The concept of sustainable development and the emergent discourse of education for sustainable development (ESD) present both challenges and opportunities for individuals, communities and governments to engage in conscious processes of reassessment of their roles. As an emergent discourse, ESD also raises critical questions on its relationship with environmental education and other parallel traditions. Much as this discourse continues to attract international attention, it is also and rather sadly, a non-issue in some countries. This paper foregrounds learning for sustainable development as an emergent educational discourse that requires urgent political and social attention. It explores the discourse's capacity to make significant contributions to contemporary educational thinking and practice by locating its emergence and development in global environmental politics. Against the background of history and the analysis of major conversation moments, the paper discusses conceptual differences and similarities in parallel traditions such as environmental education, place-based education or community-focused learning. The paper calls for well thought-out pedagogical responses to the diverse challenges of our contemporary times.
Keywords: sustainability education, sustainable development, corporate values, discourse, neoliberal policies, partnership learning, environmental education, environmental politics, place-based education, community-focused learning, pedagogy