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Friday, July 15, 2011

Sustainability in Higher Education


Distinguished professor Dahe Jiang, Ph.D. from Tongji University in Shanghai, China visited Central Mindanao University last July 13, 2011. Dr. Jiang was here on a UNEP and UNESCO project to implement the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Higher Education. This is a move to incorporate and fuse the concept of sustainable development in the higher education curriculum. Other academic institutions to be visited by Dr. Jiang will be UP Diliman and the Mapua Institute of Technology.

Dr. Jiang talked about the Education for Sustainable Development framework of the UN and how institutions in the country and in Asia can take part in the process of advocating the young minds about the concept of sustainable development.

In my own view, I think it is a great step in trying to advance the concept of sustainability into the limelight. However, may I add that it will also depend on how we will market sustainability in the classrooms. I hope that we can transcend from advocating environmentalism and sustainability as a cause-oriented endeavor to a profit-oriented one.

We just cannot market environmentalism these days like what we have done with “nationalism” and/or “patriotism”. It just won’t work in these times of practicality and pragmatism. Though we all know any type of unsustainable activity won’t be as practical in the long run as it seems.

However, when we start marketing sustainability as a product, we may start to slowly reap the fruits of sustainability in due time. Once people begin to realize that living sustainably can bring more savings and profit through the efficiency it provides (more work with less energy, materials, and waste), then they would start buying the concept like a product).

Businesses and institutions would then follow suit. This could start with policies and activities that adhere to the standards of sustainability and in so doing leads to savings and profit for such business. Hopefully, government will eventually follow.

How about you, do you think environmentalism and sustainability is still a cause-oriented concept or has it transformed into a profitable one?

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