Achieving Sustainability through Higher Institutions of learning

REES Africa
3 min readJul 14, 2021


In recent decades, current development patterns are heavily questioned and accompanied by environmental deterioration by human actions, especially production factors meant to ensure survival. In response to this, the Brundtland Commission coined the term “Sustainable Development,” which is the “development that meets the demands of the present generation without jeopardizing future generations ability to meet their own needs.” In this remark, it was asserted unequivocally that human society must change the direction of overall lifestyle and life practices to reverse the socio-environmental disaster and degradation that loomed over nature.

What is Sustainability?

Sustainability connotes how natural systems function, remain diverse and provide everything necessary for the ecosystem to remain balanced. It considers how we might live in harmony with the natural world around us while safeguarding it from harm. And one of the ways is to ensure that professionals at higher institutions are trained as advocates for sustainability. Thus, their curriculum must be restructured to foster critical thinking abilities and challenge teachers and students to tackle real-world challenges. A curriculum that emphasizes sustainability will broaden global perspectives and impact our society and the planet.

Sustainability through higher education

Educational institutions have an ethical need to act appropriately with respect to the environment. Graduates can be trained leaders in the environmental protection movement, which includes water and waste management.

Universities are similar to towns since they have enormous facilities, thousands of students, teachers, and collaborators that can impact their communities. And because their operations extend beyond the campus and classroom, universities must include sustainability principles into their operations and management activities to promote local sustainable development. These operations concern campus infrastructures such as water, electricity, waste, and buildings, e university’s management and institutional plan, and the university’s relationships with internal and external communities through education, research, and outreach.

To assure sustainability practices and overcome hurdles such as opposition to change, institutions must incorporate sustainability into their vision, purpose, goals, and policies.

Strategies for Promoting Sustainability in Higher Institutions

1. Making use of every chance to raise public understanding about the need to transition to an environmentally sustainable future among government, industry, foundations, and students.

2. Encouraging student participation in population, environment, development education, research, political training, and information exchange.

3. Establishing programs to train undergraduates in environmental management, sustainable economic growth, population, and similar concerns so that university graduates are knowledgeable about the environment and civic responsibility.

4. Creating programs to help university lecturers improve their ability to teach environmental science to all undergraduate and graduate students.

5. Establishing resource conservation, recycling, and trash reduction programs that provide an example of environmental stewardship.

6. Expanding collaboration with non-governmental organizations to solve environmental issues.

7. Bringing together environmental experts to establish research, policy, and information-sharing programs and goals for a more environmentally sustainable future.

8. Forming alliances with elementary and middle schools to help instructors learn more about demographic, environmental, and sustainable development issues.

9. Collaborating with the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the United Nations Environment Program, and other national and international organizations to promote the global endeavor toward a sustainable future.

10. Organizing a steering committee and a secretariat and informing and assisting each signatory’s efforts to comply with the statement.


Without a doubt, our current way of life is in complete disarray. And since we are aware of the manifestations of various events such as social inequity, poverty, and unresolved health issues, as well as signs of environmental degradation and the effects of climate change, institutions of higher education must work with society to promote actions that address pollution, environmental degradation, and the devaluation of natural resources. Students need to be encouraged to become leaders in sustainability measures and assist in developing new ways to establish the existing relationship between human beings.

Author: Rukayat Adewole




REES Africa

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