What is sustainable education? What is transformative learning?


In the description of many of the Gaia Education courses, you'll come across phrases like; "creating a sustainable learning model" and "helping you build a regenerative life". But what do these terms and phrases mean?

The world of sustainability is no stranger to buzzwords and trends, but how can you identify authenticity from greenwashing phrases we so often see across society; in retail, supermarkets, and cosmetics branding. 

Terms like 'paradigm shift', 'regenerative change', and 'transformative learning' are terms familiar to many people working in sustainability. Still, in this article, I want to dive deeper into what they mean and how we ensure that we deliver what we say. 

All Gaia Education courses are based on our unique 4-dimensional framework, Which means that it looks at sustainability from a holistic perspective and systemic thinking (another buzzword! Bear with me…). Instead of thinking that sustainability is just the environment or the ecological aspect of life, the 4-dimensional framework gets you to look at social, economic and worldview areas.


This model can be applied to a society, an individual, a community, a business, anything! If a community struggles with multiple social issues like gender imbalance and access to education, environmental issues will not be at the top of people's minds. We need to develop many areas before becoming a community or a society that is net-zero or even regenerative. Systemic thinking refers to this; everything is interconnected. The way that your children are taught in school is connected to our environmental laws, a country's refugee laws impact climate change and vice versa (read about climate refugees), and how empathetic our immediate social support system is affecting our attitude towards climate change contributes to a piece of the culture as a whole etc. 

Gaia Education's purpose is to shift the world's current dominating view that everything is separate from each other - that we are not interconnected. We help students see how we're all part of nature and show them what that means - we uncover how this impacts how we show up in the world and how we inhabit it. 

Our courses are designed to create ripples of transformation in people's thinking around sustainability in all aspects of their lives! We hope these ripples will lead to waves of change across the globe as you all learn to view yourself, our world and your place in it - from a new perspective. 

Paradigm shift refers to a fundamental change that we as an organisation feel is desperately needed to reverse the 6th mass extinction we are already experiencing. This is why Gaia Education was founded and why we keep offering content on different aspects of sustainability. 

Instead of thinking of sustainability design online or face-to-face courses as something to accomplish, think of them as tools for life - a life that doesn't take more than is needed. A tool that helps you tap into your strengths and passions and create a sustainable income for yourself. More than just gaining information, the aim should be at transformative learning. Transformative learning is the expansion of consciousness by changing how you view the world and your capacities, which will change your behaviour drastically over time.

For this, we need to immerse ourselves into a community of learners committed to bringing about change and acting now. A crucial part of transformative learning is for individuals to change their frames of reference by profoundly reflecting on their assumptions and existing beliefs. There are multiple ways to do this, but a powerful way is storytelling and meeting people with different perspectives and stories;

What groups and communities have significantly impacted your thinking? Comment below!


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