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  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2019

Sustainability, Human Well-Being, and the Future of Education

Palgrave Macmillan


  • Anticipates radical change in society (such as a future without work) and asks what role education, and more importantly learning, should play in that future

  • Originates from a long term strategic focus at the Finnish Innovation Fund (Sitra) on developing and working toward a new societal model organized around sustainable well-being

  • Includes recommendations for how practitioners, school and system leaders, and communities can carry the work forward

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (13 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xvi
  2. Learning at the Edge of History

    • Justin W. Cook
    Pages 1-29Open Access
  3. Schools as Equitable Communities of Inquiry

    • Robert Riordan, Stacey Caillier
    Pages 121-160Open Access
  4. Transforming Our Worldview Towards a Sustainable Future

    • Erkka Laininen
    Pages 161-200Open Access
  5. Towards Solving the Impossible Problems

    • Asta Raami
    Pages 201-233Open Access
  6. Unlocking the Future of Learning by Redesigning Educator Learning

    • Adam Rubin, Ali Brown
    Pages 235-268Open Access
  7. Four-Dimensional Education for Sustainable Societies

    • Charles Fadel, Jennifer S. Groff
    Pages 269-281Open Access
  8. Creativity, the Arts, and the Future of Work

    • Linda F. Nathan
    Pages 283-310Open Access
  9. Climate Change Education: A New Approach for a World of Wicked Problems

    • Anna Lehtonen, Arto O. Salonen, Hannele Cantell
    Pages 339-374Open Access
  10. Back Matter

    Pages 423-425

About this book

This open access book explores the key dimensions of a future education system designed to enable individuals, schools, and communities to achieve the twin twenty-first century challenges of sustainability and human well-being. For much of the twentieth century, Western education systems prepared students to enter the workforce, contribute to society and succeed in relatively predictable contexts. Today, people are at the controls of the planet—making decisions that are dramatically reshaping social, economic, and environmental systems at a global scale. What is education’s purpose in this new reality? What and how must we learn now?  The volatility and uncertainty caused by digitalization, globalization, and climate change weave a common backdrop through each chapter. Using case studies drawn from Finland and the US, chapter authors explore various aspects of learning and education system design through the lenses of sustainability and human well-being to evaluate how our understanding and practice of education must transform. Using their scholarly research and experience as practitioners, the authors propose new approaches to preparing learners for a new frontier of the human experience fraught with risks but full of opportunity. 


  • Open Access
  • future studies
  • lifelong learning
  • globalization
  • Equitable Communities of Inquiry
  • Kaospilot

Editors and Affiliations

  • Sitra, The Finnish Innovation Fund, Helsinki, Finland

    Justin W. Cook

About the editor

Justin W. Cook is Senior Lead for Strategy at the Finnish Innovation Fund (Sitra) in Helsinki, Finland. He supports Sitra’s societal transformation activities through research and projects aimed at catalyzing sustainability and human wellbeing in Finland and beyond. 

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Sustainability, Human Well-Being, and the Future of Education

  • Editors: Justin W. Cook

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Education, Education (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019

  • License: CC BY

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-319-78579-0Published: 27 September 2018

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-08736-4Published: 26 December 2018

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-319-78580-6Published: 17 September 2018

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XVI, 425

  • Number of Illustrations: 44 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Environmental and Sustainability Education, Educational Policy and Politics, Educational Philosophy

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)