Welcome! ~ Sonia Hankova ~ Education/Art/Science ~ E-Mail: sonia.hankova@gmail.com ~ Phone: +61 425 703 860

Ecologically sustainable development

The chief focus of sustainable development is on society (Pulselli et al., 2008); it is most often described as a triptych of social justice, ecological integrity and economic well-being, through the reconciliation of all living systems on the planet. The goal of sustainable development is to meet the needs of the present, and create an ecologically and socially just world within the means of nature without compromising future generations (Moore, 2005; Tilbury et al., 2002); it includes environmental considerations in the steering of societal change and transformation, especially in the way in which the economy functions (Chiras, 2010).

Resource management is thus a fundamental question for sustainability and cannot be answered simply by attributing an economic value to resources. Attributed value often does not reflect the real value of a resource because the market ignores non-economic functions that resources play in ecosystems (Kagan, 2014, p. 1). As such, the many relationships between humans and their environment make management of the resources and services of nature a complex problem that cannot be forced into a pre-existing framework (Pulselli et al., 2008). 

Although sustainability is a universally accepted goal, its operational aspects are extremely diverse — we have to take into account the diversity across human communities, their lifestyles and their natural environments. We can not view operational sustainability as a blueprint with universal applicability, but rather as an approach applicable diversely (Pulselli et al., 2008); sustainable development must be flexible and open to community definition, as people seek to interpret such principles in the light of local circumstances and interests (Maser, 1996). What need to make informed decisions in our homes, communities, working lives and leisure activities; and seek to understand and take responsibility for the impact we have on the quality of life for other people, locally and globally.

Capra (1996), in his book The Web of Life, stressed that as individuals and societies we are dependent upon the cycles of nature and the interactive and interdependent nature of the life-world. This type of ‘systems thinking’ has been considered as critical to sustainable economic development (Pulselli et al., 2008). Heide’s use of land, water and energy resources reflects this thinking, and its ’reduce, reuse, recycle’ principles that incorporate: recycling of waste and water, and energy conservation strategies contribute to overall operational savings and reducing the carbon footprint. Bee farming contributes to maintaining the biodiversity of the local ecosystems and produces honey that is sold at the Heide shop; a successfully producing orchard and prolific kitchen gardens with seasonal vegetables provide fresh local produce, all used by the Heide café (Heide Museum of Modern Art, n.d.).



Capra, F. (1996). The web of life: A new scientific understanding of living systems. New York: Doubleday-Anchor Books.

Chiras, D. D. (2010). Environmental science. Sudburry, MA: Jones and Bartlett

Heide Museum of Modern Art. (n.d.). Heide education resource: Heide sustainability art trail. Melbourne, Australia: Heide Museum of Modern Art.

Kagan, S. (2014). Art and sustainability: Connecting patterns for a culture of complexity. London, England: Transcript Verlag.

Maser, C. (1996). Resolving environmental conflict: Towards sustainable community development. Defray Beach, FL: St Lucie Press.

Moore, J. (2005). Is higher education ready for transformative learning? A question explored in the study of sustainability. Journal of Transformative Education, 3(1), 76-91.

Pulselli, F. M., Bastianoni, S., Marchettini, N., & Tiezzi, E. (2008). The road to sustainability: GDP and future generations. Southampton, Boston: WIT Press.

Tilbury, D., Stevenson, R. B., Fien, J., & Schreuder, D. (2002). Education and sustainability: Responding to the global challenge. Cambridge, England: International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.