The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development encourages governments and communities to take urgent action regarding climate change so that the planet can continue to support future generations. However, one of the “greatest impediments” to this agenda is a lack of education among those in leadership positions in governments and societies worldwide.
One solution to this problem is the development of Open Educational Resources (OER). OER, according to the UN, are “teaching, learning and research materials…that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions.” Educating the public is critical if the UN’s agenda is to be met, and as a recognition of that fact, the SDG Academy was developed. This non-profit organization is responsible for curating and making accessible educational content created by experts around the world related to the UN’s sustainable development goals.
OER allow “citizens to educate themselves on issues of climate change,” but, going further, they also allow the knowledge that is created to “reflect the diversity and context of people from different parts of the world,” something that is very important in the fight not only against climate change, but for climate justice (Bahadur & Green, 2022).
So far, the SDG Academy has developed 39 massive open online courses and reached over 600,000 people in 193 countries worldwide. These courses have been made available using Creative Commons licenses that allows the courses to be openly shared and modified, as long as the use is noncommercial in nature. Over 1700 videos are available in the SDG Academy Library for use outside the courses. Faculty interested in incorporating materials into their courses will find ideas in their webinar, Engaging Online: Teaching and Learning with the SDG Academy
“Education is a necessity and a human right, not just a commodity to be bought and sold by those who can afford to do so. We must all go back to school,” says Patrick Walsh, the Vice President of Education at the SDG Academy, to learn how to “coexist in harmony with people and the planet” (2022). Creating and implementing open educational resources is one thing our society can do to make this happen.
Bahadur, C. & Green, C. (2022). The SDG Academy and Creative Commons. SDG Academy https://sdgacademy.org/sdg-academy-and-creative-commons/
Walsh, P. (2022). Advancing the UNESCO OER recommendation to enable education for sustainable development. SDG Academy. https://sdgacademy.org/advancing-the-unesco-oer-recommendation/