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The World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg made it clear that political leadership the world over is incapable of rising to the challenges of sustainability. Yet, most of the hundred or so world leaders who attended have a higher education degree from some of the world's most prestigious universities. This paper tries to address some of the key challenges this poses for universities. It looks at the changing professional landscape within the EU, parameters of a higher education (HE) that would produce Earth-literate leaders, at the concept of a sustainable university and ecological footprinting as a tool to measure this, and at the implications all this has for the HE and geography curriculum.