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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


Change or Inertia

Typically, we feel more comfortable with familiar situations than with novel possibilities, even when we are well aware that customary behavior can be improved. Reflecting on the future, Michel Godet23 stresses the fact that two opposing forces of equal weight influence every human action: inertia and change.

For years, we have privileged inertia, even as change continues to be the expression we use when we describe our desire to construct a different future. However, we often search for solutions to our problems before we have formulated our basic questions adequately. Or we make plans to change a situation before we have duly acknowledged the range of its effects. As discussed in Chapter II under subheadings “Sustainability as a System and a Process” and “Development as a Process and Sustainability”, an important basis for meaningful positive change is the clear formulation of adequate questions concerning the sustainability of specific processes. Once the relevant issues and knowledge gaps are identified, we can then make efforts to create adequate educational conditions within which to construct appropriate analyses and responses.

Challenge for the Future
  • To overcome inertia in working toward sustainability by promoting intersectoral and interdisciplinary analysis of social and natural phenomena. Such analyses will allow the adoption of appropriate development policies in each community and contribute to the continuing evolution of advanced educational practices.