Distribute pencils, lists of community sustainability goals, and Unity is Strength worksheets.
  3. Explain that education FOR sustainability differs from education ABOUT sustainability. The former teaches the issues, perspectives, values, knowledge, and skills children need to live sustainable lifestyles. The latter treats the topic theoretically.
  4. Draw the diagrams in Figures 1 and 2 on the chalkboard. Explain that teaching issues, perspectives, values, knowledge, and skills needed for sustainable living is not as strong or as achievable if taught by only one person as when it is taught by many. Unity is strength. (See Issue 6 - Engaging Traditional Disciplines in a Transdisciplinary Framework elsewhere in this Toolkit.)

Figures 1 and 2

  1. Write the first community sustainability goal in the center of the Unity diagram on the worksheet.
  2. Using the worksheet, groups will identify which skills, perspectives, values, knowledge, and issues (from various disciplines) they can teach that will support the selected community sustainability goal.
  3. Groups should check their responses to ensure that gaps and overlaps are not present.
  4. After completing the worksheets individually, participants share their ideas with one another in their small assigned groups. To lend structure to the discussions, each component of ESD (skills, perspectives, values, knowledge and issues) can be discussed in turn.
  5. Participants should place the completed "Unity is Strength" worksheet in their folders or binders.
  6. Each participant should take a new worksheet and repeat Steps 4 through 8 for each community sustainability goal.

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