Why is sustainability so important?
In nature, each ecosystem has a carrying capacity. This is the maximum number of individuals that the area can sustain. The population will fluctuate around this carrying capacity and, when numbers become too high, the population is naturally reduced. This is not the case for humans. We live in a world where humans are the dominant species; we evolved such that we have been able to increase our population to a point that is not sustainable, one which is effectively beyond that natural carrying capacity.
The resources we rely upon for our own existence are ultimately finite. It is therefore important humans seek to live sustainably, not only for us, but for the species we share this planet with and for future generations. Living unsustainably not only threatens the lives of the animals and plants around us, but also the lives of our own species.
What does DfE say?
In April 2022, the then Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi announced the Department of Education’s Sustainability and Climate Change: A Strategy for the Education and Children’s Services Systems. He announced the education sector’s ambition to become a world leader in climate education.
The UK government acknowledged that children and young people are concerned about climate change and the impact that it is having, and they recognised that DfE has a role to play in preparing children for the challenges that this will present. In the policy paper they recognise that:
‘The challenge of climate change is formidable. For children and young people to meet it with determination and not with despair, we must offer them not just truth, but also hope. Learners need to know the truth about climate change – through knowledge rich education. They must be given the hope that they can be agents of change, through hands-on activity and, as they progress, through guidance and programmes allowing them to pursue a green career pathway in their chosen field.’
Salisbury Manor's Sustainability Curriculum
- Is sequenced coherently, so that pupils are explicitly taught key vocabulary and concepts in science and geography, before they are expected to apply them elsewhere. Definitions and placeholder definitions are taught and then revisited methodically.
- Requires no additional teaching time. We are building and developing concepts within existing units and lessons.
- Is relevant for pupils. There are opportunities for pupils to consider local challenges and initiatives to reflect local species and schools’ own outdoor areas. When global challenges are considered, the curriculum allows pupils to consider how they can help in their local area or how they may be impacted.
- Provides an objective but hopeful account; it needs to be factual and realistic about the challenges faced, but should also provide hope in celebrating achievements so far and actions that can be taken.
- Will be updated annually to keep up to date with emerging technologies or scientific evidence. We therefore recommend that this document is revisited at the start of each academic year.