Smart by Nature is based on four guiding principles: Nature is our teacher; Sustainability is a community practice; The real world is the optimal learning environment; Sustainable living is rooted in a deep knowledge of place.
The schooling for sustainability movement recognizes that young people in school today will inherit a host of pressing (and often escalating) issues.
The Center for Ecoliteracy has identified a number of these that seem particularly germane to schooling for sustainability. A systems perspective reveals that many of these issues are connected. Responding to them will require understanding them in themselves as well as the patterns of relationship that connect them. In addition to addressing these issues in the curriculum, schools "teach" students about them through their institutional actions (e.g., how and where they procure food for school meals, whether their buildings and transportation systems conserve or waste energy, how they purchase supplies and manage waste).