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History of EFS

History of Selected Events & Declarations Related to Education for Sustainability

Year | Event/Declaration

1962 Publication of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson helps launch the modern environmental movement

1970 Earth Day founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson

1972 The Limits to Growth by Dennis Meadows et al. published by the Club of Rome

1983 A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform, the National Commission on Excellence in Education.


1987 The Brundtland Report, Our Common Future, World Commission on Environment and Development Stated and popularized the concept of sustainable development http://www.worldinbalance.net/intagreements/1987-brundtland.php

1990 The Talloires Declaration, University Presidents’ Conference, France First official statement by university administrators committing to sustainability in higher education http://www.ulsf.org/programs_talloires.html

1991 Halifax Declaration, Conference on University Action for Sustainable Development, Canada http://www.iisd.org/educate/declarat/halifax.htm

1992 Agenda 21: Programme of Action for Sustainable Development Report of the United Nations Conference on Environmental and Development,Rio de Janeiro, 3-14 June

1993 Kyoto Declaration, Ninth International Association of universities Round Table, Japan http://www.unesco.org/iau/sd/sd_dkyoto.html

1994 National Forum on Partnerships Supporting Education about the Environment, National Science and Technology Council http://www.gcrio.org/edu/pcsd/intro.html

1994 Blueprint for a Green Campus, Yale University Campus Earth Summit http://www.princeton.edu/~rcurtis/earthsum.html

1995 Education for Sustainability: An Agenda for Action (President’s Council on Sustainable Development)


1997 Thessaloniki Declaration, International Conference on Environment and Society – Education and Public Awareness for Sustainability http://www.minenv.gr/4/41/4101/e410109.html

2000 Earth Charter, Born out of an initiative at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit http://www.earthcharterinaction.org/content/

2000 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Final Report of the World Education Forum, Dakar, Senegal, 26-28 April http://www.unesco.org/education/wef/en-docs/findings/rapport%20final%20e.pdf

2002 Report of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 Aug - 4 Sept, 2002


2002 International Union for Conservation of Nature Commission on Education and Communication Conference


2002 Adoption of the Draft Resolution on the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, at the United National General Assembly, 20 Dec, 2002 http://www.gdrc.org/sustdev/un-desd/un-resolution.html

2003 National Conference on Science, Policy, and the Environment: Education for a Sustainable and Secure Future, National Council for Science and the Environment, 30-31 Jan, 2003

2005 The U.N. Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) begins, with UNESCO as the lead agency. The Decade seeks to integrate the principles, values, and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning, in order to address the social, economic, cultural and environmental problems we face in the 21st century.

2006 The first Campus Community Partnerships in Sustainability Conference is held at Berea College

2008 The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) is established to empower higher education lead the transition to a sustainable future.

2009 WCSD – World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development - Bonn 31 March – 3 April 2009

2009 The Copenhagen Climate Change Conference was held. No formal pact was adopted, however a non-binding Copenhagen Accord was drated by the US, China, India, Brazil and South Africa that recognized climate change as one of the greatest challenges of the present day and that action to keep temperature increases below 2 degrees C should be taken.

2010 A Global People's Conference on Climate Change was held in Cochabamba, Bolivia on Apr 19-22, 2010, with 35,000 delegates from indigenous peoples, social movements and organizations from 140 countries participating. A People's Agreement on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth was created.

2012 Rio+20 U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development was held in Rio de Janeiro on June 20-22, 2012, with 50,000+ delegates including representatives from government, industry, nonprofits, communities and individuals from across the world. A final report was issued.

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 Last Modified 12/4/18