Canadian education institutions not addressing sustainability issues

December 3, 2014

Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan recently studied whether sustainability and climate-related education policies existed at Canadian PSE institutions, provincial and territorial ministries of education, and K–12 school divisions. The study found that only half of PSE institutions and half of K–12 school divisions had any policies addressing sustainability. Institutions were scored on their inclusion of 4 sustainability initiatives (SI): undertaking a sustainability assessment, signing a national or international environmental or sustainability declaration, having a sustainability office or officer, and having sustainability policies. When PSE institutions were grouped provincially, Saskatchewan and the 3 territories had the lowest average SI scores; for K–12 schools, the territories again had the lowest scores, with Ontario and New Brunswick having the highest. Very few of the K–12 schools that did have a sustainability policy focused on climate change. “There has been a steady increase in uptake of sustainability across the formal education sector over the past decade,” said Marcia McKenzie, principal investigator of the Sustainability and Education Policy Network (SEPN). “However, our research suggests there is more to be done to ensure this goes beyond reducing institutional greenhouse gas emissions to consider broader implications.” uSask News | SEPN Research Brief (PSE) | SEPN Research Brief (K–12)