Education, the Earth Charter and Gandhi’s Philosophy
Kartikeya Sarabhai is the founder and director of the Centre for Environment Education in India, a national institution engaged in promoting environmental awareness and conservation, and education for sustainable development. Mr. Sarabhai has also set up VIKSAT, an NGO working towards people’s participation in natural resource management, as well as Sundervan, a nature discovery centre. Mr. Sarabhai has served in the Government of India, and he has long been associated with IUCN. Mr. Sarabhai was instrumental in initiating SASEANEE, the South and Southeast Asian Network for Environment Education.
The challenges of development in India have led Kartikeya Sarabhai to consider the role of education, especially in the aspect of how better to communicate environment issues. He attaches great importance to the invisible word “for” in the acronym “ESD,” and distinguishes “ESD” (Education for Sustainable Development) from “SDE” (Sustainable Development Education). When comparing Education for Sustainable Development with conventional education, Mr. Sarabhai highlights three features of the former: integration, critical thinking, and observation. In the same vein, the Earth Charter presents a holistic view, evokes consciousness, and calls for ethical thinking in addition to critical thinking. From an alternative perspective, the Earth Charter echoes Gandhian thinking as they both question human lifestyles and how societies are organised and managed. He comments on the linkages between Gandhi’s philosophy and the Earth Charter, drawing from the publication he was involved in putting together: Earth Charter & Gandhi – Towards a Sustainable World (2010).
Questions and Topics Addressed in this Podcast
1. What is Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)? Why is it important? How can it take place in practice?
2. What is the difference between conventional education and ESD?
3. How will education look like in the future?
4. What is the relevance of the Earth Charter to current times? What is its value as an educational instrument?
5. What is the linkage between the Earth Charter and the Sustainable Development Goals?
6. Comments on key ideas in the Earth Charter, especially on Pillar IV of Democracy, Nonviolence and Peace.
7. Reflections on the synergy between Gandhi’s philosophy and the Earth Charter.
8. What are the biggest challenges humanity faces today? What could be the solutions?
Listen to this Episode