BSc Education / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Environment Sustainability Education

Course unit fact file
Unit code EDUC34402
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The course unit will explore the term ‘sustainability’ in relation to the other terms sometimes used and examine the perspectives and practices of sustainability education across local, national, and global contexts. It will consider the following content areas:

  • Systems thinking
  • Sustainable futures
  • Sustainability gateways (Energy, Buildings, Consumption, Wastes, Transportation, Inclusion, Local wellbeing, and Global dimension)
  • Sustainable development goals
  • Formal and informal sustainability education
  • Pedagogical approaches to sustainability
  • Sustainability literacy
  • Diversity and inclusion in sustainability education


This course unit aims to:

  • introduce students to the concept of sustainability.
  • develop their knowledge and understanding of educating for and about sustainability.
  • explore key aspects of sustainability education across diverse contexts, with focus on critical and participatory approaches.
  • advance understanding of sustainability and the diverse approaches to educating for sustainability, towards developing effective and equitable processes and outcomes for sustainability.

Teaching and learning methods

An interactive seminar approach accompanied by online learning activities will be used throughout.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Outline the reasons for a need for a change to a sustainable way of living, individually and collectively.
  • Explain multiple perspectives of sustainability across diverse cultural contexts.
  • Evaluate problems within contexts of larger ecosystems comprising human, political, economic, ecological, cultural, and social systems.
  • Explain climate change and its mitigation and adaptation strategies.
  • Appraise the ways in which social beliefs and values influence sustainability and educating about it.
  • Evaluate the sustainable development goals and their implications for a sustainable future.

Intellectual skills

  • Recommend systems thinking to describe the multidimensional sectors of sustainability.
  • Criticise sustainability policies and practices towards identifying transformation opportunities.
  • Appraise sustainability education content and practices in the context of equity and diversity.

Practical skills

  • Evaluate sustainability issues, their relation to a variety of vocational and professional contexts and the implications for future study and career options.
  • Compare divergent perspectives on sustainability and defend views that support equity and diversity.
  • Assess inequalities due to unsustainable practices.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Defend the importance of engaging with diverse communities and cultures.
  • Develop sustainability literacy skills by reviewing literature evidence.
  • Recommend digital communication tools for sustainability education.
  • Support decisions and actions that favour sustainability

Assessment methods

Part 1: Presentation (Groups of 3)
12-minute in-class PowerPoint (or similar) presentation on a specific pedagogical approach to environmental sustainability education, with emphasis on its description, strengths, and weaknesses

Part 2: Essay (Individual)
Using existing literature available on digital platforms (such as scopus), review some pedagogical approaches to environmental sustainability education and describe how you would implement a recommended approach in a specific learning context.

Feedback methods

Online via Turnitin

Recommended reading

Carson, R. (1962). Silent spring. Greenwich, CT: Fawcett publications.

Douglas, B. D., & Brauer, M. (2021). Gamification to prevent climate change: A review of games and apps for sustainability. Current Opinion in Psychology, 42, 89-94.

Gifford, R. (2011). The dragons of inaction: Psychological barriers that limit climate change mitigation and adaptation. American Psychologist, 66(4), 290–302. doi:10.1037/a0023566

Glasson, G. E., Mhango, N., Phiri, A., & Lanier, M. (2010). Sustainability science education in Africa: Negotiating indigenous ways of living with nature in the third space. International Journal of Science Education, 32(1), 125-141.

Goodall, C. (2007). How to Live a Low-carbon Life. London: Earthscan. ISBN 978-1-84407-426-6

Leal Filho, W., Amaro, N., Avila, L. V., Brandli, L., Damke, L. I., Vasconcelos, C. R., ... & Salvia, A. (2021). Mapping sustainability initiatives in higher education institutions in Latin America. Journal of Cleaner Production, 315, 128093.

Lozano, R., Merrill, M. Y., Sammalisto, K., Ceulemans, K., & Lozano, F. J. (2017). Connecting competences and pedagogical approaches for sustainable development in higher education: A literature review and framework proposal. Sustainability, 9(10), 1889.

Mbah, M., Ajaps, S., & Molthan-Hill, P. (2021). A Systematic Review of the Deployment of Indigenous Knowledge Systems towards Climate Change Adaptation in Developing World Contexts: Implications for Climate Change Education. Sustainability, 13(9), 4811.

Merrill, M. Y., Burkhardt-Holm, P., Chang, C. H., Islam, M. S., & Chang, Y. (Eds.). (2017). Education and Sustainability: Paradigms, Policies and Practices in Asia. Routledge.

Orr, D. W. (2004). Earth in mind: On education, environment, and the human prospect. Island Press.
Ro, M., Brauer, M., Kuntz, K., Shukla, R., & Bensch, I. (2017). Making Cool Choices for sustainability: Testing the effectiveness of a game-based approach to promoting pro-environmental behaviors. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 53, 20-30.

Salas‐Zapata, W. A., & Ortiz‐Muñoz, S. M. (2019). Analysis of meanings of the concept of sustainability. Sustainable Development, 27(1), 153-161.

Stibbe, A. (2009). The Handbook of Sustainability Literacy: Skills for a Changing World. Dartington, UK: Green Books.

Tilbury, D., & Stevenson, R. B. (Eds.). (2002). Education and sustainability: Responding to the global challenge. IUCN.



Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 24
Independent study hours
Independent study 176

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Sandra Ajaps Unit coordinator

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