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Key concepts

Key concepts are the big ideas and understandings that we hope will remain with our students long after they have left school.

The following are the key concepts/big ideas in EfS.


Sustainability is about individuals, groups, and societies adopting ways of thinking and behaving that allow them to meet their needs and aspirations without preventing future generations of all living things from meeting theirs. 

Systems thinking, with a future focus, enables decision-making for sustainability. In thinking and behaving for sustainability, there are four aspects to consider, environmental, social, cultural and economic. 


Equity is about fairness. In considering the four aspects of sustainability, it incorporates respect for all life, social justice, intergenerational fairness, and the fair management of finite resources.


Interdependence is about the interconnectedness of people and environments. This interconnectedness can be understood through considering ecosystems, community, cultural diversity, democracy, and fair trade.

Responsibility for action

Personal and social actions are required to live sustainably. Actions for sustainability include: guardianship or kaitiakitanga, citizenship, having an action orientation, informed decision-making, resilience and regeneration, thoughtful consumerism, and enterprise and entrepreneurship.

Last updated April 30, 2015