The Communications guideBLOG for the BC Sustainability Education Movement was developed to address the communication challenges and barriers experienced by individuals and organizations within the movement.
This guidebook is the result of research conducted before, during and after the “How Sustainability Education? A Solutions Summit” event, which took place in Vancouver, British Columbia on April 27, 2009. The results of the Summit can be found on the WalkingtheTalk website
“At the 2007 event titled “Why Sustainability Education”, participants from post-secondary, K-12 and other public sector organizations developed the 10 Principles of Sustainability Education. These principles provided a guide for educators and learners on what sustainability education should look like in practice. In 2009, the BC Working Group and Network on Sustainability Education posed a new question to participants at their follow up event titled “How Sustainability Education? A Solutions Summit”. This question asked, “How can we build a cohesive movement for sustainability education in BC?” The answers to this question are reflected in 8 action themes, which serve as a roadmap to education as sustainability:
1. Radically redesign the education system so that the 10 Principles of Sustainability Education are integrated into the foundation of the education system in BC.
2. Involve everyone in every sector, at each institution, in all parts of the province.
3. Communicate and Connect with each other, with sustainability education opponents and with the general public to keep a transformative discourse alive and collectively write a new story about education and its place in our society.
4. Collaborate and Share with each other. Working together rather than reinventing the wheel. Developing and sharing best practices together, coordinating projects and resources and keeping each other updated on successes.
5. Cultivate Leaders/Change Agents to increase the number of confident, capable and engaged individuals within the movement.
6. Develop common planning & measurement processes and tools to reduce work and allow for cross sector organization and project comparisons
7. Develop new funding and resource strategies to sustain the movement and ensure the legitimacy of sustainability education within the system
8. Collectively advocate for policies that support top down AND bottom up change within the education system
These action themes were developed out of the major recurring dialogue threads emerging from the April 27th Summit. The themes emerged through a daylong dialogue involving students, staff, faculty, teachers, administrators, operational managers, business leaders and non-profit staff. The action themes reflect the collective effort to brainstorm and problem solve the way to how.
“The “8 Action Themes for How: A Roadmap to Education as Sustainability” was developed by coding the entire collection of notes from the dialogue (over 100 pages of text). This includes the individual table notes from each round and the whole group notes from the Vancouver session, notes from each of the regional dialogues and the pre & post survey completed by participants. Coding is a qualitative method that develops categories (which are then grouped into themes) out of texts of conversations, interviews, survey responses, meeting notes, dialogue sessions and other human interactions. The themes resulting from the coding, reflect a common thread within the discourse of the Summit participants before, during and after the Summit” (How Sustainability Education Report p.12).
This guidebook will focus on action theme number three which has a communications focus.
“3. Communicate and Connect with each other, with sustainability education opponents and with the general public to keep a transformative discourse alive and collectively write a new story about education and its place in our society”.
The purpose of this guideBLOG is to address the challenges and barriers identified in this action focus by providing a resource for sustainability education advocates and change agents so that they can become more effective communicators and the movement as a whole can utilize communication theory, strategies and tools to advance sustainability education in British Columbia.