These two companion books, Sustainable Development and Learning: framing the issues and Key Issues in Sustainable Development and Learning: a critical review, explore in complementary ways the relationships between learning and sustainable development. This book, Sustainable Development and Learning: framing the issues, provides an analytical overview of the central issues within the field. Its companion volume uses the same chapter headings to present seminal readings from existing literature set alongside specially commissioned, critical vignettes from leading practitioners in order to explore differing perspectives.
The central thesis of the books is that there is a need to bring about constructive engagement between the diverse perspectives on both learning and sustainable development, and to explore their inter-relationship. In order to do this, the books set out to communicate both the essentials and the complexities of a wide range of inter-related issues, raising important topics for discussion, reflection and on-going consideration by readers. These books are written for all those with an interest in sustainable development and learning and for those who, irrespective of background and discipline, are seeking support for professional activities, and/or undertaking academic programmes of study.
Definition is, of course, crucial, and a major purpose of the books is to help readers to develop understandings of both sustainable development and learning.
There exists considerable confusion in the popular usage of the phrases 'sustainable development' and 'sustainability', and often the terms are used interchangeably. The literature, however, shows a clear distinction in meanings with sustainable development as a process, and sustainability as a goal. The Brundtland Commission (WCED, 1987) saw sustainable development as a process of change with the future in mind:
a process where the exploitation, the orientation of technological development and institutional change, are made consistent with future as well as present needs.