Principles of EfS

Principles of EfSPrinciples of EfS

In Australia, we’ve worked hard for many years to distil ‘Principles of EfS’ and the most effective ways of educating all ages. Here is the list. As you read each one, try to imagine how they might apply to your work.

Transformation and change

Education for sustainability is not simply about providing information but equipping people with the skills, capacity and motivation to plan and manage change towards sustainability within an organisation, industry or community.

Education for all and lifelong learning

Education for sustainability is driven by a broad understanding of education and learning that includes people of all ages and backgrounds and at all stages of life and takes place within all possible learning spaces, formal and informal, in schools, workplaces, homes and communities. Sustainability is an ongoing process that involves all people at all stages of life.

Systems thinking

Systems thinking is an approach that encourages us to look at systems in an holistic manner. It aims to equip people to understand connections between environmental, economic, social and political systems, and gain understanding by examining the linkages and interactions between the elements that comprise the whole. Examining the ‘big picture’ allows us to identify points of intervention to support constructive change.

Envisioning a better future

Education for sustainability engages people in developing a shared vision for a sustainable future. Conceptualising what we want for ourselves and future generations allows us to identify existing challenges and plan future improvements.

Critical thinking and reflection

To achieve change we need to increase the capacity of individuals and groups to reflect on personal experiences and world views and challenge accepted ways of interpreting and engaging with the world.


Education for sustainability recognises that active involvement and participation by everyone is critical if we are to achieve a sustainable world.

Partnerships for change

Education for sustainability focuses on the use of genuine partnerships to build networks and relationships, and improve communication between different sectors of society.

 Source: Living Sustainably: the Australian Government’s National Action Plan for Education for Sustainability”

You’ll find more about how to apply the ‘Principles of EfS’ in these resources:

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