I just spent my Saturday morning filling in a 6-page questionnaire sent by UNESCO as a part of their global monitoring and evaluation of the Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). They want to know what organizations and networks are doing to contribute to the Decade, here at the mid-decade mark.

The question I appreciated the most was: What is Education for Sustainable Development for you? (Give your perception of ESD in 50 words.) It was the 50 words that got me, now that was a challenge! Because the Decade is a United Nations process (it is a UN Decade), with all the reams of paperwork, pages and column inches that brings, I found this question both refreshing and intriguing. It was an exercise that tapped into to my right brain creativity that was not unlike writing a poem or a haiku. It generated a little spark of energy where before there was only a 6-page questionnaire. And it was the last question – good thinking on someone’s part!

Here was my response:

ESD is the process of helping individuals and groups deliberately define their own SD journeys, supporting this through learning tools, collaborative opportunities and reflective processes. ESD shapes people’s viewpoint on their personal and professional experiences so that decisions that favour sustainability become a part of their habitual and desired practice.

Want to try one of your own? See if thinking about it this way, like a puzzle, ignites some renewed energy – after all we have 5 years to go!

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