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Educating Earth-literate Leaders.
Zeitschriftenausgabe (-> Ref.Nr):
Journal of Geography in Higher Education
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The World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg made it clear that political leadership the world over is incapable of rising to the challenges of sustainability. Yet, most of the hundred or so world leaders who attended have a higher education degree from some of the world′s most prestigious universities. This paper tries to address some of the key challenges this poses for universities. It looks at the changing professional landscape within the EU, parameters of a higher education (HE) that would produce Earth-literate leaders, at the concept of a sustainable university and ecological footprinting as a tool to measure this, and at the implications all this has for the HE and geography curriculum. (Orig.)

... Why, as David Orr once remarked, is it that the people who contribute most toexploiting poor communities and the Earth′s ecosystems are those with BAs, MScs and PhDs and not the ′ignorant′ poor from the South (Orr, 1994)? Why is the illiteracy amongst the world′s politicians as to how the world works as a living system so widespread? Why is it so rare that we encounter in our leaders the qualities needed to enable sustainability: humility, respect for all forms of life and future generations, precaution and wisdom, the capacity to think systemically and challenge unethical actions? And more worryingly on the basis of current performance, what hope of improvement is there for future leaders?
The fact that the higher education sector is seriously failing society by producing leaders incapable of addressing our most pressing problems should trigger some critical consideration about the fundamental role of universities in society ... (Orig.)
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