Education to transform the world: limits and possibilities in and against the SDGs and ESD
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a significant marker in global efforts to universalise a conception of ecologically sustainable human development. SDG 4?s expanded vision of quality education for all extends to the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Agenda?s call for education that contributes to all of SDGs, and prepares students to ?transform our world?. From a critical perspective, this paper considers the incompatibility of endless (compound) economic growth and capital accumulation, under capitalism, with the required CO2 reductions that the climate emergency demands. The paper shows how the ESD proposals reflect the orthodoxy of education as human capital formation for economic development, albeit within a reformed ?green growth? model. At the same time, it argues that their distinctive ambitions and transformational language provide space for critical educators to simultaneously work with and against their contradictions and limitations, and to advance non-capitalist and degrowth alternatives.