Educators Share Best Practices on Education for Sustainable Development 

On 23rd and 28th May, 2024, Earth Charter International organized two webinars, the first one in Spanish and the second one in English, which brought together educators of diverse backgrounds to discuss the best practices for integrating sustainability into the classroom. These events were moderated by Alicia Jimenez (Costa Rica), the Director of Programmes at Earth Charter International Secretariat.  

You can view the recordings here: 



All speakers shared the context of where they work, and then addressed these questions: 

  • Why did you decide to incorporate sustainability into your teaching?  How has been your journey and what is your focus in the present moment? 
  • In many policy documents, especially coming from UNESCO, teachers training on sustainability is considered an urgent need.  You participated in the Online Certificate on ESD organized by Earth Charter International.  How important was that programme for you as an educator? What insights, knowledge and skills did you get from this programme. How valuable is the Earth Charter for your work? 
  • Whole institution approach for sustainability is a desirable approach for ESD, what would you recommend schools or universities to do to put this more holistic approach of sustainability into practice?   

Some key messages of the speakers are: 

Webinar in Spanish: 

  • Minuette Rodríguez (Puerto Rico, Environmental Science Teacher High School level, at Julián E. Blanco Ballet School). Their School is special as it focuses on ballet, therefore, students are mainly interested in becoming good dancers, making it challenging to get them interested in other areas. Therefore, she had to be creative to call students attention to environmental aspects, and she did, starting with a Monarch butterflies farm.  In this project, students experienced caring for nature, and this led to other connected activities and projects to show the interdependencies between humans and their surroundings. The Earth Charter was very useful for Minnuette, as it allowed her to deepen a holistic perspective on sustainability in her teaching and projects.  Students have incorporated sustainability themes in some of their performances. For several years, it was only Minnuette using the Earth Charter to infuse sustainability in her classes.  But now, as her school decided to apply the Earth Charter School Seal, more teachers and the Principal got interested in sustainability aspects and were able to see that it is possible to incorporate in different subjects. 
  • Banacheck García, (Costa Rica, Principal of La Joya School). He offered motivational words to say that anything is possible if we put the focus and effort.  La Joya School is a public rural school, for many years there was only one teacher for all grades.  Students of different ages and levels would be in the same classroom, making it challenging for the teacher to organize the class.  Majority of students were not able to make it to high school, because of lack of different skills.  He decided to change that, to offer quality education and he used nature and notions of sustainability to achieve this.  Also, he found partners to increase the school budget and be able to have more teachers. He participated in the Online Certificate on ESD and he said that this “blew his mind”, he better understood what he was doing and improved his approach to infuse sustainability in the teaching and operations of the school.   
  • David Eduardo Velázquez. (Mexico, Professor and Researcher at the Faculty of Dentistry, Autonomous University of the State of Mexico). He came into contact with environmental concerns because his Faculty was producing a lot of pollution, with all the chemicals that their labs were pouring to the environment.  Therefore, around 20 years ago, he has been working in reducing and eliminating pollution coming from the practice of dentistry.  The Earth Charter has been a very useful tool to approach sustainability in this Faculty, as they have understood that sustainability is more than not polluting, but it means a change in mindset, where the interconnections with all dimensions of reality are important. This expanded awareness has led them to put in practice many other projects, such as a medicinal plants garden, where they are researching on plants to heal dental problems. The support from the authorities over the years, endorsing the Earth Charter, has been instrumental to continue their work. 

Webinar in English: 

  • Emma Morris, (United Kingdom, Germany, currently working as the Action, CAS and Service Learning Coordinator at Bavarian International School).  Her school has a lot of experience carrying out environmental and hands on projects, many of them student/driven. They are a green school, and they excelled in all environmental areas related to this recognition.  Nonetheless, she has found the importance of incorporating the ethical perspective of sustainability, that is, the “why” being sustainable, and the Earth Charter has been a tool to do this. She is now sharing the Earth Charter with the whole school, using the Earth Charter School Seal as a means to broaden this ethical perspective of sustainability with a whole school approach.   
  • Maria Garcia-Alvarez (Spain) works as Senior lecturer of the Global Project and Change Management BBA program at the Windesheim University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands). In this University, they got rid of subjects, and are moving away from discipline based education.  They focus on professional and personal skills, working with the UN Agendas on global governance and sustainability with a pedagogical design. In her course on Geopolitics & Globalization and Global Challenges, she uses the Earth Charter to teach on values approach to sustainable development. For her, the Earth Charter the “why” of sustainability.  The SDGs the “what” and the Inner Development Goals the “how”.   Innovation is an important aspect for this university, which can be experienced from the way study plans are designed, and in the type of projects the students implement. 
  • Silvia Ferrero (United Kingdom, Italy, Managing Director at the Silvia Latham Consultancy, coaching and mentoring in the field of eco-development). Silvia emphasized the importance of teacher training and her experience with the Online Certificate on ESD, where she affirmed to have had a transformative experience in her worldview. She highlighted how interesting for her was to take this Programme with people from different cultures, and learn how different cultures experience and put in practice sustainability. She’s currently advising a school to apply the Earth Charter School Seal. 

A total of 120 participants attended these webinars (50 in Spanish and 70 in English). Representing Costa Rica, the United States, Norway, Kenya, the Philippines, Mexico, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Spain and more.  

This webinar was organized by the UNESCO Chair on Education for Sustainable Development with the Earth Charter and the UNITWIN Network on Education for Sustainable Development and Social Transformation.