2024 Earth Charter Education Conference: Reimagining Education for Ecological Civilizations


2024 Earth Charter Education Conference: Reimagining Education for Ecological Civilizations

Poster for the Earth Charter Conference in Florida

Our world faces many interconnected challenges including climate disruption, biodiversity loss, increasing poverty, inequalities, and conflicts between and within countries. Education must play a central role in preparing people to make the transformative change needed to create a world that works for all.

The activities of the Earth Charter International Education Center highlight the importance of incorporating sustainability values and principles into the processes of learning and decision-making. The Center forges new paths in education for sustainable development, and global citizenship education, and tries to connect these with concepts such as planetary well-being and ecological literacy. The Center’s work is implemented under the framework of the UNESCO Chair on Education for Sustainable Development with the Earth Charter, which works to generate educational programmes and research activities specifically at the intersection of sustainability, ethics, and education. 

The UN organized a “Transforming Education Summit,” convened “in response to a global crisis in education—one of equity and inclusion, quality and relevance”.  It emphasized that “many education systems are not providing students with the skills, knowledge, values needed to face the current challenges…The world needs to reimagine the education system.”   

The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 4.7) aims for learners to acquire by 2030, the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including education for sustainable lifestyles, global citizenship, climate justice, gender equality, and so on.

UNESCO’s  Futures of Education Initiative produced a report titled “Reimagining our futures together: a new social contract for Education.” It highlights the importance of considering education as a holistic process, involving the “heart, hands, and mind.” It promotes efforts to rethink content and pedagogy and to support teachers as agents of change.