Unlocking Sustainability Literacy: the Contribution of the Brazilian Journal of Science and Technology

Sustainability literacy is the basis for building a global concept for a sustainable world. In this blog, Professor Walter Leal Filho, founding Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Charbel José Chiappetta Jabbour, Deputy Editor, and Dr. Vinicius Amorim Sobreiro, member of the Editorial Advisory Board, from the Brazilian Journal of Science and Technology tell us how important sustainability literacy is in moving sustainable development goals forward.


From left to right: Professor Walter Leal Filho, Dr. Charbel José Chiappetta Jabbour and Dr. Vinicius Amorim Sobreiro
From left to right: Professor Walter Leal Filho, Dr. Charbel José Chiappetta Jabbour and Dr. Vinicius Amorim Sobreiro

Sustainable literacy has been highlighted as the conduit for a more sustainable society. It can play a vital role in creating an evidence-based, science-inspired consistent debate on how to achieve true sustainability. Evidence-based sustainable decision-making processes are paramount to a transition from policies based on beliefs and personal judgements to policies substantiated by evidence and facts – sustainability science.

Sustainability literacy is fundamental in defining the boundaries and possibilities of a more sustainable world, as it can  influence the level of knowledge of a variety of stakeholders, including governments, society, higher education institutions, and entrepreneurs. But what is sustainability literacy? And how is the Brazilian Journal of Science and Technology (BJST) contributing to it?

According to The Natural Step, a global network of non-profit organizations, we can understand sustainability literacy as the “knowledge and mindset that help compel an individual to become deeply committed to building a sustainable future and that allow him or her to make informed and effective decisions to this end.” Thus sustainability literacy has the potential to unlock the necessary mentality, knowledge, skills, and behavior that will transform the world through collective efforts toward a more sustainable society.

When we define the word literacy, knowledge about sustainability should be considered as relevant as language, mathematics, and the basics of the digital world. A lack of sustainability literacy, on the other hand, can cause governments, entrepreneurs, and society as a whole to misunderstand how their actions affect the environment, leading to an anti-sustainability atmosphere and a pattern of leadership that is not skilled enough to deal with the challenges of sustainable development. Sustainability literacy equips leaders to deal with the complexity of, for example, the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

40552More than ever before, sustainability literacy is necessary. In this context, BJST plays a key and timely role, a role that reinforces SpringerOpen’s efforts in promoting a sustainable society. The journal has been a vehicle for diffusing sustainability knowledge, skills, and reflection – not only in Brazil, one of the richest places in the world in terms of biodiversity, but also over the globe.

The BJST  advances knowledge of sustainability concepts and tools through publishing articles that are simultaneously rigorous in academic terms and easy to digest by practitioners. It is relevant to highlight the Special Issue on “Education for Sustainability”, a collection of the finest thoughts on the role, opportunities, and challenges of education in a transition toward a sustainable society. We also believe that the forthcoming Special Issue on “Innovation, Technology, and Sustainability” will be capable of pushing sustainability literacy forward.

We strongly believe that Earth Week highlights the relevance of building a society literate not only in terms of grammar and equations, but also in terms of how to move sustainable development goals forward – through understanding the intrinsic relationships and interactions among the social, environmental, and economic dimensions of our lives on Earth.

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