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Adoption of sustainable development schemes and behaviours in Italy: Barriers and solutions ‐ what can educators do?

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to investigate issues and concerns associated with sustainable development (SD) in Italy for different stakeholders, with a focus on the role of education. Cognitive maps for 49 individuals living in Italy have been developed and their differences analyzed and discussed with the aim of designing a seminar to foster mental and natural ecology and create awareness for SD ethics and values. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Cognitive maps are used to delve into the concept of SD in Italy and to investigate what actions are needed to implement it. Respondents were asked separately to talk about their idea of SD. Findings ‐ The 49 interviews showed that all the actors consider fundamental the role of education, culture and way of thinking for the implementation of SD. An appropriate seminar has been designed as an educational process that completes the formal knowledge provided at school. Practical implications ‐ Actions for future actions are indicated, i.e. to undertake the designed seminar in a local community in Italy as a pilot study and to promote it to administrations, companies, and groups. Originality/value ‐ The majority of the interviews express an explicit sense of resignation and cynicism as regards SD in action, but 41 out of 49 when showed the designed seminar declared the intention to attend it. This paper fulfils the need to have practical tools to reframe the way we think about the world and SD and act for it. Also, it gives a look at the concerns associated to SD and barriers to action in Italy.

Keywords: Behaviour; Cognitive mapping; Education; Ethics; Italy; Sustainable development

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-04-17

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