Policy & Practice - A Development Education Review



Development education and education for sustainable development: Are they striking a Faustian bargain?

Professionalisation and Deradicalisation of Development Education
Spring 2011

David Selby & Fumiyo Kagawa

Faustus is writ large in European mythology. A sixteenth century German astronomer, he is reputed to have sold his soul to the devil for unlimited power. In modern English parlance, to ‘strike a Faustian bargain’ is to be willing to sacrifice anything for knowledge or power or influence, closing one’s eyes to the consequences. In this article, David Selby and Fumiyo Kagawa enter the landscape of development education and education for sustainable development and find either a falling in with the neo-liberal marketplace agenda or a reluctance to directly, overtly and critically engage with that agenda. They wonder why. Are the fields in danger of striking a Faustian bargain so as to achieve some purchase and influence over educational directions, a bargain that brings short-term gains at the expense of transformative goals? They offer some suggestions for having influence but sidestepping such a bargain.


Falling in or falling out with growth and globalisation?


The recent global financial meltdown has occasioned yet another wave of frenzied action to revitalise the global economic growth machine. Governments, banks, corporations, as well as the multilateral and bilateral banking and development agencies related to the United Nations system, are now canvassing and enacting all kinds of initiatives intended to stimulate (or at least avoid hampering) further and faster growth. These include swingeing reductions in public expenditure and services, reinvigorated drives towards privatisation, decentralisation of control away from government, and otherwise shrinking governmental latitude to intervene and regulate so as to shield the vulnerable from oftentimes deleterious market forces.

All of this is happening in the name of the global marketplace, of ensuring virility in an era of global competitiveness predicated on unending growth. Affluent societies and peoples, in particular, have become so transfixed by the idea of economic growth that it has taken on the proportions of delusional realism. Capitalist realism, argues Mark Fisher (2009: 2), has become such an ideological malaise that there is a ‘widespread sense that not only is capitalism the only viable political and economic system, but that it is now impossible even to imagine a coherent alternative to it’ (italics in original).  As Clive Hamilton (2010:32) sees it, we have become immured in ‘growth fetishism’. He writes:


“In affluent societies…religious value seems now to be invested in the most profane object, growth of the economy, which at the individual level takes the form of the accumulation of material goods. Our political leaders and commentators believe that it has magical powers that provide the answer to every problem. Growth alone will save the poor. If inequality causes concern, a rising tide lifts all boats. Growth will solve unemployment. If we want better schools and more hospitals then economic growth will provide. And if the environment is in decline then higher growth will generate the means to fix it. Whatever the social problem, the answer is always more growth” (2010: 33).


 The reference to growth as an article of quasi-religious faith is echoed by Bob Lloyd (2009:516) who sees close parallels between the ‘God delusion’ as interrogated by Richard Dawkins (2006) and what he calls the ‘growth delusion’, ‘the irrational insistence on endless growth as a non negotiable axiom, by a large proportion of the world’s population’. Those with the temerity to suggest that the king of growth is in the altogether are ‘denigrated as aberrant spoilsports’ (Lloyd, 2009: 517) and characterised as ‘opponents of progress’ wishing us back to a cave dwelling existence (Hamilton, 2010: 34). Viable alternatives are not there to countenance; they are banished from the mainstream landscape.

Economic growth goes hand in glove with economic globalisation; what Carlos Torres (2009: 14) calls ‘globalization from above’. This involves the ongoing neo-liberal systemisation of the world as marketplace through the opening of national economic borders, the creation of huge regional markets, the acceleration and intensification of financial exchange especially through electronic communication, the burgeoning role of the corporate sector, and the diminution of the power and sway of the nation state by reducing its capacity to stem the global tide of market deregulation and by weakening national authority in determining policy priorities and stripping national legislation of its force (Hall, 2002: 36; Rizvi, 2004; Torres, 2009: 14; Wells et al. 1998).

This hegemonic form of globalisation is resisted by ‘globalization from below’ (Torres, 2009:15) - the myriad more or less interconnected expressions globally of social and environmental justice activism and indigenous cultural resistance (Hawken, 2007; Selby & Kagawa, 2011). It is also paralleled by the globalisation of human rights, a connection often being made between the full exercise of pluralistic democracy and optimal free play of markets. Parallels and synergies between economic globalisation and the global application of human rights have been noted, in that both have the effect of eroding the boundaries of the nation state, as has the ‘smokescreen’ nature of much which passes for rights reform in an increasingly neo-liberal environment (Torres, 2009: 17, 18, 21). In reality, the embrace of humanistic values is largely tokenistic within neo-liberal discourse (Chossudovsky, 1997; Stromquist, 2002). ‘The trouble,’ writes Hossey, ‘is, increasingly, the only goals that matter are those defined by the market. Concerns over the health of the global ecosystem, justice, traditions, sacred beliefs, shared community, care and concern for fellow beings, are all left by the wayside’ (2006: 120).

Within such a climate, there is the constant danger that those committed to ‘globalization from below’ can find themselves co-opted, seduced or swallowed up by the growth and globalisation agendas. Wanting to effect change, they feel themselves facing a dilemma of either trimming their agenda so as to have some say, sway and influence of a reformist nature within the prevailing climate or of adhering to a transformative, status quo critical, standpoint which may well resign them to a position of peripheral, maverick influence. Do they opt for tampering with, and so, perhaps, bolstering the system, or stand by turning it around? A case in point is that of climate change advocates seeking purchase and influence in the corridors of power and so making the most persuasive case they can for green energy primarily based on its potential to make a significant contribution to continuous economic growth. They have chosen to do this when, all around them, lies abundant evidence that economic growth and consumerism are at the root of runaway climate change that is already damaging the lives of 325 million people per year (Hamilton, 2010: 41; Global Humanitarian Forum, 2009: 1). Advocacy of green energy is laudable but in making their case as persuasively as possible to the powers-that-be they accede to making protection of the climate secondary to growth. In so doing a kind of Faustian bargain is struck; a collusion with the prevailing neo-liberal worldview in return for some, likely ephemeral, purchase on policy. A place at the table now, whatever the dystopian future prospects afforded by the growth imperative. For probably similar reasons, leading environmental advocates have chosen to relinquish their public embrace of the intrinsic value of nature by adopting an instrumental growth-speak lexicon in which nature is described as ‘natural capital’, ‘ecosystem services’ and ‘natural resources’ (Selby & Kagawa, 2011).

In this article we want to enquire of the interrelated and overlapping fields of development education and education for sustainable development whether they are similarly in process or danger of striking a Faustian bargain. Each field draws significant inspiration from a radical, status quo critical, value system, espousing transformative intentions with respect to the human condition and the human/nature relationship. As such, they can be considered educational expressions of ‘globalization from below’. But, are there signs within each field of a compromising of values and trimming of original intentions and visions happening in the light of the global marketplace? And, if so, is that happening by commission, by oversight borne of sleeping immersion in current orthodoxies, or by studied omission?


Development education across Europe: what is said; what is not being said

Development education in Europe is a broad field embracing overlapping initiatives under various headings: development education and awareness raising (DEAR), global education, global development education, global learning, education for sustainable development, to name but a few. The European Consensus on Developmentstates that ‘Development Education and Awareness Raising contribute to the eradication of poverty and to the promotion of sustainable development through public awareness raising and education approaches and activities that are based on values of human rights, social responsibility, gender equality and a sense of belonging to one world’ (European Consensus on Development: The Contribution of Development Education and Awareness Raising, 2007:5).

Agnes Rajacic and her colleagues' (2010) comprehensive review of the field analyses definitions, interpretations and concepts of development education and awareness raising among key actors and in key policy documents, identifying some common aspirations. First, DEAR aims to offer ‘differentiated knowledge and critical understanding of global interdependence, global and local development and environmental challenges, power relations, and issues of identity/diversity’. Second, it seeks to ‘empower people to participate in public affairs’, by enhancing ‘citizen’s active involvement and engagement for social change’ within their local environment and by promoting ‘active citizenship and co-responsibility at the global level of world society’. Third, DEAR’s vision is underpinned by ‘values of justice, equality, inclusion, human rights, solidarity, and respect for others and for the environment’. Fourth, it aspires to ‘learner-centred, participatory and facilitative, dialogue oriented and experiential’ pedagogies that help learners ‘learn how to learn’. Fifth, it seeks to effect ‘informed citizen engagement and advocacy for more just and sustainable policies, political/economic structures and individual practices’. Sixth, acknowledging the limitations of current Eurocentric perspectives in the field, it suggests integrating Southern perspectives more rigorously (2010: 11-12, bold in original). Overall, the study points to an emerging tendency to move away from uncritical acceptance and promotion of an official development co-operation agenda to more critical engagement with development-related issues.  

Such a transformative reorientation is welcome. However, what is largely missing from current DEAR discourse is explicit attention to issues of economic growth, neo-liberal globalisation and consumerism which, according to many commentators, are deeply and devastatingly culpable for fomenting inequality and social injustice and the destruction of the ecosphere and ethnosphere (Chossudovsky, 1997; Hall, 2002; McGregor, 2003). A keyword search of three recent studies on development education in Europe (CONCORD/DEEEP, 2009; Krause, 2010; Rajacic, et al., 2010) reveals that economic growth is barely mentioned, let alone problematised. Then, while globalisation appears throughout the three studies, usually associated with the concept of ‘interdependence’, it seems to be taken as a given, an essentially unexceptional, non-complicit canvas against which social justice and environmental issues are treated. There is no single mention in the studies of ‘consumerism’, although ‘consumption’ is identified as a development education theme at project level, for instance, in Bulgaria and Lithuania (fair trade, sustainable consumption), Poland (sustainable consumption), Norway (sustainable production and consumption), and the Czech Republic (ethical/responsible consumption).

Some expressions of development education adopt a heavy ‘global skills’ orientation which, in its formulation and overall tenor, would seem to close down learning opportunities for sustained and forensic scrutiny of the complicity of the global marketplace. Global Skills, a manual produced by the Development Education Research Centre at the University of London’s Institute of Education, offers ‘a framework that equips the UK workforce to make sense of the global society, with the appropriate skills to be active participants in the global society and economy of the twenty first century’ (Bourn, 2008:4). In one passage it summarises the generic skills the learner requires:


“It could be argued that generic skills in the context of globalisation refer firstly to areas such as being prepared to communicate well with a range of people, recognising their cultural and social differences.…Secondly, working within a global economy requires skills to respond to rapidly changing needs, being prepared to take on a variety of tasks and being able to adapt and continually recognise the need for developing new skills and knowledge. Thirdly, in the context of working with others, understanding cultural difference and developing skills to work with people in collaborative environments from a range of backgrounds could be crucial” (Bourn, 2008: 24).


The manual’s skills summary takes in three elements:


  • Understanding of what globalisation means, particularly in relation to planned and current employment;
  • Ability to understand and engage with global challenges, such as climate change and poverty, in order to become a more informed and engaged citizen;
  • Development of skills to understand and respond to a range of cultures and values and to be able to reflect critically upon one’s own values base (Bourn, 2008: 24).


Development education, so rendered, looks by and large accepting of the neo-liberal growth and globalisation model and seems primarily concerned with workforce preparation for technocratic competitive efficacy. Key global issues are explored but against a backdrop of imperturbable and incontrovertible economic globalisation. Social cohesion and multiculturalism – what the manual refers to as ‘the recognition of cultural sensitivity in forms that are appropriate and relevant to up-skilling the UK workforce’ (4) - matter but are conceived of as feeding into muscular economic performance. Where are the skills and capacities for resistance and transgression amidst a ‘globe-speak’ reflective of UK national imperatives?

These findings raise some important questions.  First, why does a field with a core commitment to the eradication of global poverty and inequality through education largely shrink from explicitly addressing the relationship between global poverty, social injustice and environmental devastation and what has been described as ‘the powerful wave of neo-liberalism rolling over the planet’ (Jickling & Wals, 2008: 2). Effective treatment of the relationship would seem to be a sine qua non of a thoroughgoing social justice change agenda.

Following from this, does the field sufficiently deal with controversial issues that could be construed as indispensable for fostering ‘informed citizen participation’ and helping the learner ‘learn how to learn’? The 2010 CONCORD/DEEEP study on development education in formal curricula in 29 European countries reveals ‘a reluctance to address particular controversial issues that challenge our global society’, pointing out that the theme of global terrorism never appears in curricula ‘despite its constantly high profile and analysis in national media, and in government policies’. It may be included, the study suggests, under the topic of ‘human security’, as, for instance, in Finnish curricula but is never explicitly referenced (2010: 16). The global growth economy and hyper-consumerism may occupy an analogous position. They may lie submerged under themes such as ‘global poverty,’ ‘global economy/markets and trade,’ and ‘globalization’ while not made explicit. But, why might that be?

Third, how can mal-development be treated unless consumerism is confronted head-on in learning programmes? There is no assurance in the programme descriptions reviewed that consumerism is interrogated. Or that, if it is present but inconspicuous, the treatment moves beyond reformist ‘consumer awareness’ (sustainable, responsible, ethical, green consumerism) to a critical treatment implicating ‘consumption beyond dignified sufficiency’ (McIntosh, 2008: 180) as complicit in global environmental and social breakdown? David Woodward and Andrew Simms point out that ‘Europe’s levels of consumption amount to more than double its own domestic biocapacity, meaning that European lifestyles can only be sustained by depending on the natural resources and environmental services of other nations’ (2006: 3). Why, then, is rampant consumerism given such minimal attention in development education programmes?

Fourth, what are the repercussions of the easy connect being made with the concept of ‘education for sustainable development’? The CONCORD/DEEEP (2009:13-14) study finds that the terminology ‘education for sustainable development’ is widespread amongst educational systems, teachers and the NGO sector in 12 European countries, and that development educators in 19 of the 29 countries surveyed are using ‘sustainable development’ as an operative descriptor in learning programmes. But has the field embraced the concept too readily and uncritically? If so, why might that be?


Education for sustainable development: sotto voce on the neo-liberal agenda


Tomorrow Today (UNESCO, 2010) is a collection of papers published to coincide with the mid-decade report to the UN General Assembly on the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). As such, it provides something of a ‘state of the art’ policy and practitioner overview of a field garnering adherence and support from around the world. The UN agency with coordinating responsibility for DESD, UNESCO, has been identified as a key agency promoting the model of neo-liberal globalisation (Torres, 2009: 15). Perhaps this goes some way to explain the virtual absence of any critical exploration of notions of sustainable development and of the dilemmas and tensions that exist between at one and the same time seeking to sustain a growth economy, ecological systems and social systems.

In an opening contribution to Tomorrow Today, the Director of UNESCO’s Intersectoral Platform on Education for Sustainable Development, Mark Richmond (2010: 19), asserts that ESD ‘provides many of the questions and answers about what education should be about and what it should be for in the 21st century’. That said, it is interesting that across the contributions to the collection there are no questions directly addressing and unpacking the neo-liberal agenda and its culpability for fomenting many of the issues that are ubiquitously touched upon in the collection, such as inequality, poverty, starvation, biodiversity collapse and climate change. There is, then, space for a serious look at presenting symptoms and consequences but little, it seems, for critical examination of root causes. Across the collection, too, the inevitability of increased economic globalisation and the consequences for environmental and social (and social justice based) sustainability are not called into question. While there are references to the importance of ‘sustainable consumption’, there is no direct reference to rampant consumerism in the metaphorical North and amongst elites in the metaphorical South and the part it plays in violating the indentured slave, the sweatshop worker, the once-resilient local community, and ecosystems globally. The global arms trade, a lucrative strand of globalisation (Hall, 2002: 37) is not mentioned. True, there are contributions expounding the positive benefits of green growth (Sangkyoo, 2010:49) and outlining approaches to building a corporate social ethic in the private sector (Fien & Maclean, 2010: 24) but absent from the collection are descriptions of programmes that embrace a root and branch critique of the global marketplace, its institutional manifestations and its impacts, and that offer alternatives.

This same lacuna was observed by a UK spokesperson at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002.   At the Summit there was no critical exploration of sustainable development:


“It was as if engaging in this discussion could potentially ruin the ‘whole idea’ and slow down its world-wide implementation. The focus of this international gathering, instead, seems to have been on how to promote education for sustainable development, and how to set standards, benchmarks, and control mechanisms to confidently assess progress towards its realization. Rather than discussing and exposing underlying ideologies, values and worldviews, the general consensus at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, and the many meetings that were organized in its slipstream, seemed to be that educators have passed the reflective stage, and that they must roll up their sleeves and start implementing! However, it can also be argued that at best they are implementing a chimera – a fanciful illusion – or worse. It could also be argued that many educators have become agents in the trend towards economic globalization” (Jickling & Wals, 2008:6, italics in original).


How resonant is this with the neo-liberal educational agenda of standards, benchmarks, testing and accountability!

The Bonn Declaration emerging from the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development, March/April 2009, was in similar vein with two thirds of its text given over to a ‘call for action’ listing of concrete initiatives that policy makers and practitioners should undertake. In its (short) preamble, there is reference to the global economic system. ‘The global financial and economic crises,’ the text goes (UNESCO, 2009: 1), ‘highlights the risks of unsustainable economic development models and practices based on short-term gains.’ This is subsequently followed by the assertion that ESD ‘is critical for the development of new economic thinking’ (2009: 2) but the reader is left wondering in what direction that thinking might tend to go. For John Huckle, UNESCO-driven ESD is tantamount to ‘business as usual’ and supportive of the global treadmill of neo-liberalism. Huckle asserts that the Bonn Declaration, ‘ignores economic and political realities,’ ‘locates the challenges facing humanity in values, rather than the political economy of sustainable societies,’ ‘fails to specify what values, knowledge, skills and competencies might encourage sustainable living, participation in society, and decent work,’ and ‘fails to suggest ways in which current economic thinking should change’. We need, he adds, ‘to locate the barriers to sustainability in the structures and processes of global capitalism and recognise the limitations of dominant models of sustainable development and current proposals for new green deals’ (2010: 135-136). 

There is a fundamental problematic in education for sustainable development arising out of the continued reticence of its agencies and proponents to come clean about whether, for them, development connotes growth. The World Commission on Environment and Development report, Our Common Future, gave us the definition of sustainable development that has been rehearsed mantra-like in the past twenty years or so: ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs’ (WCED, 1987: 43). The report proceeds to treat economic growth and sustainable development as largely consistent concepts, a view compounded at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Gutiérrez Perez & Pozo Llorente, 2005: 298) yet fails, as do most still reciting the ‘Bruntland’ formula, to reconcile the problems associated with a paradigm that conceives of a future that is ‘axiomatically sustainable and able to grow’ while being ‘supported indefinitely by a finite Earth’ (Lloyd, 2009: 516). ‘It will be highly improbable to reconcile the objectives of poverty reduction and environmental sustainability if global growth remains the principal economic strategy,’ write Woodward & Simms (2006). ‘The scale of growth this model demands would generate unsupportable environmental costs; and the costs would fall disproportionately, and counter productively, on the poorest – the very people the growth is meant to benefit.’

A related problematic concerns the melding of globalisation and sustainable development, a union that many sustainability educators appear to see as wholly unexceptional or advocate as desirable (see, for instance, Bourn, 2009). According to Jackson (2003: 325), globalisation is more or less taken without question as ‘a viable agenda for a sustainable and just future for all people’. For Jickling and Wals (2008: 5), education for sustainable development is a policy-driven phenomenon, both a subset of and propelled forward by the globalisation imperative. ‘We view education for sustainable development,’ they write, ‘as a product and carrier of globalizing forces’ (2008: 18). As such it becomes allied with allopoetic (neocolonial, externally driven and/or imposed) forms of development rather than autopoetic (locally framed, self-generating and self-regulating) alternatives (Shiva, 2008: 14).

The field so far offers little by way of antidote to the growth machine by opening learning windows for consideration of ideas for transition to slow growth, no growth and steady state economies (Daly, 1996; Victor, 2008) or for concretizing those ideas through learning-in-community experimentation and practice.

Critical theory prompts us to apply some important insights when we find no-go areas and blind spots, such as the insights proffered by Delyse Springett:


“What is power? Who holds power? How is it used in the sustainability debate? The concept of ‘false consciousness’: the ways in which we may consent to domination and hegemony and accept taken-for-granted ideologies without realizing we are doing so. The exploration of ‘silences’ or ‘gaps’ in the discourse; what is not ‘up for discussion’ may be even more important than what is” (Springett, 2010: 80-81).


Sidestepping a Faustian bargain


We have reviewed the fields of development education and education for sustainable development. With the first, we are left wondering why neo-liberal growth and globalisation are kept in the shadows when so clearly complicit in deepening poverty and injustice and harming the environment. With the second, we are left pondering on the reluctance to confront growth fetishism in the name of sustainable development and why the field is so seemingly comfortable with the globalisation of a marketplace that so threatens sustainability prospects. With both fields, we ask ourselves why the exploration of alternatives to the growth model fails to receive the curricular exposure the global condition would seem to merit.

Are there traces of a Faustian bargain here? Is the need to achieve purchase within educational systems increasingly wedded to the purposes of the global marketplace encouraging circumspection in identifying with status quo critical agendas? Is there an element of self-censorship amongst academic and non-governmental providers of development and sustainability learning programmes and resources as they gauge what development arms of government offering funding support and funding foundations are likely to countenance? Are alignment with prevailing orthodoxies and avoidance of the potentially risqué becoming consciously adopted strategies in relating to government and the formal sector? We have no answers to any of these questions, only hunches, and can only speculate, just as we encourage colleagues from within their respective contexts, roles and responsibilities to speculate and reflect.

With powerful forces wedded to the global marketplace, how might those committed to pursuing a transformative agenda sidestep the dangers of falling into a Faustian bargain? We close with some suggestions:


Catalyse the ‘shadow spaces’

Institutions have their formal dimensions and structures but also their ‘shadow spaces’, ‘the relational spaces within organisations that cut across the formal organisational structures for learning and adaptation, and which relate to individual and social learning’. These spaces ‘allow individuals or sub-groups within organisations to experiment, imitate, communicate, learn and reflect on their actions in ways that can surpass formal processes within policy and organisational settings’ (Pelling, et al., 2008:868). Effectively nurtured, the dynamism of the shadow space can inform the formal dimension. Transformative educators, we suggest, might do well to think more creatively and laterally about strategies for creative use of shadow spaces and for inducing spillover into the formal. These can be built into project design.


Ask questions of and speak truth to power

From the platform, in the workshop, over an informal cup of tea or anywhere else, we can ask questions of power, just as Delyse Springett, cited above, does. Or, as Vanessa Andreotti (2006: 44) does: ‘Who is this global citizen? What should be the basis of this project? Whose interests are represented here? Is this an elitist project? Are we empowering the dominant group to remain in power? Are we doing enough to examine the local/global dimensions of our assumptions?’ We can tease out and expose incongruities in mainstream thinking (for instance, between embracing, on the one hand, growth-oriented sustainable development and committing to tackling global inequality, on the other). We can follow Woodard & Simms (2006: 5) in asking the king-is-in-the-altogether question of ‘why is [economic growth] the single over-riding goal of every government, of every economy, the world over?’


Capitalise on Trojan horses within the walls of mainstream thinking

Notions such as ‘balance’, presenting diverse perspectives and critical thinking are articles of faith within formal learning systems. The problem has been that the arms of the balancing scales have not extended far enough either side of the fulcrum, the diversity of perspective has been excessively constricted, and the critical thinking not very wide or deep. But in the name of these articles of faith, the transformative educator can legitimately fold into learning resources and processes critical examination of the growth machine and its impact, and of alternatives to growth. In an age of deepening uncertainty, we can argue for a pedagogy of uncertainty that unlocks and fully engages with peripheralised perspectives in the name of securing some future.


Do not see social entities as monolithic

We should regularly remind ourselves that no arm of government offering development education funding, no funding foundation, no educational system and no learning institution is made up of people uniformly wedded to one worldview. Diversity, difference and dissonance are everywhere! A critical stance towards the growth-oriented global marketplace can resonate in the most unexpected of quarters! Seeking to effect transformative change involves at one level developing and building outwards from a network of the sympathetic within and across institutions and systems. But we should note, too, that across the plethora of funding sources for development education and education for sustainable development, there are grant givers who signal their interest in supporting risk-taking, ‘out of the box’ thinking and radical interrogation of blind spots and assumptions leading to policy innovation. Drawing from a diversity of funding sources is always preferable to relying on a funding source monoculture but especially so for those pursuing (risking) a transformative status quo critical educational agenda.


Return to first principles

In our discussion of education for sustainable development, we have described a concrete experience of collective flight from first principles and root meanings at the World Summit of 2002. For those of us wishing to escape any Faustian bargain, a leitmotiv of our work has to be a return to first principles. Discussion of first principles and meanings is also a vital element in engaging with teachers, community leaders and members, and others with whom we work. Why are we committed to this? What values matter most to us, and why? What values, competencies and dispositions do we think will best realise the future, personal through global, that we are working for? Is anything we are doing or saying - or anything we are not doing or saying – tantamount to trimming on our worldview for short-term influence? If so, what are the attendant dangers and likely consequences? What should we do so as to better achieve a congruent way forward?




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David Selby is Founding Director and Fumiyo Kagawa is Research Director of Sustainability Frontiers, a not-for-profit international organisation based in the United Kingdom and Canada. They recently co-edited Education and Climate Change: Living and Learning in Interesting Times (New York: Routledge) and their new book, to be published this year, is Sustainability Frontiers: Critical and Transformative Voices from the Borderlands of Sustainability Education. In 2010, David was also co-editor of Sustainability Education: Perspectives and Practices Across Higher Education (Earthscan). David is also adjunct professor in the Faculty of Education, Mount St Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. David and Fumiyo were previously Director and Research Coordinator of the Centre for Sustainable Futures, University of Plymouth, United Kingdom. They co-authored the recent evaluation of phase 2 of the Centre for Global Education’s ‘Building Capacity in Development Education Project’ (http://www.centreforglobaleducation.com/node/62). For more information on Sustainability Frontiers, visit http://www.sustainabilityfrontiers.org/.

Selby, D and Kagawa, F (2011) 'Development education and education for sustainable development: Are they striking a Faustian bargain?', Policy and Practice: A Development Education Review, Vol. 12, Spring, pp. 15-31.