On synergies and conflicts between the sustainable development goals (2016-2030) and renewable energy sources for education of and by sustainability

János Mika, Andrea Farkas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In September 2015 the United Nations (UN) accepted the Sustainable Development Goals (2016-2030) for mankind, including 17 Goals and 169 detailed Targets. Sustainability is understood in the wider sense by the document, considering society and economy not just as conditions for environmental sustainability, but as equally important pillar of the "building of sustainability". Fulfilment of these goals and targets needs active participation of present and future generations, hence education of these tasks is inevitable. The aim of the research is to specify those goals and detailed targets in which renewable energy sources are involved. The latter is just one aspect for bringing the whole complex closer to the adults and youngsters to educate. This topic, however, is characterised by three features that make this aspect appealing: Renewable energies are (i) fast developing, (ii) future oriented by saving the environment and (iii) they represent relatively new pieces of knowledge, so contemporary information should not fight with older learning. Before turning to these goals and targets, a reasonable classification of the 17 goals, listed without any systematic order in the UN document, is provided. The presented classification of the goals recommends the following groups: (i) Primary needs of humans (Goals 2, 3, 6 and 7) (ii) Equality between humans (1, 4, 5 and 10), (iii) Efficient, sustainable production (8, 9, 12 and 13), (iv) Landscapes in danger (11, 14 and 15) and (v) Worldwide cooperation (16, 17). From these Goals, No. 7 (affordable and clean energy) and No 13 (climate action) are in full synergy with the aim of extended renewable energy utilisation, but No 2 (zero hunger) might be in contradiction with extensive land use for bio-energy. If consumption of timber for bio-energy continues to be intense than No. 15 (life on land) may also contradict to other goals of sustainable development. Six further targets are identified as related to renewable energies without relatedness of the complete goals. So, we may consider 14 targets belonging to 9 goals to be related to energy sources. The recommended classification of the goals and quotations of the energy-relevant targets are illustrated by some world-wide and Hungarian indicators. Being acquainted with these objectives is useful for all youngsters, presented at their level of knowledge, and it provides a good basis to refresh one's activity expressed in the environmental education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-193
Number of pages12
JournalProblems of Education in the 21st Century
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017



  • Climate change
  • Environmental education
  • Renewable energy
  • Sustainable development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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