Educating for a holistic view of the earth system: A review

Tiago Ribeiro, Nir Orion

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The global society of today struggles with grand challenges, such as climate change, the degradation of ecosystems, and the loss of bio-and geodiversity, as identified in several documents. The search for solutions to these and other problems on the way to sustainable development necessarily involves a better understanding of the Earth system and its dynamics. The Earth system is composed of five highly dependent and interrelated subsystems that exchange matter and energy. This notion is at the base of what in the literature is named Earth System Science (ESS). Humanity has been profoundly altering the dynamics of this system, leading to the proposal of a new geological epoch—the Anthropocene. Developing a holistic understanding of the complex and tangled relationships between subsystems and the role of human impacts is the target of study of Earth System Education (ESE). With the assumptions of ESS, ESE is emerging as a new approach in science education. Based on a deep knowledge of the planet and the development of specific competencies, such as system thinking, it is possible to perform more actively and consciously in the relationships that citizens develop with the Earth system, enabling the existence of a more viable future for humanity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number485
JournalGeosciences (Basel)
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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