Epistemological and ethical foundations in education for sustainable development

How can we educate responsibility for sustainability facing the human-nature relationship? How can we re-think today the notions of the human and the natural, as well as their relationships? A key aspect of reflecting on a change in the educational paradigm is to look critically at its ethical and epistemological foundations. The values of justice, equity, together with conceptualizations of gender, race, and ethnicity are basic ideas that, among others, are shaping the model of development and education that we are called upon to take charge of. Technocratic, utilitarian and anthropocentric approaches have been decisive in promoting ideas of development that have not only triggered the crossing of many planetary limits, but have also perpetuated dynamics that generate poverty, inequity, racism and the violation of the rights of native peoples. It is, therefore, imperative to promote the ethical dimension of sciences and humanities in pursuit of care for the earth, its inhabitants and the socio-ecological systems that comprise it; as well as to clearly identify which educational practices must be reviewed and modified in order to move towards new forms of relationship between us and the environment of which we are a part. What role do gender norms or racism play in education for sustainable development? How can we transcend the humanistic or human-centered approach to the climate crisis? What role do non-human agents play in the contemporary sustainability crisis?