Finnish Early Childhood Educators and Sustainable Development

Arto O. Salonen, Sylvia Tast


The aim of this study was to find out what Finnish early childhood educators (n = 145) value on sustainability and how they assess the promotion of sustainability in their daily lives. They also wrote 495 comments about barriers to sustainable lifestyle. The data were analyzed with quantitative and qualitative methods. According to the results, the most important elements of sustainability were (a) supporting of communality (including intergenerational link and trust); (b) social responsibility of the consumer; and (c) recycling, composting and taking care of hazardous waste. There was a statistically significant difference between all of the valued elements and the actual implementation of them. The main barriers to sustainable lifestyle were lack of time and information, the higher cost of sustainable choices, and the inconvenience of the sustainable way of life. The tendency to transfer one’s own responsibility to government, to the industry, or to the housing company was identified. A sense of agency is a core skill to be learned on a winding road towards a sustainable society.

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Journal of Sustainable Development   ISSN 1913-9063 (Print)   ISSN 1913-9071 (Online) Email:

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