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Steps to an Ecology of Lifelong-Lifewide Learning for Sustainable, Regenerative Futures

Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


We have reached a turning point in our history where an urgent and critical priority has emerged – not only do we have to learn for ourselves and for the health of society and economy, we also have to learn for others and the health and vitality of our planet. The wicked problem of our future survival is framed by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which offers 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Education has its own goal – SDG#4, to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” The aim of this SDG is to educate the world to encourage and support sustainable development, but it also contains within it a new and important role for lifelong learning – to enable individuals and societies to learn how to sustain themselves and the world. It’s a vision and culture that reaches beyond promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all, to the idea that “the whole of life is learning therefore education can have no ending” (Lindeman, C. (1926). The meaning of adult education. New York, NY: New Republic (1989 edn) Oklahoma Research Center for continuing professional and higher education. Retrieved from

Optimistic views of the future guide us toward a new Ecological Age (Berry, T. (1988). The dream of the earth. Berkley, CA: Counterpoint), an emergent Ecological Civilization (Lent, J. (2021). What does an ecological civilization look like? YES Magazine Spring 2021. Retrieved from:, and a universal culture of lifelong learning (UNESCO. (2020b). Embracing a culture of lifelong learning: Contribution to the futures of education initiative report. A transdisciplinary expert consultation. Paris, France: UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning. Retrieved from But to achieve this cultural transition and live our lives in a sustainable, regenerative way, humanity must embrace an ecological world view within which all human activities, including learning, are understood in relationship to the world in which they are enacted. This chapter advocates that we are ecological interbeings, enacting life within and with an ecological world of relationships, connectivity, and interdependency. If we are to succeed in “learning for sustainable regenerative futures,” we need a vision and concept of lifelong learning and action that embraces consciously and explicitly the lifewide dimensions of learning in everyday life and its fundamentally ecological character. We also need systems and institutions for education that encourage and support an ecological worldview and a broader moral purpose that includes learning for others and encompasses the health and vitality of our life sustaining planet.


  • Lifewide learning
  • Lifelong-lifewide learning
  • Sustainable development
  • Sustainable regenerative futures
  • Learning ecologies
  • Ecologies for practice
  • Learning in the Ecological Age

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Correspondence to Norman Jeffrey Jackson .

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Jackson, N.J. (2022). Steps to an Ecology of Lifelong-Lifewide Learning for Sustainable, Regenerative Futures. In: Evans, K., Lee, W.O., Markowitsch, J., Zukas, M. (eds) Third International Handbook of Lifelong Learning. Springer International Handbooks of Education. Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-67930-9

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    Steps to an Ecology of Lifelong-Lifewide Learning for Sustainable, Regenerative Futures
    30 December 2022


  2. Original

    Steps to an Ecology of Lifelong-Lifewide Learning for Sustainable, Regenerative Futures
    03 November 2022