Responsible choices help us to build sustainable future. Individuals’ and societies’ everyday choices are essential when creating more sustainable future for the generations to come. In addition, we as educators have a key role in guiding learners in the societal change.
How can we build sustainable future through responsible choices?
The Finland we want by 2050 ─ Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development is based on the global sustainable development goals (Agenda 2030) to achieve sustainable future. Sustainable development has been defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It balances between the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental which are integrated and indivisible.
The vision in Society´s Commitment to Sustainable Development is a prosperous Finland with global responsibility for sustainability and the carrying capacity of nature. ” – Together we will lay the foundation for sustainability and provide the necessary conditions for all people to live sustainably, and for communities and companies to operate sustainably. The carrying capacity of nature is not exceeded and natural resources are used in a sustainable manner.” To make this vision a reality, Finland will focus on achieving the following objectives:
- Equal prospects for wellbeing
- A participatory society for all
- Work in a sustainable way
- Sustainable society and local communities
- A carbon-neutral society
- A resource-wise economy
- Lifestyles respectful of the carrying capacity of nature
- Decision-making respectful of nature
For example, as a part of EU 2030 climate and energy framework, European Commission proposed the cuts in net greenhouse gas emissions (from 1990 levels) to be increased at least by 55 percent. The significance of financial market is essential when making responsible investment decisions to achieve carbon-neutral society. Also, regulation and legislation orient for more responsible financial market in the future.
As an individual we can make several responsible choices in our everyday life:
- ask for pro-environment products to the market
- avoid eating red meat (beef, pork, lamb)
- consider an ecological point of view when planning your vacation
- favour fair-trade products
- favour environmental certificated products
- buy organic, local and seasonal food
- try to minimise the environmental effects of mobility
- reduce the level of consumption and aim for responsible choices for environmental reasons
- change my consuming habits (immaterial instead of material acquisition)
- reduce the amount of waste by changing shopping habits
- take into account the origin of product when making a decision for shopping
- save energy by using energy-efficient light bulbs and household appliances
- save energy by turning off unnecessary household appliances and lamps
- try to reduce systematically the amount of waste of household
- favour locally produced goods and commodities when making buying decisions
- sort out waste materials including plastic in order to recycle
- take care of hazardous waste and also recycle unused electronics
- choose a pro-climate meal in a restaurant
Educators in a key role
Continuous learning in society is at the centre of a sustainable future. Understanding of how transformative actions occur must be reflected in formal and non-formal educators so that they are clearly aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the various pedagogical approaches they employ. Educators could be facilitators of learning, guiding learners through the transformative societal change. When combatting against wicked problems such as climate change, that calls the importance of systems thinking competence. Systems thinking means the ability to recognize and understand relationships; to analyse complex systems; to think of how systems are embedded within different domains and different scales; and to deal with uncertainty.
This is why continuous learning and responsibility goes hand in hand.
The School of vocational teacher education coordinates the Sustainability in Finance (SuFi) Interreg project during 2020-2022. In this project a vocational Sustainability in Finance open online module (15 ECTS) will be developed for vocational education and training (VET).
- Commission on Sustainable Development. (2016). The Finland we want by 2050 ─ Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development.
- EU. (2020). 2030 climate & energy framework.
- United Nations. (2016). Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- UNESCO. (2017). Education for Sustainable Development Goals: Learning Objectives.
The blog was written by principal lecturer Jani Siirilä, School of Vocational Teacher Education, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences