The agreement of the entire world, governments of all countries, international organisations and societies to implement the Sustainable Development Strategy is one of the few examples of such unanimity, but at the same time a confirmation of the importance and relevance of this strategy for the further development of our planet and the organisms that inhabit it, including humans.
Given the fundamental importance of education in the widespread and effective implementation of the principles of sustainable development, in 2002, at the United Nations, the coordination of activities in this field was entrusted to the UNESCO Committee and, at the request of this organisation, a period of 10 years (2005-2014) was declared the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, with education as the primary goal:
It is a challenge to each of us, to institutions and whole societies – to look at life from the perspective of tomorrow as a day that will belong to us all… or not at all.
In Poland, the issue of education for sustainable development was introduced into the Education System Act of 7 September 1991.Article I of this Act reads: “The educational system ensures (especially point two) the dissemination among children and young people of knowledge of the principles of sustainable development and the shaping of attitudes conducive to its implementation on a local, national and global scale”. Placing so much emphasis on education is fully understandable if we take into account the fact that we need to change our habits and develop new behaviours and a new outlook on the work we do and the environment around us. This does not mean the need to completely change, for example, production technology, but to analyse it, eliminate activities that do not fit into the idea of sustainable development and introduce new, effective forms of management. It should also be borne in mind that sustainable development is not a one-off action valid today, but will be implemented in the years and decades to come, and one of its basic assumptions will be the use of new developments that allow us to come closer to optimal functioning in all areas of life.
It is also no exaggeration to write that the success of the dissemination and pursuit of sustainable development will be determined by the knowledge and professional preparation of all sections of society and of each individual.
Agriculture has and will continue to play a special role in the implementation of the sustainable development strategy:
- securing the production of sufficient and high-quality food for a growing human population,
- securing an income and a decent living for the farmer and his family,
- protection and enhancement of the agricultural environment,
- preserving the cultural traditions of their region, but also convincing the consumer of the farmer’s work and responsibility.
Helping to prepare for these tasks is the ‘Guide to Sustainable Agriculture’, prepared by the team of authors, which aims to provide an overview of the current state of knowledge and the legal situation in the areas of agriculture covered by the adaptation to sustainable development.
The guide in its content does not cover all the elements that need to be taken into account in the pursuit of sustainable agricultural development. These include transport, communications, energy, science, education, health, culture or leisure.
The description of all these elements exceeded the intended content of the “Guide”, which is mainly focused on crop production and its conditions. Those interested in other branches of agriculture should supplement their knowledge using additional literature.
However, it is the intention of the authors of the Guide to continually supplement it, to expand the scope of the agricultural production described and to enrich it with new recommendations based on the latest scientific research findings, industry developments, breeding and agricultural practice.
Believing that the ‘Guide’ will help all concerned in their efforts to realise sustainable development, we would like to remind you that we are all equally bound by the definition:
Sustainability meets the needs of the present generation so as not to derail meeting the needs of future generations.
Prof. dr hab. Stefan Pruszyński