Sustainability in Education : New eyes to see

Paul O’Donnell

Sustainable development is considered a way for humans to meet their needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. It is a theme that is urgent for us all to consider, as the United Nations (UN) recently stated that the coming years will be a vital period to save the planet earth.

The concept of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) was introduced to integrate sustainable principles, values and practices into all aspects of education and learning to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Education Goals (SDGs). ESD is defined as the educational process of achieving human development, including three pillars – economic growth, social development and environmental protection.

In this discussion, Paul will aim to outline strategies that school communities can take to practically embed ESD, especially in relation to raising awareness in children, by connecting them with their local outdoor environment as a starting point.

Paul O’Donnell is principal of St. Patrick’s N.S., Slane, Co. Meath and is currently seconded to the CPSMA management body as an Education Advisor. He is also a current member of the NCCA Board for Primary and Early Childhood Education. Paul has facilitated many courses nationwide on bringing teaching and learning outdoors and currently lectures in Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood on this area. In addition, Paul is the author of Wild Teaching Cross-curricular Lessons Outdoors for Agoraphobic Teachers, published by Meath Co. Council and The Heritage Council. It has recently been reprinted due to popular demand. He wants to be a farmer when he grows up.