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The 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out a global agenda for people and planet, responding to the increasing urgency of climate change by balancing agendas for economic development, social development and environmental wellbeing. In this teaching resource we ask what Bolivia teaches us about sustainable development, focusing on the environmental remit of the SDGs and thinking broadly about what it means to protect both nature and life on land.

In doing so, these lessons assist students to think about what it takes to create a sustainable future. We listen to the ideas and voices of Bolivian indigenous leaders (interviewed on film in 2019), those whose ideas of sustainability and development are grounded in long-running struggles for land and territory and challenged by global demand for natural resources (including fossil fuels). This resource enables students to engage with related local, national and global debates and provides them with the opportunity to make connections to their everyday lives. We draw from indigenous territorial politics, conservation and resource conflicts to ask: “What does Bolivia teach us about sustainable development?”

This resource problematises sustainable development from and by Bolivia (and within students’ geographical education). In particular, it engages students with geographical questions that illuminate how interpretations of sustainable development vary and that the United Nations 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are just one (particularly powerful) iteration.

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This resource was funded by a RGS-IBG Innovative Geography Teaching Grant (2019-2020) and was produced by Dr Jessica Hope (University of St Andrews) and Grace Healy

What teachers are saying about this resource....

We use the SDGs as a way to frame our KS3 curriculum. I try to relate what we are learning back to the SDGs but we don't often look from the indigenous perspective so this will be great

The concept of sustainability as a whole is something that underpins our entire curriculum and all schemes of learning. Sustainable management, sustainable development, human rights issues etc. Really interesting to see South America represented - it's often ignored by 'traditional' geography perspectives.'s [a] great use of a Society grant.

Thank you, really interesting. Looking forward to using it