Book: "Learning, Environment and Sustainable Development: A History of Ideas"

book cover shows trees growing on balconies of building

This book is an introduction to the long history of human learning, the environment and sustainable development— about our struggles with the natural world: first for survival, then for dominance, currently for self-preservation, and in future perhaps, even for long-term, mutually beneficial co-existence. It charts the long arc of human–environment relationships through the specific lens of human learning, putting on record many of the people, ideas and events that have contributed, often unwittingly, to the global movement for sustainable development.

Human learning has always had a focus on the environment. It’s something we’ve been engaged in ever since we began interacting with our surroundings and thinking about the impacts, outcomes and consequences of our actions and interactions. This unique story told by the authors is episodic rather than a connected, linear account; it probes, questions and re-examines familiar issues from novel perspectives, and looks ahead. The book is of particular interest to those studying (and teaching) courses with a focus on socio-economic and environmental sustainability, and non-governmental organisations whose work brings them face-to-face with the general public and social enterprises.


William Scott is Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Bath, UK, and is Chair of Trustees of the UK’s National Association for Environmental Education. He was one of the founding editors of the Routledge journal, Environmental Education Research.

Paul Vare is Research Convener for the School of Education at the University of Gloucestershire, UK. He has worked internationally in the voluntary sector, with large corporations and national governments, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on education for sustainable development.