Sustainability (Version 8.4)

The Sustainability priority provides the opportunity for students to develop an appreciation of the necessity of acting for a more sustainable future and so address the ongoing capacity of Earth to maintain all life and meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.

This priority will allow all young Australians to develop the knowledge, skills, values and world views necessary for them to act in ways that contribute to more sustainable patterns of living. It will enable individuals and communities to reflect on ways of interpreting and engaging with the world. The Sustainability priority is futures-oriented, focusing on protecting environments and creating a more ecologically and socially just world through informed action. Actions that support more sustainable patterns of living require consideration of environmental, social, cultural and economic systems and their interdependence.

The Sustainability priority is futures-oriented, calling on students to act sustainably as individuals and to participate in collective endeavours that are shared across local, regional and global communities. It emphasises the interdependence of environmental, social, cultural and economic systems.

In developing this priority, ACARA has consulted both with educators who have deep knowledge of sustainability and organisations such as National Education for Sustainability Network, the Australian Association of Environmental Educators and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. It has also involved practising teachers with expertise in sustainability from each of the learning areas to provide advice on how the priority could be incorporated into each learning area.

The Sustainability priority has been developed around three key concepts: systems, world views and, futures. These concepts are seen as fundamental to learning about sustainability. Each key concept contains a set of organising ideas that provide a scaffold for developing related knowledge, understanding and skills. These are embedded in each learning area according to the relevance of its content to the organising idea. An organising idea may draw on content from more than one learning area. Taken as a set, the organising ideas provide a coherent framework of the priority.

The first key concept explores the interdependent and dynamic nature of systems that support all life on Earth as well as the promotion of healthy social, economic and ecological patterns of living for our collective wellbeing and survival.

The second key concept presents the issues surrounding sustainability in a global context. This concept allows for a diversity of world views on ecosystems, values and social justice to be discussed and linked to individual and community actions for sustainability.

The third key concept is aimed at building the capacities for thinking and acting in ways that are necessary to create a more sustainable future. The concept seeks to develop reflective thinking processes and empower young people to design action that will lead to a more equitable, respectful and sustainable future.

Visit the Australian Curriculum website for details of the Sustainability cross-curriculum priority