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Number: 67
Year: 1999
Author: Eloísa Trellez Solís and Gustavo Wilches Chaux
Title: Education for a Sustainable Future in the Americas

Education for Wonder, Reflection, Commitment and Action

To the degree that education can encourage concern and wonder in reaction to the surrounding social and natural environment and, in particular, to the miracle of life, an educated population can acquire the conceptual and methodological tools to construct a coherent vision of the world. This is a first step toward identifying our stance, our role and our responsibility within that world. Education, therefore, can awaken a sense of participation in the world, a sense of belonging and an awareness of our ability to change our surroundings. Once this is understood, it becomes possible to develop the attitudes and skills needed to transform the Americas into a sustainable region, bearing in mind that sustainability depends on human decisions, and not only on natural mechanisms.

In contrast, an education that, through misdirection or omission, generates feelings of cultural anomie, powerlessness, fatalism and resignation will produce human beings unable to assume responsibility for sustainability. By the same token, education that can “compete,” (or empower to compete) with social pathologies that undermine the quality of life in the Region, serves to promote sustainability.

Challenge for the Future
  • To make education a vital, appealing, positive experience, designed to provide meaning and encourage creativity.
  • To transform education into a constructive channel for the energy and rebellion of youth, directed toward a more tolerant, more equitable, more democratic, and more participatory society.