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Education after sustainability

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There is nothing at all new about societies collapsing as a result of environmental crises caused by poor choices made under uncertainty. Indeed, such instances have been very well documented by, in particular, Jared Diamond; and some have been further explored from an educational perspective. However, and as Diamond himself points out, it can very well be argued that, because of the globalised nature of contemporary societies, a situation now arises in which it is the human species as a whole, rather than any particular and relatively isolated community, that faces possible collapse. It would seem, therefore, that the scale of the problem has increased; but we still might ask whether its underlying nature has changed all that much and, if not, whether in fact human societies have ever or even, ultimately, could ever be sustainable. The environmental extinction of societies has usually occurred when long, slow and powerful trends in nature have coincided with inappropriate social preoccupations that either ignore or are ignorant of them. The paper identifies education as a common denominator; itself both a long-term characteristic of evolved social behaviour and a short-term social preoccupation.
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Keywords: Education; evolution; institutions; nature; sustainability

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 2017

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  • Global Discourse is an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented journal of applied contemporary thought operating at the intersection of politics, international relations, sociology and social policy. The Journal's scope is broad, encouraging interrogation of current affairs with regard to core questions of distributive justice, wellbeing, cultural diversity, autonomy, sovereignty, security and recognition. All issues are themed and aimed at addressing pressing issues as they emerge. Rejecting the notion that publication is the final stage in the research process, Global Discourse seeks to foster discussion and debate between often artificially isolated disciplines and paradigms, with responses to articles encouraged and conversations continued across issues.

    The Journal features a mix of full-length articles, each accompanied by one or more replies, policy papers commissioned by organizations and institutions and book review symposia, typically consisting of three reviews and a reply by the author(s). With an international advisory editorial board consisting of experienced, highly-cited academics, Global Discourse publishes themed issues on topics as they emerge. Authors are encouraged to explore the international dimensions and implications of their work.

    All research articles in this journal have undergone rigorous peer review, based on initial editor screening and double-blind peer review. All submissions must be in response to a specific call for papers.

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