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Fostering sustainable communities and resilient cities whilst supporting ‘life on land’ through a Colombian school’s initiative

Figueroa Velez, Juana and Vargas, Valeria and Hoyos, Lina Maria and Prowse, Alicia (2017) Fostering sustainable communities and resilient cities whilst supporting ‘life on land’ through a Colombian school’s initiative. In: Handbook of Sustainability Science and Research. Springer, Cham. ISBN 978-3-319-63006-9

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Abstract

‘Quality education’ features in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in the United Nations declaration ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ (i.e. SDG 4). Furthermore, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) can be interpreted as a thread that supports the potential achievement of all the other SDGs. For instance, schools based in cities could help making these more ‘inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’ (i.e. SDG 11) whilst supporting ‘life on land’ (i.e. SDG 15) on the school grounds. This paper presents an environmental project, which aims to foster the integration of ESD in the curriculum through a tangible conservation and restoration initiative of some of the 70 ha of natural reserve in the Eastern hills of the city of Bogotá, Colombia. First, the paper describes the project and its links to urban ecosystems in the context of city resilience. Second, it analyses empirical data from the project evaluation, which evidences the development of pupils’ competencies and impacts beyond school activity. Finally, it presents the challenges faced by educators when adjusting curricula for ESD, followed by some recommendations for the future of the project. The purposes of the paper are: to provide insights to improve the project, to evidence the valuable pedagogic outcomes of this kind of initiatives for ESD and to inform and promote the development of similar projects in the region and beyond.

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