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On May 31, SGI-Spain sponsored a symposium themed "Education for Sustainable Development: The Present and the Future" at its culture center in Rivas-Vaciamadrid, near Madrid. Some 70 people, mainly educators, attended from across the country.
The keynote speaker was María C. Novo Villaverde, UNESCO Chair in Environmental Education and Sustainable Development and professor at the National University of Distance Education in Madrid. She highlighted that one of main causes of rapid environmental destruction is society's unhealthy fixation on economic growth rather than quality of life. She also stressed the importance of teaching students the difference between needs and desires, the principles of moderation, and the concept of "think globally, act locally."
At the symposium, representatives of SGI-Spain's Education Department also organized a session on SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's 2012 environment proposal For a Sustainable Global Society: Learning for Empowerment and Leadership, and Jorge Romea, Chief of Environmental Services of the City Council of Rivas-Vaciamadrid, gave a report about the city's activities promoting environmental conservation and sustainable development.
In addition, participants also engaged in small group discussions, exchanging opinions on current levels of environmental degradation and steps they can take, starting from their own local area.
The exhibition "Seeds of Hope: Visions of sustainability, steps toward change," jointly created by SGI and Earth Charter International, was also on display.
[Adapted from a report from SGI-Spain, photos courtesy of SGI-Spain]
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by William Aiken, director of public affairs, SGI-USA
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by Olivier Urbain, director, Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research
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by Barbara Jenkins, SGI-USA
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by Ivy Gabbert, SGI Office for UN Affairs, New York