Operationalising Competencies in Higher Education for Sustainable Development

Authored by: Arnim Wiek , Michael J. Bernstein , Rider W. Foley , Matthew Cohen , Nigel Forrest , Christopher Kuzdas , Braden Kay , Lauren Withycombe Keeler

Routledge Handbook of Higher Education for Sustainable Development

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415727303
eBook ISBN: 9781315852249
Adobe ISBN: 9781317918110


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The civil war raging in Syria at the time of this writing demonstrates the devastating effects of converging extreme drought, population growth and corrupt governance on natural, human and economic systems (Friedman 2013). A recent study on childhood and adult obesity in the United States concludes that prevalence of obesity has not changed significantly over the past ten years, remaining at more than 33 per cent of adults and 17 per cent of youth (Ogden et al. 2014). The detrimental effects of obesity on American society include the cost of individual illnesses, public health and financial burdens, lost worker productivity, and environmental degradation. Climate change has begun to impact cities and regions worldwide through storms and associated flood damages, extensive droughts, sea-level rise, and other disruptions; with impacts expected to increase in frequency and/or severity (Melillo et al. 2014). The above are but a few of the challenges that pertain to sustainability and display features of significant harm, complexity, urgency and contestation.

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