Review of two sustainability learning programmes for industrial settings in relation to emerging green learning aspects

by Martha Jacoba Visagie

Institution: Rhodes University
Department: Faculty of Education, Education
Degree: M. Ed.
Year: 2015
Keywords: Environmental education; Sustainable development  – Study and teaching (Continuing education); Natural resources  – Management  – Study and teaching (Continuing education); Environmental economics  – Study and teaching (Continuing education); Green movement
Record ID: 1473960
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10962/d1017360


Driven by the needs of growing populations, industrial and governing powers are successfully accelerating the rate of industrial consumption, production and employment as if the earth’s resources are in unlimited supply. In contrast, a range of international sustainable development forums, inspired by visionary individuals, have made significant progress in creating awareness that the footprint of human activity is exceeding the earth’s sink and source capacity; and educating people in government, workplaces and communities to slow down industrial consumption and clean up production. Turning around conventional and short sighted ‘business as usual’ logic, and directing economies toward greener, long-term sustainability outcomes, still meet with resistance and hidden unsustainable agendas. The ‘green economy’ drive nevertheless since 2008 attracts financial and human resources and bold action in favour of more sustainable management of human-nature relations. The sustainable development movement for example advocates a ‘triple bottom line’ approach, holding that socially and ecologically responsible economic development would be sustainable. The sustainability movement has attained significant buy-in among governments and business communities. It forms the under-labouring philosophy of the programmes reviewed in this case study. The thesis reviews social-economic events paving the way for a global green economy. Taking a leadership role in the sustainable development movement the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred to respond to the 2008 world-wide economic meltdown with a two-pronged ‘Green New Deal’ (UNEP, 2008). The Green New Deal financial package helps restore multi-national economic growth, employment and markets while re-shaping economies to follow an ecologically and socially responsible growth trajectory. South Africa implements green economy principles as part of the 2010 The New Growth Path overarching policy framework, with an implementation strategy embedded in the 2011 National Development Plan (NDP) (RSA. The Presidency, 2010; 2011). The New Growth Path emphasises that the transformation of South Africa’s un-sustainable economic and educational legacy to a more sustainable future is not expected to follow a smooth, linear process. The transition to a green economy is rather expected to be an event of “… noisy, healthy democracy” (RSA. The Presidency, 2010). A green, low carbon economy particularly constitutes a pledge to slow down and turn the human induced climate change trajectory around. McKinsey (2009) argues that this pledge is attainable on a world-wide scale, as sufficient and suitable environmentally sound techniques and technologies are already in place. Attaining buy-in from business stakeholders toward re-thinking and amending an economy’s self-defying large environmental footprint (inclusive of carbon, water and waste footprints) however requires education starting with awarenessraising followed by educational programmes and…