NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1086544
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Dec
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0814-0626
Four Impediments to Embedding Education for Sustainability in Higher Education
Gale, Fred; Davison, Aidan; Wood, Graham; Williams, Stewart; Towle, Nick
Australian Journal of Environmental Education, v31-n2 p248-263 Dec 2015
Higher education institutions have an unavoidable responsibility to address the looming economic, environmental and social crises imperilling humans and ecosystems by placing "education for sustainability" at the heart of their concerns. Yet, for over three decades, the practice of 'higher education for sustainability' (HEfS) has encountered significant barriers to implementation, begging the question as to why. Drawing on a diverse, interdisciplinary literature, we identify four structural impediments to implementing HEfS: (1) disciplinary contestation, which creates confusion over what "sustainability" means; (2) institutional fragmentation, which prevents the interdisciplinary dialogue that sustainability demands; (3) economic globalisation, which transforms higher education into just another market opportunity; and (4) "fast and frugal" habits of reasoning, which steer time-pressed academics towards poorly integrated decisions and unsustainable positions. Our analysis highlights that wider structural change within and beyond the academy will be required if higher education institutions are to meet their responsibilities and drive the necessary social transformation.
Cambridge University Press. 100 Brook Hill Drive, West Nyack, NY 10994-2133. Tel: 800-872-7423; Tel: 845-353-7500; Fax: 845-353-4141; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Information Analyses; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A