Theorizing Sustainability: An Introduction to Science Teacher Education for Sustainability

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Science Teacher, Natural World, Environmental Education, Sustainable Practice, Sustainable Living

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



The purpose of this chapter is to provide readers of this book with an overview and framework for educating science teachers for sustainability. The chapter begins by locating education for sustainability within a social and cultural milieu that includes the natural, built, economic, and political worlds. It then clarifies our use of language to distinguish between sustainability and sustainable development, and between education for sustainability (EfS) and education for sustainable development (ESD). The chapter then delves into the relationship between environmental education and EfS, especially the importance of the need to bring to the forefront the complexities that are human, social constructs that arise from the possible conflicting concerns of a wide range of stakeholders that require negotiation and reconciliation. This is followed by a review of the criteria for EfS suggested by UNESCO, including that it be culturally relevant; that it needs to occur in all educational venues, formal and informal, and for adults as well as children; and that sustainability is a moving target that is best addressed from a transdisciplinary approach. The chapter ends by raising the question of what science teachers ought to teach resustainability, and the relationship between sustainability and the rest of the science curriculum.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Theorizing Sustainability: An Introduction to Science Teacher Education for Sustainability, in S. K. Sutton, R. Hagevik, A. Feldman & M. Bloom (Eds.), Educating Science Teachers for Sustainability, Springer, p. 3-13