I had the privilege to listen to Arjen Wals, Professor of Transformative Learning for Socio-Ecological Sustainability at Wageningen University in The Netherlands at the Baltic University Programme’s series on Implementing sustainability at universities. He started out by questioning that contributing to sustainable development and a safe and just space for humanity (c.f. Raworth, 2018) was an issue of implementation of something at all. Instead, he suggested, it is an issue of finding ways of co-creating transition pathways towards sustainable development. From such a point of departure, he posed questions of what that might entail, and I would here like to share some of these questions with you. After all, this is the time of year when we summarise what we have accomplished, reflect upon what is important and consider what might lay ahead.
• How do we connect with ourselves, our community, and the non-human world? How can universities and the key actors within them become more relational? How can they connect to other places, people, species, and matters? What does a more relational pedagogy entail and require? What would a pedagogy of hope and utopia look like?
• What is important to us? What is important to others? What knowledge do we draw upon and what other kinds of relevant knowledge is there which might help us in this co-creation of transition pathways? How can we implement not just cognitive learning but also emotional learning within higher education? How do we enact what we believe in and find important? And how do we educate and learn?
• How can systemic and transitional forms of education for sustainability best be designed, organized, supported, and evaluated? What do we need to be able to realize this? How do we know that we are succeeding?
Well, that was a few questions to reflect upon. I welcome you to start engaging in this co-creation of transition pathways for sustainable development by sharing your reflections in the comments’ section below. Always remember however that “Sustainability is not just something to learn, it’s something to live”.
You can listen to Arjen Wals’ webinar here.