Towards sustainable and healthy lifestyles – with the help of adult education

Mon 30 Oct 2017 12:53:00 PM EET

EuroHealthNet’s INHERIT initiative is a forward-looking project aiming at achieving sustainable and healthy lifestyles that are equitable in nature. EAEA’s Meghna Jadhav took part in a workshop organised by the project and reflected on the role of adult education in the process.

Figure 1 depicts a range of social dynamics, key narratives, and driving sectors for a healthy environment.

“‘What would a news headline in 2040 say?’, Caroline Costongs, director of EuroHealthNet asked the participants at the INHERIT (INter-sectoral Health and Environment Research for InnovaTion) workshop that was held in Brussels in September. I couldn’t help but think of a dystopian future. Over the course of the day, however, the skies seem to clear up as participants tried to paint a comprehensive picture of how sustainable the EU can be by 2040.

Aiming at triple win situation

EuroHealthNet’s INHERIT initiative aims to have an impact on policy measures, practices, and innovation leading to a ‘Triple Win’ situation. One of Inherit’s key features is a four scenario graph depicting a range of social dynamics, key narratives, and driving sectors (figure 1). Costongs called for a substantial “lifestyle and behaviour change”, and within each scenario the need for concrete political steps, guidelines, and strong intersectoral co-operatives.

Figure 2 fits adult education initiatives to the process.

The leading role for adult education

An interesting feature was that each scenario, though varied, ranging from public to private and collective to individualistic, emphasised the need for adult education in some form or the other (figure 2). The private and heavily personalised sector focused more on digital literacy and need for accessible public education, while the scenario leaning towards a collective society aimed at community building and interdependence coupled with active citizenship.

To make this sustainable and equitable future a reality, we cannot sideline adult education any more. The time to start building targets, strategic objectives, and follow a political roadmap to sustainability is now!

EAEA believes that sustainability is a key feature for a positive transformation in society. In a multidimensional society such as ours, adult education is a major drive for all round sustainable development. More linkages between adult education and sustainable development can be found in the EAEA’s Manifesto for Adult Learning in the 21st Century.”

Text: Meghna Jadhav
Photos: INHERIT project, Meghna Jadhav